Perils of early morning walks People who go regularly for morning walks in any part of Chennai are only too aware of the uncanny behaviour of dogs and birds. For some reason, I have subjected every member of the canine family to a close scrutiny for the last two days and have found out that their behaviour is no less intriguing than that of the human beings. They keep moving all the time, they bark at all rag pickers, they cross the roads in front of your car just as the signal changes from amber to green, they can spot all those who have a morbid fear of dogs from a kilometer and conduct conversations with other members of the canine family at a decibel level that will eventually land you in the waiting room of an ENT specialist. I have even often suspected a nexus between them and the ENT specialists! The bowel movements of the birds are even more mind-boggling. I am sure that the old Chinese relaxing along the Great Wall and well known for their betting mania must be surely betting on when and where the next bird dropping will land! The birds spare no one and are not afraid of even the most notorious protagonists of the law of ‘an eye for an eye’! This is about the only occasion when a man cannot boast of ‘paying him back by the same coin.’ The birds, as a dear friend told me once, can recognize a toilet when they see one! I have nothing against them except that they play spoil sport at the most crucial moments. Like the girl who ditches her lover with short stubs and goes with another man just because he uses Mach3 in a popular TV ad, I have known girls who ditched their boy friends bearing the tell tale marks of walking under the trees and showed a marked preference for the guys who traveled in limousines and hence were not exposed to such risks! Let us now keep aside the birds and dogs that we encounter during our morning walks. What about the men and women who provide an equal food for thought? Not just ordinary food but a multiple course meal! I’ll not bore you here with details of well dressed, heavily perfumed, affluent women who walk around at a pace that makes temple cars appear as if Michael Schumacher is at the wheel! Nor am I going to talk about the chic ones who collectively appear as if the rainbow on the western sky has descended to the walking track. I have heard that the Kundalini Yoga involves the awakening of the serpent power lying dormant at the base of the spine and bringing it to the base of the skull. I do not know the purpose of such a hard exercise and don’t drag me into any heated discussion about this! I am referring to this yogic exercise as you will see it being performed by any number of men in their morning walks. I refer to those men who, like Thymoor, have lost all their battles against bulging and stand as a monumental example of the havoc that the force of gravity can wreck on men! When they sight a nice looking woman closing in on them, they bring the entire bulge of the middle into their rib cage and look like the double of Johnny Weissmuller sans all the chest beating. The moment she is past the line of vision, the rib cage empties its content back into its moorings. Other men keep a fixed smile on their face and can well be described as a mobile smiley of the Google kind. They feel the pain in their jaws caused by this forced smile which they get rid of by making faces at themselves in the privacy of their toilets. Yet others behave boisterously to earn a comment that they don’t look their age at all! Yes. The morning walkers are part of the make-believe world. They get back home to the drudgery of their routine and look forward to yet another morning to feel alive again!