One beautiful morning in these COVID 19 days.
Today early in morning after waking up at the usual time of 5.45 am, I opened the doors to the terrace and all the other windows to let the fresh air in.
Kept water on the stove to make some hot tea and went and stood in the balcony. Inhaling the fresh and crisp morning air, almost crackling with freshness. Which is especially beautiful at this time of the year. When it’s not too cold and not too warm. And it wakes you up from your morning stupor in an instant.
As I was soaking in the atmosphere along I went into a trance, looking at the many birds, their colours, their chirping and their frequent hopping from one branch to another and then to the ground and back again on the trees. Busy looking for the early worm. Once in a while, a big flock of birds used to fly together in a formation high up in the sky.
My pet by now fully awake, had started his morning routine of barking at the birds as if they were intruders in his personal fiefdom. By now all the birds had got used to the dog and sometimes they used to deliberately swoop down near the balcony or the terrace to irritate him. And then he would launch a ferocious barking assault on them. The neighbouring pet dog had also joined in the fun and it was a morning ritual which both dogs never missed.
As I was standing there in a trance, lost in the serene morning visuals and sounds, I suddenly realised that there was an absolute lack of people and vehicles on the street in front of my house. It looked absolutely deserted and devoid of human presence. The human presence I had really got used to. The early morning jogger’s.
And after seeing them day in day out, I had become, somewhat of an expert in categorising them. There is a wide variety of jogger’s to be seen every morning. One can categorise them according the apparel they wore. There are a few in a full jogging paraphernalia with shoes, shirts, shorts , water bottle, mobile pouch on arms, headphone in the ears, etc., Few have one or more things added or subtracted. Few in their funny below knee and ironed Bermuda shorts, few in trousers and few in shorts combined with formal shirts. And a few covered from head to toe in woollens , even on a hot day.
Their way of walking and jogging is also quite varied and amusing. Some are seriously and intently jogging at a good pace. Some just sauntering along. Some walk at such pace that it cannot be called walking, but rather staggering. Some lumber on as if they are dragging their uncooperative bodies by force. Then there are some who do amusing gestures. Like some will walk and move their hands in wide circles at their shoulder. Some will suddenly start twisting at their waist. Some will hyperventilate while walking as if doing pranayama. Some will start to jump or hop in between their walk. There was one gentleman who used to sing classical songs while walking. And in quite a loud voice that it could be heard for a long distance in the quite mornings. And he had a good voice and used to sing also well. But then how can one walk and sing both at the same time. So to avoid getting breathless he used to walk at a slow pace. Don’t know how much that walk helped him. But it entertained a lot of people and made their mornings beautiful.
There was one who is the funkiest. He was a disciple of the laughter club. And he used to walk and at the same time laugh a forced and loud laugh. Totally artificial, crude and funny at the same time. Imagine laughing without even a slightest reason as part of exercise. My pet used to go berserk when ever he came near, matching his sound bites with his own throaty howls. And the combined sound became a cacophony rather very much like a horror film track.
Then there were some who used to walk backward and then used go on the middle of the road unawares or stumble in the rough patches on the road sides in their backward endeavour. Some walking in large groups and chatting away loudly. They look more of a group interested in chatting than with walking.
Then there are a few who are purely a showy type. Combining flashy apparel with a stylish jog and their eyes continuously on other people around, to see what effect they were causing. There are a few with a roving eye. Ogling around at any women passing by, following her like a table fan from one end of the street to another till she became distant.
Some come with big sticks to wave the stray dogs away. Some come with biscuits and leftover from their respective homes to feed the stray dog. The strays came running with their tails wagging when they saw their daily feeder. And the look on their faces when they fed the strays is a sight to behold. It’s as if they are doing some heavenly act of kindness and by doing it they are booking their place in heaven. They had that saintly look on their faces. Eyes half closed and a blissful face, almost made me look for some halo around their heads. God knows how many of them behave similarly with people they interact, in their day to day activities. Or is it just their morning ritual. Then there are some groups who come with baskets full of food. And walk for some distance and then sit down and start relishing the breakfast they brought along with them.
There are many pure athletes who jog properly and in proper rhythm. And they are a sight to behold. Then there are a few freshly in love couples. Always holding each others hand and rubbing their bodies all times. As if, if they let go of the hands the other partner would just vanish. For them Morning walk was the time of connecting with each other. God knows what they did at nights.
And on this beautiful morning, all of these people except the usual stray dogs were absent. And it added serenity to the already beautiful morning. A peace which is not seen normally. Unless you travel deep in the country side.
Then I realised. It was the COVID 19. People had taken the advisory to their heart and were reducing social isolation to the minimum.
But the isolation of the humans has had a tremendous effect on the nature. It has suddenly started looking pristine and untouched. A sight from which one can never turn their eyes away. Strange are the ways of nature. For a moment of peace, it has unleashed a deadly virus.