A walk in the park, naked and blindfolded
I went for a walk in the park today. It was a slightly different kind of walk; different because I was naked and blindfolded. It kind of helped that it was dark and that there were not too many people in the park at that time, but I must say I enjoyed it thoroughly. Looking back, I know it was a big risk that I took, but as it often happens, a conscious risk that you sometimes take during an activity, usually ends up adding to the overall enjoyment of the activity.
It all began last Saturday evening when my wife and I went for a simple evening walk in a nearby park. Even though it was a park quite close to our home, it was not a park that we often went to. But we really enjoyed that one hour - and it was no surprise that it ended up being quite a romantic walk in the end. Something in the park clicked with both of us. For one, and this is probably what attracted me most personally, it was not too crowded; but it was not a desolately stranded place either. It was also relatively close to our home. But the best part was that you felt in commune with nature. The walk took you through a decent growth of trees and greenery. And you also had an option to walk along a gravelled path along the lake, with the cool wind lapping your face.
And so, it did not take us too long to decide to make it a daily affair; it made sense too - we have both reached that stage of our lives where we need a strong incentive to coax our unwilling bodies to move and try to burn some of that fat which has started depositing itself in all the wrong places. A romantic evening walk in the woods by the side of a lake; it seemed to present just what we were looking for.
Today's walk meant that we had been at it for a full week now, quite punctual in our routine. It would take about 45-50 minutes for us to complete a full round of the four kilometre walking track, through the trees and by the lake. Throw in a ten minute leisurely rest on one of the wooden benches by the lake with the cool refreshing breeze hitting you full on the face - and we seriously wondered why we had not hit upon this idea earlier; but as they say, better late than never, I guess.
But today was different.
I had dug up an old track pants that had been buried away somewhere for a long time. It was only when we were just about to leave the house that I realised that it did not have any pockets. And that presented a small problem - I could not take my phone or wallet with me. Call me what you may, but I certainly did not fancy the idea of a walk in the park with a phone in one hand and a wallet in the other. And since I was too lazy to change into another trousers with pockets, I decided to go along anyway without my two constant companions.
And it did not take me long to realise the mistake I had made. I immediately felt that something was missing. My hands kept going involuntarily to the side of my trousers only to come back empty and disappointed. I felt an odd sensation of being naked. Naked, because something that has become so familiar to you, is now no longer with you. It was a weird sensation. It was a sensation that I was quite familiar with though; a sensation that I had experienced many times over in one of the most recurring dreams that I have had since I was a child. A dream in which I wake up late in the morning of an exam day, rush out to school and realise only when I am on the bus, that I had forgotten to put on my shirt. I would feel embarrassed with people all around staring at me. I would feel naked and terribly ashamed. I would invariably wake up at this point and the naked sensation would end. But today, that was not to be the case. This was not a dream and there was to be no waking up. I had to go through it whether I liked it or not. For a full hour, I was a naked man walking in a park.
But then, thankfully something happened which helped to distract me, at least momentarily, from this unpleasant situation. My glasses began to fog - it must have been a combination of the sweat on my face and the cool moist air in the atmosphere. Whatever it was, I had to take off my glasses to wipe off the fog. Now, I must let you in on a secret - without my glasses I am almost blind! I say almost', because I can just about make out at twenty metres, the outline of a person but will struggle to make out the features on a face at that distance. So unless I am guided by either their mannerism, their dress or the way they walk, I will struggle to recognize anyone.
Now, when I took off my glasses to wipe them, a strange feeling swept over me. I could not place it at first, but as I walked a few more steps with my glasses in my hand, I realised it was the feeling of not being able to see those things that I was so used to seeing. All I could manage to see was the path on which I walked and that was about it. A few people went jogging past me, but they may as well have been non-existent! I was virtually blind-folded.
And that is how I ended up walking in the park, naked and blindfolded, my wife a few paces behind me.
And the more I walked that way, the more I began to enjoy it. I began to feel a lovely sense of calm. For one hour, and possibly more if I had wished, I could be absolutely sure that there would be no outside interruptions. It was a strange sense of freedom; of being able to decide what you want to do with your time. A freedom that many of us have given up, allowing various interruptions to hold us captive, as we go about the walks of our lives.
I completed the rest of the walk, still naked and blindfolded.
As I reflect now on the walk, I begin to understand what a bliss it is to strip off one by one those things that have trapped us in their grip, slowly suffocating us without us even knowing it, before it is too late. While I found the stripping away off my phone and wallet for a brief while so liberating, it was still a relatively easy thing to do. It is surely going to be much more difficult to strip off some of the things that have trapped me deep inside and have always weighed me down; my ego, my arrogance, my pride, my selfishness. And I have made a solemn promise to myself to try doing this, consciously, deliberately, for a short while maybe at first, but slowly making an effort to increase the length of time that I can stay in that naked state. And while it may not help some of you, I have also decided to take my glasses off once in a while, selectively deciding to turn blind to some of the things that I do not really need to see around me.
I look forward to tomorrow evening when, God willing, I will again go for a walk in the park, naked and blindfolded.