Sun Set? Not For Me!
The bird was ‘coo’ing again, now more persistently. Was it not too early for the birds to chirp anyway? I covered my ears with the bed sheet. But the cooing would just not stop. Was it by any chance my mobile phone giving wake-up call? Was it already 5.45?
I looked at my wife enjoying a wonderful deep slumber. What a lucky person she was! She preferred evenings for her walk. Regretfully - with eyes half closed - I got up from my bed, folded the sheets, washed my face, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, went to the kitchen, switched the coffee machine on with fresh coffee powder and filter water, put on my jogging suit and left with all the reluctance in the world.
The watchman with his head covered by a woolen muffler was sleeping nicely sitting in the chair. Another lucky guy! I opened the gates myself and stepped out into the morning cold and mist.
The sun was yet to rise. But the clouds of the eastern sky were bright and golden red.
The road was deserted. The tea shop was yet to open and the boys were still sleeping on the front of the shop. The ex-army man, 70 years aged, seemed to be in a hurry. But that was how he always walked his morning walk.
Two soldiers were cleaning the front of ‘Dharamsthal’ . As I was crossing the temple, he bells started ringing and the ‘pujari’ was performing his morning ‘arthi’. The deity fully decorated with jewels and electric bulbs all around seemed to be smiling at me. I said ‘good morning’ and walked on.
Around the bend the handicapped ex-soldier was rushing his tricycle to open the tea shop. The well dressed professor was coming out of SIMS and overtook me as usual.
On the platform adjoining the ‘Gurudwara’, a young man was all ears to his mobile phone. A nice looking girl in her teens was on her morning run. She looked fresh and full of energy despite the perspiration on her face. Another girl was walking slowly mumbling something. No, she was talking to the mobile phone hanging from her ears! The doctor in Maruty 800 sounded his horn even when the road was deserted. Was he wishing me ‘good morning’? I just smiled and walked on.
The stinking smell from the gutter near the military hospital was missing today. Perhaps the cantonment men had cleaned the stagnant water at last. The sentry at the rear-gates of the hospital was as usual very alert despite the early morning cold and mist. The vegetable truck had already arrived and four soldiers were cleaning and cutting vegetables for the meals to be served to the patients. They were talking and laughing at the same time. Something very interesting?
Army soldiers in their drill dress were on their morning run. A beautiful sight of youth and valour!
The couple in their late sixties was walking slowly. I overtook them and felt proud. But the euphoria died soon as another old couple walked past me. I tried to overtake but could not. They should have been athletes, I thought. Any how, I was not in any race!
Cuckoo birds were calling each other in melodic voices. Other birds joined them by chirping merrily. Above in the sky white birds were flying in arrow-head formation in army like discipline.
The girls behind me were giggling: I allowed them to pass. Unmindful of my looking at them (not staring – mind my age!) they continued to walk giggling totally absent to the concerns of the adult world. The young ‘love birds’ were walking hand in hand slowly wholly lost to this world. Were they married? They looked so young. But why should I bother?
Some of the morning walkers were glued to the earphones of the ‘walkman’. I wondered what could me more music than the chirping of the morning birds! Anyhow I believed in enjoying the nature in its pure form.
I entered into the university campus through General Joshi Gates. It was another world altogether! The trees were tall and fully grown with wide branches covered with dark green leaves and their tusks reaching the earth. Some of the trees had scrounging weeds knotted around them. I tried to count the number of turns of the weeds entwined the trees, but lost soon. You cannot see the sky; the rain drops will not fall on you. Ever pervading fragrance of the ‘morningness’ was all you feel. You can not but feel calm and refreshed here.
A middle aged man was performing yoga; another was in deep meditation. The third was performing ‘Pranayam’. Three young men were running. An old man was jogging. The young handicapped man was trying his tricycle up the road but declined my help with a smile!
I walked up to the junction and turned.
The sun had risen and the eastern sky was glowing with a riot of colours.
The couple in their ‘Honda City’ was driving fast to the university campus where a laughter club was in session. Today they were late.
Around another bend, cheerful young kids were waiting for the school bus. The army school bus reversed a few yards to pick up the daughter, perhaps, of an officer. The same bus did not stop the other day for the boy who was a little bit late and running behind the bus to catch it!
The temple seemed deserted. A few just stood outside and touched their forehead and chest. A couple parked their car hurriedly, stood before the gates with folded hands, mumbled something and rushed back to the car.
The tea shop was now open and two morning walkers were sipping their cups of tea. Milk cartons were being unloaded in front of the shop opposite my building. It was still not time for the newspapers to arrive.
The security men of my building were alert now and said ‘namasthe’ to me. I climbed the stairs and entered my house. My wife was sipping her morning coffee. I washed and sat for my morning coffee by her side.
What a wonderful way to begin my day!
I was feeling absolutely fresh and bright just like the ‘Sun Rise’.
I was feeling young and cheerful just like those kids waiting for the school bus.
These mornings were always the same for me wherever I was.
As fresh as the first smile of the new born baby!
Sun Set? No. Not for me!