Morning in the park is a different world… Same people, different planet… None of the evening Bonhomie… Morning is all business. It is time to sharpen and polish the weapons… “Pehle zara kasht uthaanaa, phir sab din anand manaana”! Time to pump oneself and challenge every muscle and tendon in the body… Time to tell God, “ok, you %&^%$, I am stretching myself to the extreme… You b*&^%y be ready to deliver your part of the deal…And I need my payment in $$$$$$…. Cash… No post dated cheque…. ok ?”
Stepping into the park, I see that some stranger is calling me…. He has his arms outstretched, perpendicular to his body, and his hands are waving up and down to me, “come, come, come”… Then I realize that he is exercising his wrists… Nothing to do with me…
Walking on, I find the group of elders are no longer chatting like last evening… They are all standing in a circle, and are enjoying the last part of their morning exercise regimen… And how do I know that? That’s because they are now doing the Haasya Aasana, usually the final aasana, where they let out super-loud bellows of laughter in unison, shaking the entire cosmos…
The roar of the chidiya garh lion would surely be muffled by the HAHAHAHAHAHA of the Dilli elders… They laugh at the world, having been there and done that… Seeing us engrossed with lucre and Lucifer they laugh, knowing that glitter of gold is the invite of food gone cold, and that in the final reckoning, health alone is wealth.. He who stays healthy, and outlives all his competitors, is the winner… He needs no silver-cup to prove his victory… He himself is the shining proof… He who lives last, laughs last! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Jai Ho!
Walking around, one sees some lone yoga practitioners, sitting on the lawn, facing the sun… Letting out steam-engine puffs as they do kapaal bhaati … Puff-puff-puff-puff they go, like a railway engine of old, pulling bogeys of abdominal and chest muscles that had retired into the shed during the night… Being Dilli handsomes, they also sport white cream on their cheeks, perhaps to guard their oh-so-sensitive skin from harmful UV rays of the morning sun… or perhaps to just look fierce to keep the dogs away… By the way, talking off puffing engines, it is the birthright of every Dilliwaalaa to loudly clean his nose in public, especially in parks… There will be no break in stride, as the Dilliwaalaa proceeds to suddenly lean his head on one side, lift one hand to nose, and proceed to evict all nasal mucus, with the sound of a jet engine taking off…. System clean… Chalte raho! Jai Ho!
Out here, one can usually spot the recently retired men…. They walk with sticks, shorter than a walking stick, longer than a wand… It is the remnant of the power that they wielded just a while ago…. The Dandaa… Like a retired school principal still holding on to his old school cane…
Commercial break…. (I guess, in these days of media activism, Principals can no longer have the solace of a cane, and would have to deal with errant wards in the manner of our PM dealing with those in high places accused of corruption… Imagine a Principal actually using a cane… Meat for the media… Debate Tonight; Nation is Outraged… Student Caned. How long can this medieval imperial practice be allowed to continue? Listen to the usual medley of mad mast-kalandars engaged in a free for all debate… But first, our channel exclusive interview of the child who was caned… “Please tell us what happened”… “Principal caned me”. “Why?”… “Because I got caught with purses in my hand…” “Whose purses?” “I don’t know…. I don’t know who planted it in my hand…” … And then the Grimjaw Killjoy Media Shahjehan takes over….”Ladies and gentlemen… Today the nation again watched the tragic scene of…. Is the Education Minister sleeping? ….)
Commercial break over…. Coming back to the park…
Girls jogging…. Now, these are not the girls who walked (sauntered) around last evening… These morning girls are hardened professionals…. They run in small groups, and the amazing thing is that they hardly chat as they run… Can you believe that? In grim silence, they power their way down the track, their fists pounding the punching bag of the morning air… And wait a minute… No cell phone in hand…. Incredible… No cell phone! Repeat! No cell phone! Hows that…
Contrast that with the “you are fifteen, going on sixteen” girls of last evening…. many of them suddenly realizing that all the “aaloo ppurrAuntthaa” eaten happily, every day, all these years, perhaps had more “aaloo” than “aataa”, leading to gains that in hindsight look rather ungainly. Like ripening bananas threatening to explode out of the outer skin, the battle of the bulge has come to the fore and can no longer be wished away… Some saunter in groups, cell phone in hand, knowing that life has reached an inflection point… And their saunter is the first step in the fightback… Some others are in the second or third round of the fight, and they walk harder… and they walk alone…. Gripping a cell phone in the right hand in a strangle hold, like holding a “wannabe-molester” by the scruff of his neck and dragging him down the park tied to a leash… Leash which is wired from the cell to the walker’s ear – so that the death-throes of the rowdy-romeo can be relished, while simultaneously, the beastly extra pounds in the body are shed away…. Phew…
However, the Elders of Haasya-asana know that in the long run, no one wins the battle of the bulge… They have seen generations battle… And Aloo Parontha always wins…. karnahaiJoKarlo! Joker Lo!… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
But the young crusaders turn a deaf year to the oldies laughter… They pound on…. They step into the lawns and exercise….
Young and old, all of the folks know that the devil is in the knees…. They all exorcise (as in exercise) the ghutney ka shaitan… Some of the older folks just stand straight and lift their legs up and down to exorcise…. The younger ones hup up-down, bending into haunch, arai-mandee pose of Bharatanatyam, to exorcise the devil… And if they simultaneously turn and look towards you, they are not actually looking at you, they are merely exercising their neck, and you happen to be in the general direction of their contorted visage…. They care a damn for you really… One young exorciser has something written in red along the back of her pants.. Now T-Shirts with bold statements one has seen… But bottom-line statement is new…. Maybe it says “Buree nazar waaley, tera muh kaalaa”.. Or is it “”Horn please, ok, Tata” … No idea… Each one, teach one… Jai Ho!
Signing off this post with the dog in the morning….
Rokda time hai bhai! Office jaanaa hai… Jai Ho!