4.3 km

I am the walking path around Bedok reservoir. The city fathers created me for the benefit of the local residents. I am a sandy four foot path existing for more than 15 years. Many residents love me because I provide them a great way to interact with nature. Many walk to improve their health. Some of them run. Some senior citizens slowly walk watching their step. Some walk alone. Some come with their partners. Some come in groups too. I do not have a count of how many walk. Usually Saturday and Sunday are busy days. Of late, I have also seen special citizens using me. Some wear pedometers and some sport music devices with headphones. Some are wearing knee caps. Probably they have challenges with their knees. All of them carry mobile phones.

There are many big trees around me. There are also many activity areas where children and the adults participate. Kayaking area, bird watching area, exercising area, observation platform and a few rope bridges on tree tops for budding mountaineers and also a lot of benches to rest and relax. Many early risers come to watch the sunrise. Some sit silently and some meditate. Some are sitting and watching the still water. Some are whispering stories to the others while walking. There is also a person at the observation platform moving his hands forward and backward. This could be a physical exercise for him.

One person is sitting on the bank of the reservoir with a fishing line. I am sure he will find the fish soon. In the night, water in the reservoir, pumping station, trees, boats, bridges on tree tops and colourful sign boards are my companions. I have no words to express the stillness in the night when all of you are sleeping. I always look forward to the first visitor in the morning. Here comes a lady in red top. She starts running as soon she sees me. I am sure she will complete three rounds. I see a pair of women, possibly friends, who are regular in the morning. They always talking about their mothers-in-law and also challenges of managing the household. Children and their progress in school are the favourite topics. Sometimes they also talk about movies and the dresses they bought recently. I love to hear their stories. They do not know that I am listening to them.

I am a treasure house of great stories. While the walkers are focussed on very diverse subjects, I heard an interesting conversation of an Indian couple. I am summarising their conversation for your benefit: Walk the talk is a very common expression these days. Corporate executives, political leaders, teachers are expected to follow this. Talking is not enough. Walking is also required to follow the talk. Some politicians take to the road to convey what they are doing and to get the attention of the voters. These are called “Pada Yatras” or “ walks on foot”. As these politicians are very busy, you could talk to them only while walking. It seems there are very busy executives who could be talked to only while walking. The concept of ‘elevator pitch’ came into vogue as the senior executives are so busy that we could talk to them while walking only. Organisations like Amazon have installed whiteboards with markers in the elevators to help the walking executives. There are also walking episodes on some TV channels where the anchor journalist talks to the guests while walking.

I see another regular who comes in the morning on a bicycle with his mobile phone. He always stops by the tree with three stems and takes the pictures of sunrise. I am sure he is sending the pictures to his friends on whatsapp. He also collects garbage lying on the path in a plastic bag which is hanging on the rear side of the bicycle.

This person is walking alone. For him, walking is like meditation. There must be very unique thoughts lingering in his mind. Some are very positive. Some are negative. Some are very emotional. I am sure he is also planning the day in his mind. He is also thinking about the business strategies. On some days, his thoughts turn to his family and children.

I learn that there are several similar walking paths around the world. Some are well known. Some of them little known. Some are great ! I heard from two walkers talking about some very spiritual walks like kailash Manasarovar, Yamunothri, Kedarnath located in Northern part of India. Camino de Santiago walk is also well known. One day one girl was talking about walking paths which tell stories of history — American civil war, Dundee salt march, Quit India movement in India, French revolution in Paris. Not but not the least, it seems some walking paths are dedicated to lovers in cities like in Florence, Hyderabad etc. I also hear of an annual ritual where couples walk on these paths to commemorate the historical events. Unfortunately I can not travel and see as I need to be here.

I also hear that some student volunteers do walking tours for the visitors in several cities. These enthusiastic students help the visitors in providing a bird’ eye view of the city with nice historical anecdotes and events in the history.

I learn that there are several heritage walking trails in many cities. It seems some botanical gardens and national parks in some countries have created walking trails for the visitors.

To end, I want to talk about last week by Sri. Jiddu Krishnamurthy. I believe he had a great love for walking. I recall an elderly person talking about the famous piece called “ Last Walk” by Asit Chandamal with Sri. J. Krishna Murthy ( called as Krishnaji).

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Dravida Seetharam

Dravida Seetharam

Life long learner with interests in reading and writing