Tuesday, September 25, 2007

One step at a time

Evening walks were usually balked at by me back home. However, I have started the habit here. Home from office and a drink of water/juice/frizzy drink depending on my mood. A change of clothes, some coins, bus pass, camera, mobile and often a book - and I am ready for my walk.

I usually walk 30-40 minutes one way. However, the actual walk is interrupted by dogs - me and the dogs pet each other in delighted ecstasy while the dog owner looks on bemusedly. Usually the owner and I exchange a couple of doggie stories, and both parties are on our way, me and the dog stopping at frequent intervals to look back at each other before moving on.

Grumpy kids demand another halt. I have discovered that I am as fascinating to the Finnish kids as an elephant might be. Indeed, for many of them, I am the first indication that human beings can be of a different skin color. Kids crying their head off will invariably shut up in surprise on seeing a brown human saying 'Moi!' . The trick here is not to linger too long - the more they see you, the higher the chances of them losing interest and going back to the original screaming with renewed vigour. Moi and walking off makes them turn to their mothers and ask a hundred questions.

The next stop is for adults, who just wanted someone to talk to. A group of dignified old men, in their expensive suits having a deep discussion presumably on where to go for their kahvi, are as curious as little kids. Debunking the myth of Finns who talk in monosyllables, they break up their discussions; greeting me invariably in Finnish, then switching to English. Where are you from? Are you studying here? How long have you been here? How do you find our country? Did you try sauna? Do you have siblings? Wont your parents miss you? - the questions flow, with the dire warnings about the winter and the darkness.

The walk by itself is structured to be unstructured. No the same streets as far as possible. 30-40 minutes walking away from where I live. Each day brings in different kinds of discoveries, different people. Once the time is up, I reverse my path; back to home, but through different roads. Thankfully, despite all the random twists and turns that I do take, I am back at my apartment safe and sound, never once feeling or getting lost.


raven said...

post a few pics da

AJ said...

:) classic surya - glad to see you've not lost the urge to wander yet.

Anonymous said...

i dont envy u :) ...
u do this in Finland..
and I do this in Europe..
as Raven says, I hope u post few pics...

-- Rhone..