Routines

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I love a routine that keeps changing – an oxymoron, yes. There is certain stuff I need to do in a particular sequence and then there are things where I regularly shake things up. Food, exercise, music and books, the set-up of my room, places and faces around are just some examples.

I think I have mentioned I love running. But I tire of the treadmill. So I hunted for other options for a change of pace and path. Now there is a running track close to my place that I have been haunting for two years now. To empty my mind, I unknowingly started making observations and filed them to memory during my runs.

And I saw the beauty routine brings. I remember faces and the company they keep. I have been an unintended witness to the transitions that they have been through. A lady who used to get a stroller for her baby now holds her hand as they walk together. Those tiny feet used to be encased in booties and now carry an exuberant talkative munchkin. I have seen the woman become a little soft around the edges and smile secretly at the antics of her daughter. She is restrained when an older lady accompanies her – perhaps her mother-in-law?

I also see a man with a big handlebar mustache who has been a regular around the track. He has changed too! About two years back, he was morbidly obese and could only walk a few steps before stopping. And now his strides are brisk, considerable pounds lighter. The only thing not changed is his set determined expression. He does not look up and nod at people unless he is at rounding a corner.  He is one hundred percent focused on his walk.

Then there is a set of cute grandparents. Walking stick in each hand, a grocery bag strung over one shoulder at times – they stick to one round. No more. No less. There is a group of people they frequently run into. Grandpa is the one with the booming voice and Grandma has a gentle hum to her laugh. They look so sorted! And they always smile at me whenever I happen to pass by, calling out a “saavkash beta” (Take care child!) when I trip – which happens a lot!

Who knew I was a closeted stalker people-watcher?? Makes me wonder what guest appearances I may have made for other people, slipping in and out with no set days. What they might have seen on my face over the last two years?


Tell me a story about your observations. About those strangers who are so familiar for a few moments.