How quickly time flies by! Gone are the days when I was in college, as thin as a matchstick. My dislike for hostel food (particularly breakfast and lunch) and my craving for home made food made sure that even though I ate a lot for dinner, my tummy was always tucked in. However, after those four years I came home. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the fact that mother’s love and pampering is quite enough to fill your stomach. Add to that the fact that the dhabas outside my MBA College served delicious chilly potato and paneer paranthas, and you can surmise the shape of my belly. In just under 6 months, I went from a guy who looked seriously malnourished to someone quite ‘healthy’. Then came my job in a distant land, and I, proud that I had started earning, pampered myself with pizzas every other day. So, things went from bad to worse.
Two days later
Now that the flab has actually started to show, I have decided that something must be done about it. I am actually quite tall, so I dread that my height and my widening waist line might end up making me look like an extra-terrestrial giant. So I have come up with a solution- Morning Walk.
It seems to be the perfect way to burn fat. I personally love walking and if doing it can bring my old look back, then nothing like it. There is a big park nearby. I have decided that I will walk for 1 hour every day. That is almost 3 rounds of the park. According to my super accurate calculations, it will burn exactly 424 calories per day. And I can lose a kilogram of weight every week on an average.
4 days later…
It’s been three days that I have now started walking. I am starting to feel bored. One must not sacrifice enjoyment and extra sleep just for a walk, a voice inside my head is saying. I go to the park everyday at 6.30 am. The place is crowded with early risers. As I walk around the park, I see a group of retired sixty-plus men laughing out aloud. Then a group of aunties (who are most probably the wives of the laughing men) sitting on the grass, gossiping about yesterday events in the household. Some people pass me as they are jogging, casting a brief glance at me.
They’re all the same people.. same faces, same expressions. I am torn between keeping my body healthy and keeping my mind rejuvenated. I have my music player with me, but the songs too have started getting repetitive. I need some motivation to continue.
The next day..
I get up in the morning earlier than usual. Its only 5.45 am. I have had a bad dream. No point in trying to go back to sleep, I tell myself. So I get ready and set out towards the park. I have decided that I will try this park for just one more day. In order to stop myself from getting bored, I will change my course every few days. From tomorrow, I will go the bigger park on the opposite side of my house.
I reach the park at 6.10 am. I start my usual rounds. But fate has something different in store for me today. Something out of this world..
As I am approaching the entry gate to complete one full round of the park, I see her. An angel, a goddess. There she is jogging towards me from the opposite side. Suddenly, everything seems to be happening in slow motion. I stand and stare at her. She is perhaps the most beautiful girl that I have seen since coming to this stupid city for my job. Her black eyes, her fair complexion, her perfect nose, and soft lips; everything seems to have been carved by an artist. But before I have the chance to go close to her, she makes a sudden turn and jogs out of the gate.
I have found the motivation for my morning walk.
It was written in my fate, I guess. God wanted me to get up early and see her. That’s why I had that bad dream. Who cares about the other park now? This is the best park in the city.
The next day I get up even earlier. I have set two alarms for 5.15 am. I hurriedly get ready, brush my teeth and for the first time, spray a little perfume. I reach the park and there she is, jogging away. Her every gesture seems to have a certain elegance to it. It’s almost like watching a symphony playing out in front of your eyes.
She is coming towards me. I am torn between the urge to keep looking at her and trying to be a civilized citizen. As she comes nearer she gives me a brief glance. I look towards the sky, suddenly very interested in a crow that is flying over my head. I look down and she is still looking at me as she passes me finally. I suddenly feel like I might go into cardiac arrest. I start running in the opposite direction, hoping to cross her during my run.
I run past her three times. And all the three times I get the feeling that she is also staring at me for a significant amount of time. A bizarre question races through my mind- Is she watching me the same way I am watching her?? Could this really be possible??
A tiny part of my brain rejects the hypothesis outright. Dude!! You aren’t tall, dark and handsome!! You are tall, dark and fat!! Just ogle at her all you want, because that’s the farthest you can go.
The next one week I see her in the mornings and my doubts are reinforced. She definitely stares at me more than the other boys. The other day this total hunk went by her and she hardly gave him a look!
My mind is growing restless. What if she feels the same way I do, but is just waiting for me to pop the question of going out for a date? What if she is actually, genuinely interested in me too? It could be possible, I convince myself as I hear a thousand voices in my head laughing aloud at me for thinking this. I carry on with my walk, wondering about it all the time.
Two days later
Shit!! I am late. The alarm clock ran out of battery I guess. I wake up and it is already 5.45 am. Cursing myself, I get ready and run out towards the park, hoping that she would still be there. I bolt through the entry gate and look around for her. I can’t see her anywhere. Out of breath from my sprint to the park, I sit down on the bench. In between my heavy breaths, I remind myself to buy new batteries for the clock right away. I sit there for a couple of minutes and as soon as I am about to get up I see her. She is coming towards me. I am rooted to my seat. It seems my whole body has frozen.
There are a lot of empty benches around me, but she comes and sits with me on my bench. She has a crush on me, I am sure of it now!! I try and look towards the other direction so that she doesn’t think of me as a total jerk. But in my mind the question still lingers.
I can’t take it anymore. I just have to ask her.
“Why do keep staring at me, Miss?” I confront her. “I have been watching you for quite a few days now and I see that you always stare at me whenever I run past you.”
“Excuse me,” she says, with a calm face. “But aren’t you doing the same? Do you think I haven’t noticed you ogling at me too? Do you think I haven’t noticed that you have changed your timings to match mine? Do you think I don’t see you stop your walk and head back home as soon as I am getting back into my car? I think you are attractive too, but don’t accuse of something when you are already guilty of it!”
“I..I.. er..” I stammer. I don’t know what to say. “But then if you do find me attractive, why don’t you just come up and ask me for a date?”
“What kind of a man are you??” she shoots back. “You want me to ask you for a date when I know that you find me attractive too?”
I am stumped. One part of me is jumping with joy that I have found a beautiful, single, eligible woman (who is so difficult to find in today’s times) and the other part is pissed off that she is patronising me so effortlessly.
It is almost as if a switch clicks within me. I reply, “You want to see what kind of a man I am?” And then I kiss her. She seems stunned at first, but after a couple of seconds, she gives in. She kisses me back, quite passionately too. After a few seconds though, I feel her pushing me away. I try to resist, but then she gives me a hard push and I fall back. What was wrong??
She yells at me, “YOU STINK!!” and then I realise that in the desperation to get to the park in time..
I forgot to brush my teeth.
She moves forward, I look at her sheepishly, embarrassed to the core. And then...
I open my eyes. I am still in my bed. I look at the watch. Its 7.45 am. “Pheww!!” I say to myself as I think of that dream again. Today’s morning walk has gone down the drain. So has the chance to see her.