Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thrills of Walking-Col RD Singh

Thrills of Walking-Col RD Singh
11 May, 2014
Pictures and Videos: Amar Singh Jyani, GS Mann, Background Music: Murari Verma.
Thrills of walking!!
Running and walking is a routine for an army man. More so if he has been putting on uniform, as a cadet at the Rashtriya Military School, Belgaum, from the age of 11, in 1964. But despite having donned olive greens for 39 years (1973 to 2012), nothing charms me more than a morning or evening walk. Taking part in walkathons to promote good health, has been a regular humble contribution. Let me take you on a sojourn on some of my memorable walks in different stations, with varied terrains and climates.
It is 1991, and I am posted at Jodhpur, staying opposite Umaid Bhawan Palace. My son is just two and half years old, and I decide to take him along for a walk. As he is too small for eight to ten Kms, which is my route, I make him lie on my back, holding him from behind. Within few minutes, due to a rhythmic effect, he falls asleep. His entire body is hugging my back. I get a motherly feeling, and the extra 10 Kgs of weight, increases my exercise value. The passersby smile as they see me daily, carrying my son, like a kangaroo. It is a great feeling which I still relish, with parental instincts.
The photo above shows the officer receiving a prize from the GOC at Ambala Cantt for his outstanding performance in a swift walk competition.

Then came Tenga in Arunachal Pradesh. Here walking was more like trekking due to the hilly terrain. Cross country was even greater fun. I used to collect officers and jawans children and take them on trekking on Sundays. We would carry snacks and also have a picnic enroute. It ended with a swim in the Tenga Chu which was highly refreshing. From Tenga, we moved to Lalgarh Jattan in Rajasthan. From mountains, it was walks in the sand dunes now. You climb from the fingers side, and roll down from the knuckle end. The sand does not stick and you can just wipe it off. As you walk over the dunes early morning, one can see the sun rise in its total purity and magnificence. Various kinds of insects and spiders, crawling on the sand, make artistic patterns. Quite often, you even get a glimpse of a sand viper.
Now comes Wellington (Nilgiris), where I am posted as a DS in the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in from 1998 to 2001. It is one of the best and virgin hill stations with a salubrious climate. Walking through the tea gardens, with my wife and children was an experience to remember. Women plucking tender green tea leaves, beautiful sound of gurgling streams, golfers at the nearby Gymkhana Club trying their long drives, the owls hooting, sudden start of a soft drizzle - heightened your pleasures of a morning walk. One evening, we even walked to Coonoor, to meet Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw, who was residing in a hill top villa. The 71 war hero, offered us fine Nilgiris tea, laced with his charismatic Gurkha humour.
From Wellington, I was transported to Jammu, and then Leh. Walking in Leh was a challenge due to  a very hostile climate. The temperatures ranged from minus 40 degrees centigrade during winters to plus 40 degrees in summers, with oxygen 30 percent less than in plains. You get breathless very fast, and the body takes time to adjust. But still, the morning walks were not given up.
God said, enough of snow now go and enjoy the warm Ambala Cantt. Lo and behold, here is the famous Mall Road, broad and impressive, with a walking plaza, soft music, and no vehicles during the walking hours. It is a walker’s paradise. I made it a point to take my wife along for a walk. Children also accompany us when they are at home. It helps in better communication and healthy relationships.  Walking is a social binder, as you make new friends, and get a chance to wish so many people on the walking route. I only wish people could leave their cell phones behind, at least during the walks. Cell phones are a big dampener on a good walk.
More than anything else, I find morning walks, highly soul enriching. There is positive energy in the air, with birds chirping, peacocks calling, trees and plants offering you the bounty of nature. After a good, brisk morning walk, your day in the office is bound to be bright, light on feet, and good on output. Walking costs nothing, but rewards you with good health, and saves lacs in medical bills.
Then what are you waiting for – put on your walking shoes and enjoy the nature. And for a few hundred meters, even to your working place, or school or college, better to walk down than take your car or bike and add into traffic congestion. Believe me, you will reach faster walking, safe and smiling.

Note:  Colonel Ripu Daman Singh, a decorated soldier and an active social worker, belongs to vill Pilimandori ( Fatehabad). A prolific writer, he contributes regularly to Sirsa News. The photo below shows the officer receiving a prize from the GOC at Ambala Cantt for his outstanding performance in a swift walk competition.

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