People walk in the morning. I have seen it often in my colony, whenever I managed to open my sleep-deprived eyes somehow and shuffle to the house gate overlooking the road.
They do it because walking is a form of exercise. I know that. Everyone knows that. But what everyone doesn’t know is that many people walk on public roads of a bustling city in the morning in the hope that they’ll get fresh air too.
Do they get it? NO. Last night’s vehicle pollution in the air may not be visible, but it remains suspended. That early morning draught of cool air brings with it a feeling of freshness for the morning walker on the road. Agreed, but in any normal Indian city, along with this freshness also comes the burst of dust coming from sweepers doing their job on the road. Plus, this is followed by the ‘traditional’ burning of all that swept garbage right on the roadside by the sweepers.
So, as that energetic morning walker, you now breathe that burnt garbage air too in the morning. And then comes another dose of thick burnt air, from roadside street vendors who are lighting the ‘angeethi’, to prepare the morning tea.
Today, as I stepped out of my house at 6 am in the morning after a long time for a brisk morning walk, I was already aware of what things my nostrils would have to bear. I was not living in some walker’s paradise where my nostrils would be greeted by gentle salt-smelling sprays of soul-uplifting ocean waves as I walked on the soft and sandy beach.
I knew I would just be walking on hard asphalt and my nose would be harshly made to smell all the actions of human activity, bordering on casual disdain and carelessness. I had walked on the road before.
I walked on and completed an hour of walking and stepped back into my house. At least, my body had a fair workout after many days.