My mother’s always been very healthy and active. She used to do all the housework on her own — we very rarely had house help, and she would also do some gardening, lots of embroidery and knitting, and walk us to school and the swimming pool and all that. She also enjoyed playing badminton, though she only got the opportunity rarely. She spoke rarely of her childhood, but incidents she told me involved climbing trees and wading in a lake (and nearly drowning, but that’s another story) and learning to shoot rifles at NCC camp.
And now that she’s older and lives alone and her time is finally her own, she goes on walks and does yoga. Probably too late now, to take up running or swimming or badminton — and I’m not sure she’d want to.
So it feels great that things have changed enough that so many of the young women I know are athletic. (I’m extremely physically lazy myself, and the only form of exercise that I don’t despise is walking, and I don’t do a lot of that. So this post is about other people.)
I have an old friend, Babita, who’s always been very physically active. She and her husband run marathons together. On why she runs, she says:
I run because it makes me feel good about myself… at the finish line it always gives a sense of achievement… an achievement of overcoming the physical and mental hurdles… It also gives time for myself that I do not have to share with anybody. It always boosts my self confidence, makes me believe that I can take care of anything that comes in my life…
She also goes on mountain treks.
I have another acquaintance, Bhagyashree, (actually, a friend of Pallu’s who was very kind to us when we were moving to Mumbai, so I can claim her as my friend too) who runs, and wins too.
I run to explore the world. I love to run or walk a place rather than simply touring in a car of a bus. Running helps me relieve stress. I just can't sit idle. Always on my toes. Especially my morning colony runs, I have my stray dogs who accompany me while running, that's 1 best thing I can never miss. Late nights.... I generally land up having a running race with my 7 stray dogs and now they are conditioned to it :)
My friend G swims. She says:
Water gives me a big high. A dip is always refreshing. No (evident) sweating as in other sports. It’s easy on my body unlike hard surface sports.
Swimming allows me to focus on my body as well as my thoughts. I follow my body movements when I swim than I would otherwise do during the day. I find the rhythmic movements very relaxing. At the end of a stressful week, even half an hour of swimming rejuvenates me.
I'm so proud and in awe of all of them!