I have sometimes wondered who gets a better thrill out of the early morning walk, my husband Suresh or our dog Fido. Suresh is by and large a morning-sleep-loving soul. He gets up early only if he has to catch a train or there is an earthquake.
When Fido joined our family he had to be taken for his morning walk. Chips of the old block, our sons Tino and Chiko, refused to get up until just before their school bus honks at the gate. I am quite occupied in the kitchen, cutting up onions for the breakfast and packing the boys’ lunch for school. So it fell to Suresh’s lot to walk Fido.
The first day, Suresh grumbled, tumbled out of bed, insisted on a cup of tea, pulled on an old worn out sweater and set out grudingly. The next morning there was a radical change. He whistled a lilting tune while he shaved and pulled on a rather bright T-shirt (a garment he normally wears on picnics). I had to remind him to drink his tea as he was in such a hurry to go out.
This overnight change in his attitude towards the morning walk gladdened my heart. While Fido exercised his four legs, I thought, Suresh would inhale the pure, unpolluted air of the early morning. Each morning Suresh’s enthusiasm for the morning routine increased. He pulled out his brightest shirts, combed his hair vigorously and polished his canvas shoes with a song on his lips. There was a fresh glow on his face which I naively put down to the crisp air.
Such a transformation would suit my female complexion better, 1 felt, and decided to hurry up my breakfast chores and accompany Suresh. He looked a little taken back when I announced my intention.
“You., you .. you .. want to come for a walk? Wh ... Wh ... Why? he stuttered. I thought he was overcome with joy to have my company but my illusions were shattered. “No ... No ... you stay at home and make the scrambled eggs. You will find the walk too tiring,” he advised.
One Sunday morning, however, I decided that breakfast could be delayed for once and donned my pants. Despite Suresh’s protestations, I set out with him. As we neared the golf course, I heard a cheery ‘Hi’! and looked around. It was a very attractive teenager I hadn’t seen before and wondered whom she was greeting as there was no one else on the road save Suresh, Fido and me. ‘Hi’ she said again and I realised she was saying it to Suresh whose face seemed to be peculiarly contorted.
The girl shrugged her cute shoulders and pushed off. A few steps later another cheery greeting shattered the morning air this time, ‘Hello’. It was a leggy youngster in a tight T-shirt, peddling away her bright yellow bicycle.
A sneaking suspicion was beginning to put out its tentacles in my mind. Next: “Oh! you aren’t alone today” said a cooing voice emanating from the vocal chords of a voluptuous dame in hot pants and skivy. A couple of yards of some silent walking brought us face to face with a trim looking girl who said ‘Hello! You are five minutes behind time today' and walked off.
All this time, Suresh’s face alternated between looking like a tomato and a beetroot. He mumbled something in reply to all these querries and greetings and just walked on. Fido was however more demonstrative and licked the calves of the fair maidens who patted his head.
These days, I get up early, make the breakfast and take Fido for his walk. I insist on Suresh taking it easy in his bed and enjoying a refreshing early morning sleep. I also take another route which is less infested with cheery souls. Moreover, I meet a very interesting man who walks his dog. We talk of dogs and the advantages of a good morning walk for the creatures!