One morning a few days back I was coming home from college since a couple of my lectures had gotten cancelled.
Now that’s not really out of the blue (teachers don’t turn up to class some days, some days they turn up but not many students do, or they’re “cancelled” because I don’t go) but this time they’d been cancelled because the seniors were having their exams and they’d occupied most of the available classrooms.
So, since I’d left earlier than I normally would, I decided to take the scenic route and come home real slow, ideally while having a hot samosa pav and sipping something chilled. I took just the samosa pav instead. Now, in this scenario, I’d normally take out my headphones and put on Twenty One Pilots, or Queen, or some instrumentals. Or put a little of all of those into a playlist and hit play on that. But that day, when I flipped my backpack towards the front, unzipped the front pocket and let my hand plunge into its depths, I realised I’d forgotten my headphones at home.
What I did instead, was have a really slow walk. Like reaallllyy slow. Like, two miles an hour. And I actually had more fun than I’d anticipated. As it turns out, what would have been a 25 minute walk with my headphones on and me walking at my normal pace, became a nearly one hour walk without my headphones on and me walking slower than usual.
As I walked along, and noticed all the trees and their green leaves moist with the rain, something I’d hardly noticed earlier, and snickered at some of the buildings with really whimsy names, and some stray dogs I’d never seen before, I noticed that people were noticing me more too. In a city like this, where most people on the streets are in a hurry to get somewhere, you don’t see a random teenager just walking as if he has nowhere to get to, nothing to do except intently look at the stuff that’s going on around him. I distinctly noticed people giving me weird looks as they walked past me. Many elders tell us to ‘slow down’ once in a while, ‘put the phone aside’, ‘take those things off your ears’, and then when we do, they look at us in a way that almost makes us want to go back to doing all of that.
So, I’ve got a task for you: Take a slow walk. Like, reaallllyy slow. NO HEADPHONES. Just you. You’d be surprised by the stuff you’ll notice.