Mumbaikers are an active bunch. I’m not talking about the daily to and fro, although there is plenty of that, I’m talking about exercise.
Our road is a prime exercise location. The Carter Road sea front is another. Due to the heat there are peak exercise times and those hours when only the idiots would go out….that would be me. Sweatily toiling up the hill with bags of shopping from the market and they tell me it’s not even really hot yet by Mumbaiker standards! Even more ridiculous is that every shop delivers…
Peak times are early morning and early evening. At those times our road is a hive of fitness activity. There are the elderly couples; him in shorts and long white tennis socks and her in her lovely sari or salwar kameez and a pair of white trainers. Walking along sedately, stopping every now and then to chat to other elderly couples. There are the ladies; usually younger women. They walk alone or sometimes in pairs. Their uniform is gym gear. An essential item is the mobile phone as this absolutely counts as a hand weight. Alternating hands is recommended.
I like to think of their style of exercise as interval training….they walk a few metres then stop to check the phone and send a text or take a call. They are frequently overtaken by the elderly couples….tortoise and hare comes to mind.
Then there are the fitness professionals. They overtake EVERYONE, frequently.
The Carter Road sea front is usually running in the morning and strolling in the evening….extra curricular activities take place both in the a.m and p.m.
At 6am…yes 6am…there are runners, very brisk walkers and men having a poo on the beach.
Indian man bottoms, just for you Pam!
My favourite morning walkers on the sea front are the groups of elderly gentlemen. Immaculately turned out in casual wear, strolling along at a leisurely pace, having heated debates in Hinglish; thats Hindi and English to you dear reader. I like to imagine they are old chums who get together in the morning because their doctors have prescribed them some daily exercise and their wives shoo them out of the house. Then after their ‘brisk’ walk they go home and indulge in a huge, delicious indian breakfast.
I also particularly like the arm wavers, the leg stretchers and the people undertaking bodily contortions that I doubt have ever been included in a gym training manual or have ever been medically sanctioned. Chiropractors and osteopaths must be doing a roaring trade.
In the evening the place is like the promenade at Blackpool Beach. It’s heaving with families, teenagers, food sellers,dog walkers and couples looking for a bit of privacy…
There isn’t a beach as such, it’s just rocks and pockets of mangrove but when the tide is low you can walk out quite far; avoiding the interesting flotsam and jetsam of course. It’s pitch black out there, the lighting is only on the promenade but those damn selfie flashes will give you away, however hidden you think you are.
There seem to be two tactics used by the young couples – walk out as far as you can, don’t tread in anything unmentionable, try not to fall into the Arabian Sea and hope you don’t lose that loving feeling as you’re being overcome by the pungent odour of the unmentionables.
The other tactic seems to be to stay as close to the sea wall as possible, as the passersby generally don’t look straight down, and obviously beware the afore mentioned dangers.
However, Amelie is very particular as to where she does her business and the other evening we interrupted a Bollywood worthy clinch. Embarrassment all round. I babbled a quintessentially english apology “ terribly sorry” or something equally cringeworthy as I faffed around trying to tidy up after Amelie. Those bloody poo bags are very difficult to separate in a hurry!
I do hope poo did not stop play….
Being surrounded by walkers, dawdlers and runners I am keeping up with the neighbours. The pups and I brave the no pavement/crazy tuk tuk drivers combo and walk up and down the hill everyday. Weekends we go to the sea front and best of all I’ve found horses and I’ve started to ride again YEAYYYYYYYY.
So you’ll be pleased to now I am fully immersed into a Mumbai fitness routine, although I draw the line at immersing myself in anything at the sea front!