Two Miles An Hour

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.

A Brief Pit Stop

Its good to slow things down every once in a while. It can be fun too. If you’re that kind of a person who likes to let your foot of the pedal after a long run, stick your head out of the window and enjoy the wind brushing by your face, like a little dog.

And then you pull your head back in and your foot back on the pedal and swear back at the drivers who just called you things that you’d rather not write on your blog.

I don’t slow down as often as I should. And yes, even a 16 year old who hardly has any workload from college needs to slow down. And he did yesterday.

My college is a great college. Its got a ground that along with the surrounding small road is probably the size of a few colleges of very unfortunate students. And that’s just the ground. So, it goes without saying that the college is very spacious. However, like anything that exists, it has its lows as well. One is that it has practicals for Physical Education.

I mean, what? That was how I was when I first heard we were going to have them. We didn’t even have them in school. In the 10th. In ICSE! And that’s saying something. So they make us do sit-ups (squats, if you want to call them that), long jumps, 100 metre sprints (in the time it takes you to stop panting after the sprint, Usain Bolt could have circled the globe, like, five times) and throw this one tonne iron ball in a fun little game called shot put. And if it isn’t already interesting, this is where it becomes just that: there are two practicals, one per term. Like after barely one month, we’re going to be able to jump longer, run faster and throw harder. Dammit, I haven’t been able to improve in the physical department that fast in all the sixteen years I’ve lived. If you could do that, you’re a living legend. Or you were doping.

I did fairly well the first time around, but the second time, which was yesterday, I didn’t care that much. So I got a little lax on the sit-ups (more so because they really make my thighs pain and then I can’t sprint as well as I could have without them) but I did run hard and I did throw the one tonne iron ball farther than I think I did last time.

We had to go to college for an hour yesterday just for the practicals and then I had to go fetch my younger sister from her drawing class about half an Usain Bolt minute away from college. But I had about forty minutes to waste before her class ended. And going home and then coming back didn’t make sense. So I decided to take the opportunity to do some of that slowing down I’ve not been doing enough of.

My description on Twitter says I enjoy the little things in life. And that’s just how I was when I took a very slow walk. The right earbud in my very expensive but apparently over-priced earphones is non-responsive so I was forced to look at things, and people while on this walk. And I happened to catch some pretty interesting things.

Not to get too morbid or anything but I stumbled into a dead crow stretched on the pavement right across from a dead rat. I like to think they had a duel to the death. For unknown reasons. But they’re knights of their respective species.

You wouldn’t be ill-advised to take a little break now and then. Even if its just for about half an hour, like the one I took. Provided your heart and head are both in the break while the rest of your body is in it.

But don’t get carried away too much or you’ll be sitting wrapped up with a sweater, cooped up in bed, because you had something cold to drink and caught the flu, like me. Also wearing a pair of gloves (not because you’re cold but because they’re really comfy).