The best part of our walk in the morning is we get to know our neighbourhood so well. I am pretty sure i know much more of our neighbourhood than people who have been staying here for decades.
Now that Magic has become much calmer our walks have also become really enjoyable. The other day i went to sleep at 2.30 am & was up & ready for my morning date with M & M at 4.45 am. I really look forward to it. This is one of the hottest months of the year and the temperature during the mid-day is hovering around 40 deg C. Without doubts dawn is the best part of the day, its such a relief to have a quick shower & get out of our cemented apartments & feel the cool breeze on one’s face.
All the Security Guards in the apartment blocks which we cross will be fast asleep, most of the street dogs will be also asleep, the friendly one’s when they hear our foot steps do lift up their heads to see who is coming & when they know its us, they wag their tail & go back to sleep. The one’s who snarl at us, do try to get aggressive. Just because they come charging at us doesn’t mean they are bad dogs, i try to befriend them. Sometimes it does work, otherwise i whisper to Magic to ignore & we walk on.
Some mornings we come across gangs of Water Buffalo’s emerging from the dark, there is no way one can befriend them ! Best option is to quickly run for cover, jump over the meridian & go to the other side of the road. The thing about Buffalo’s is that if one starts running, then the whole gang starts to run, imagine the pandemonium i will have with Magic & Mia !
Then we encounter a pack of stray pigs & if there are piglets then the mother piggy is sure to give us the charge…. again, the best option is to jump over the meridian & cross over to the other side of the road. We go past some affluent high rises with CCTV’s installed all over their walls & notice boards outside saying dogs shouldn’t poo here & if anyone is caught in the act will be fined etc, etc. Being an anti-social I feel very happy when M & M decide to poo right below these notice boards. The residents of this particular apartment block has a history of throwing out mountains of rubbish into an open area across the road. One can see old mattresses, old toilet commodes strewn in the open area opposite these blocks. The pigs are constantly rummaging at it, eating rotten stale food, the buffalo’s are swallowing the plastic bags & dying, cab drivers are defecating, rag pickers have already started their day searching through the rubbish in the hope to find some unbroken beer bottles.
Then we reach a bridge, where the cool breeze makes one feel good. Some cab drivers would slow down seeing us & ask for directions, young people speeding away back to the comforts of their home after their eight hour night shifts, homeless people sleeping on the pavements, right under huge hoardings which are advertising luxury apartments, some people gather in the mosque near the river for the early morning namaz. Earlier they were not happy to see Magic & Mia walking through their midst, now they are all our friends & we exchange Salaam Malaikums to each other. Usually on a Sunday morning the bridge is a popular spot for young people to come and chill & have a last smoke before they go back home after a night long party. Magic & Mia are usually the cynosure of eyes, with everyone wanting to know about them etc, etc.
At the bridge when the sun is rising it is really beautiful, there will be a few selfie addicts clicking themselves…. i cross them yearning for a “selfie free world”. The bridge unfortunately is a place where people throw out a lot of garbage, when i see them i think of the houses of a couple of friends which have absolutely nothing to throw away.Wet garbage is recycled into compost & very little dry garbage from their plastic free kitchens. Below the bridge one can see a few Coots swimming in the polluted water, Pond Herons & Painted Storks Standing still hoping to catch some fish….if there is any. The bridge is also a nice place to put on a nice song to listen depending on my mood it can be Niel Young, J.J.Cale, Mark Knopfler, Indian Ocean or Kishore Kumar…..
Then as we cross the bridge we come across some of the popular restaurants in Pune. None of these restaurants have water supply & the ubiquitous noisy water tankers would have started their rounds in supplying the priced H2O. On a weekend the side walks will be strewn with broken beer & alcohol bottles. Its really a heart in the mouth moments, scares the shit off me to imagine M or M having a bleeding paw. Sometimes i feel i should also walk barefoot like Magic & Mia and experience this horrible act by us humans.
By now, early morning joggers, runners & cyclists will be out, so with the athletes who train in Army Sports Institute. The army personnel based in the Southern Command will also be out on the run in their full kit (its really heavy)….. their bosses will be observing them in the comfort of their jeeps. I shout out in my mind to the bosses…. hey you rascal, get out of your jeep & run with your men, that’s how you earn respect & discipline !
By now, it is time to turn back home, the people who wash cars will be heading to their different apartment blocks, the tea vendors would be setting up shop, news paper vendors will be busy inserting the various adverting fliers into the daily newspaper. Near our house we have an open ground…. its time for Magic & Mia to do a bit of their concorde style take off & antelope style running… then we head home. As we enter home the first thing Magic & Mia does is to go & lick on the sleeping faces of partner & our son. By then their food will be ready & time for a hearty meal !
Peace, love, Khuda Hafiz