As we grow older, we gradually move into the unfamiliar realm of aches and pains.
The two of us had been vigorous outdoor people when we were younger and thought nothing of trekking in the mountains or biking long distance. But now, we hear the creaks and groans from different parts of our body. Joint pain, arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, sprains, palpitation, muscular aches, diminishing eye sight, forgetfulness – the list is gradually but steadily building up. We are getting old.
Last Wednesday was a holiday. The two of us biked into the hills. Our destination was about 50 kms from where we live – the tribal area which is like a second home to us. Years of study and interaction with the indigenous community there have made us part of their family – they accept us because of our respect and love to them. We have learned a lot from the Kani; more than we could ever give back.
I was slightly concerned whether Parvati could take the rough ride on my Bullet. She gets migraine now if exposed to direct sunlight for more than 10 minutes. Strapping on our helmets, we said goodbye to Sancho, who looked tense and about to have a nervous breakdown any moment. The road was not as bad as in the city; we had a good ride. And typical of Kerala, we had a good drench in an unexpected heavy shower. While riding, Parvati was quiet for some time. I asked her if she had fallen asleep. She touched my neck and said – ‘No, I was remembering our rides long ago, with K strapped on to my chest’. Been riding together for 20 years now. Back home, Parvati looked radiant. She agrees with me; nothing like bike ride; car is too tame.
Today we went for a morning walk. Reason? I read somewhere that regular walking helps improve one’s memory. I am not so bothered about my absent-mindedness or memory lapses; but P surely is. So, she woke me up at 0530 and we did our 40 minutes bit.
Walking with Parvati has its benefits. One can learn a lot of Botany. She would point to each tree or plant, reel off its botanical, common and Malayalam names, show how to identify each, its medicinal value etc etc. Like the one I learned today – Bauhinia purpurea – Purple Orchid tree – Mandaram in Malayalam. She showed me its leaf, shaped like a profile of buttock cheeks. She said she always gets a laugh from the students when she relates like that; and it would be retained in their memories better.
In the quiet lanes that we walk, wild plants and creepers abound. They climb over walls and hoardings, over lampposts and fallen logs. After the night showers, they look so fresh and beautiful in different shades of green. Among them tiny flowers peek out and look at us curiously, like children. I remember this one – Clitoria ternatea.
We need wilderness around us. Not much; just a little. Just a little unkempt, disorderly, untidy patch. To remind us of nature and its spontaneity. A little wilderness in our hearts too; to remind us - of our natural selves.
************ Balachandran V,