Walk and Laugh

Mumbai walk

Its Sunday, again. And I see everything is as it was.

Last Sunday morning, I decided I was going to wake up a new person. Turn over a new leaf. After all, it’s October. The weather is changing colors. Why not me?

So, I am up and about at 6 am. Shortly, I step our to feel the wind cooling my face. Early morning is the only time when Bombay feels wintry I relish the moments as the sun is still sneaking out, taking its own sweet time. I first head towards our Raudat Tahera, a marble mausoleum of our beloved Syedna Taher Saifuddin (RA). Prayer is always a good way to start you day. The cool marble makes me feel light and glowy from inside.

I decide its time to take a long morning walk. Health is wealth, no? Secretly, I want to feel the cool breeze on me a bit longer. I want to revel in today some more.

So I think of this garden close to our home perched on a hilltop which we would frequent when I was a kid. It was hidden somewhere in the layers of memories from the past and came rushing back, just like that. After nostalgia and euphoria set it, I decide to revisit pleasant memories.

It was a good 2-3 kms of walk up to the park. While I enjoyed the almost empty streets early in the morning, my mind raced back to blasts from the past. As kids we would go there with my family and cousins: racing up the hill, reveling in breakfast picnics and playing games of all nature. It made me smile.

So much had changed between then and now. This 124-year old “Mazgaon nu pahaad”, as known as in my family, is now renovated and renamed to Joseph Baptista Gardens. The in-roads were paved with tiles. The garden was trimmed and looked shapely. It was just after 7 when I reached on top. Joggers and morning walkers walked along me, some already on their way down.

It was great to see so many people actively seeking a healthy lifestyle. There were tiny tots in protective arms, kids of all sizes playing away, middle age people jogging or walking; and older people who looked more fit than a lot of youngsters do today – their age only given away by the graceful silvering.

Still, something bothered me. Something was missing. The itch that needs scratching. The serene environment, the cool hilltop breeze, people choosing health – and I was still missing something. It was incomplete. And then it stuck me.

The smiles and laughter were missing.

Across the years, all my journeys to gardens and parks were filled with loads of laughter. Whether it was us kids running all over the place playing games or family cracking jokes together or even on solo walks the nearby laughter clubs which always manage to tease a smile.

I was surrounded only by people – not smiling and laughing people. That is a sad statement in itself. The happy feeling of seeing people choose good health seemed distant now. While we were seeking health, we were missing the very essence of great living. If you do not smile, how can your soul be happy? If you are not happy from inside, how can you stay healthy? Once I realized this, I looked up and smiled at the next person I crossed – she smiled back! There is still hope for the Universe.

These are times of internal strives. One deals with so many things on a micro and macro level. But only those who live happily and spread happiness have truly lived. And rightly so.

Which brings me back to today. Life is not meant to be easy, only worthwhile. And you have to make it worthwhile. Laugh. Cry. Smile. Burst forth into laughter. Then, bring on the challenges, I will scare them back with my laughter!

I will continue to turn a new leaf everyday, will you?

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