Reading Time: 7 minutes
I love driving cars on nice roads and walking in fine parks, particularly stateside. The roads, parks and cars there are outstanding, in comparison to most other nations. Needless to say, their initial investment in creating a flawless infrastructure, as a core objective of nation building, has brought some outstanding results, in terms of booming commerce, unparalleled connectivity, effortless travels etc. and its a pleasure to use all three – roads, parks and cars – here with comfort and pride. Organizing my planning and activities, in conjunction with the anticipated effects of jet lag due to long distance traveling, I had planned this weekend – with adequate resting and hydration by drinking lemon and ginger water, followed by lightly roasted cumin and coriander seeds tea, followed by some deep work of capital allocation analysis, on a gyrating portfolio due to volatile markets, having to recently bid adieu to a strong and reliable fixed-income instrument disappearing suddenly to vagaries, continuing reading the current book by Isaacson on Einstein’s life, driving nearby locales to get acclimatized with the right side driving and going for an hour walk in the nearby park. All this was planned a few weeks ago, since I already know how the body and mind will react to jet lag and how to organize their affairs, to bring them to more robustness, as I’ve done several of this kind of travels in the past. I prefer not to be too pushy and rush into any important business in the first few days of crossing oceans, as the outcomes are invariably unpredictable, given the sluggishness of the body and mind, and my inability to be sharp and alert in any constructive decision making.
As expected, I reversed the supersize car in a supersize country, out of the garage and started driving on the local roads, which were quite empty, as most people were celebrating Mother’s Day and probably were inside their homes. It turned out to be a boon, as I drove around the beautiful roads in the suburban neighborhood where I’m parked for a few days, and felt quite bloated, in a non-gaseous manner, which the joy of driving a nice car on a fine road can bring. Perhaps, its a guy thing, but it surely exists and there is no particular reason to deny or defend it. I personally do not prefer driving in other congested countries nor consider having a car in highly populated countries to be a joyful thing and many times, people close to me get confused, because I exhibit joy of driving a car stateside, but do not wish to have or drive one in other countries.
To me, the experience of the drive matters the most, firstly, the fine quality of the machine, the smoothness of the ride, delicate contact of the tyre on a finely banked road, the voluptuous curves and bends the car manages, the breeze I feel when the air gushes in from the window, then secondly, the fineness of sound system in the car, the quality leather of the seats, the frictionless maneuvering of the power steering, the automatic adjustments to the light of the rear and side mirrors, proper design of the seat to ergonomically support the body to feel cozy etc.
Having described all this in details, it is not easy to find all the combination right all the time, and I’m obviously fine with that too. The practical part of using a car for transportation, to reach from one point to another, is also a matter of significance, and I do acknowledge that, but do not necessarily succumb to it.
So, here I was, driving on pretty empty roads, and the spring is just about getting ready to spring here, although admittedly it is still quite cold and cloudy, but most trees have come out of their winter hibernation, have lush green leaves dressing their nakedness all over again, and the nicely mowed lawns add to the charm of the scenery, while the Dogwoods and the Cherry Blossoms just keeps me mesmerized and wanting to stop and take a selfless photo. I resist the temptation and continue the ride with much amusement and listening to a deeply lyrical and fantastic tune, composed and sung by Nasrat Fateh Ali Khan, titled “Mere Rashk-e-Qamar”, which apparently means “one who makes the moon envious”. I swirl around, windows rolled down, unworried about any polluting clouds, fumigating the leathery interiors of the car or the delicate bronchioles of the lungs, and suddenly to my utter surprise, I come across this 150 acre of greenery, lined with many more then 100 year old trees, in this beautiful park of the neighborhood, which I’m used to walking, whenever I visit this suburb. The only reason, I expressed surprise, is because I was driving without the help of Aunt Sandra’s nagging on the Google Map app of the borrowed iPhone X, which by the way, is another fine piece of technology and delight, perhaps a topic to discuss for another time.
The park has a well defined 3 mile round trip trail, nothing rigorous, with many curves and turns, mostly flat and open, nestled amongst the tall trees and manicured lawns. Its a beautiful sight to behold and there is a stillness in the air, which is quiet and intoxicating. I’ve walked this trail so many times that I do not need directions and I can guess quite accurately when I’ll be reaching the pond, most affectionately named as “Walden Pond”, where there are plenty of geese dirtying the trail with expected droppings, and lacking the availability of tissue papers, washing their behind with a dip in the semi-freezing Walden Pond. In amusement, a thought did occur to my usually devilish mind, especially while walking in nature, if Thoreau would have run behind them or considered them a nuisance? Regardless of the mannerism, the wild geese and squirrels, domesticated and designer-outfit wearing dogs, and the variety of colorful birds, formed an outstanding ensemble of beauty and serenity.
Unlike the picture perfect shots, there was something wild and brazen in the air, which was hard to comprehend, and the trail seemed to simply offer an opening into oblivion.
It was cold, not brutally, but I was ill prepared for the weather without any jumper, and I actually found myself feeling cold and yet a bit sweaty due to my habit of getting excited with anything green and walking fast. I could feel the muscles getting used to the terrain, and rhythmically enjoying the coming out from the sluggishness, from a long jet journey across a few oceans.
The body and mind in general started rejuvenating from the freshness and purposeless existence of this beautiful park, and I could not help but shed a few tears to be immersing amongst such relentless beauty and quiet, which was overwhelming and caressing at the same time.
I finished my enduring walk, avoiding the possible stare by the onlooking comrades on the benches, perhaps having mixed opinions about my flowing, rather long and beyond safety limits of neatly groomed facial hair, took back to the beautiful suburban roads and went back home with a combination of content, gratefulness and aliveness – an unique cocktail which distinctly gives a natural high without the baggage of an annoying hangover.
Lately, I’ve been distancing from the doughy delicacies and adjusting towards easily digestible alternatives including fruits and veggies, softer grains like some millets and quinoa, cooked lentils and pulses etc., in preparation of the aging onslaught. Overall, sometimes it is hard to follow the concept of a healthier diet, due to old habits and compulsions, or because of unavailability of simpler foods during travels, but have also been able to slowly move over to this concept, with small doses of alertness and awareness, and in general, the food eating habits are getting better than what it used to be just a few years ago. I usually don’t waste time with deep feelings of regret or guilt, as it is a serious waste of energy and indicates a severe lack of intelligence, and hence on occasions, like the one I’m expressing in this blog, I had planned, thanks to my wonderful hosts, to indulge in a home-made pizza where the dough and sauce were freshly prepared, the toppings – mushrooms, peppers, olives, jalapeños, basil leaves – were procured organically and the mozzarella cheese was obtained from a fine Italian grocer. I’m off any sodas, mainly for the overuse of sugar in it, not for the taste, and indulged in one can, with the fantastic pizza, served warm and subjected to personal care and attention. The entire day turned out to be uneventful, simple, serene, and I feel ready to face the rest of the music, for the purpose I’ve crossed two huge oceans, offering the body and mind newer possibilities and perhaps disguised challenges.
Thanks for reading, until next time, Ciao!…