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Lucknow: Walking is their morning glory

 Winter musings--Groups of early risers never miss their routine, come cold or rain.

lucknow Updated: Jan 18, 2018 13:09 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Morning walkers limbers up for the day ahead at Kukrail picnic spot in Lucknow.
Morning walkers limbers up for the day ahead at Kukrail picnic spot in Lucknow.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

It may be an unearthly hour but a bunch of avid morning walkers are up and about at 4.30am to feel the ground beneath their feet.

Neither the chill nor the dark deters them as they gather at the parking lot of the Kukrail picnic spot in Lucknow.

Rajesh Singh, Om Prakash Singh, Arvind Kumar Mishra, Lalji Singh and Swami Dutt Tewari just can’t do without their morning walk, come cold, fog or rain.

A morning walker is up much before the sunrise. (Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)
Cold facts
  • This year, the lowest temperature recorded was 2.6 degrees Celsius in Lucknow.
  • Three deaths due to cold have been reported till now.

“We wrap ourselves in woollens and jackets. The chill is enough to make us shiver. Still, it’s fun to challenge the weather and our own bodies. The reason we can withstand this regimen is that we are all addicted to morning walk,” says Mishra.

Rajesh Singh, who leads the group, says: “We don’t bother about the cold, rain or even the presence of animals around the forest. For the last nine years, we have been visiting the Kukrail picnic spot without a break for our morning walk. All of us are fitness freaks and exercise together. We come from different professions.”

Rajesh Singh is a government servant. Om Prakash Singh is in the vigilance department. Arvind Kumar Mishra and Swami Dutt Tewari are employed in the office of the director general of police.Lalji Singh is an air conditioner mechanic.

“We all became friends while taking a morning walk nine years ago. Today, we are family. If we don’t meet, walk and exercise in the morning, it seems the day has not started,” says Lalji Singh.

Braving the cold, Mahendra Kumar Varma, a general merchant shop owner in Kalyanpur, jogs towards the Kukrail picnic spot from Faridi Nagar, about two kilometres away.

Raj Kishore, a furniture workshop owner at Faridi Nagar, joins him at 5am.

“We have been following this routine for the last six years even when it rains. We face the vagaries of the weather with grit,” he says.

Asked if they fear attacks by animals in the forest, Mahendra Kumar Varma says, “I have seen hyenas and jackals roaming here but they rarely harm humans. The presence of forest guards instills confidence in us.”

Ankush Varma, assistant manager with a public sector bank, also visits Kukrail for a morning walk.

Laughter club members at Golden Jubilee Park in Sector 25, Indira Nagar, Lucknow. (Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

“In fact, I enjoy the winter mornings. It’s great to have coffee after an hour’s morning walk,” says the Indira Nagar resident.

The conditions are far more difficult for laboures Ramesh, Kamlesh, Santosh and Jagdish who have a rice and dal meal on the footpath of Ring Road leading to Faridi Nagar and Kukrail.

They don’t have the luxury of coffee, tea, biscuits or bread in the morning.

Kukrail picnic spot
  • Kukrail Picnic Spot is a forest sanctuary on the outskirts of Lucknow. It has always attracted Lucknowites because of its abundant natural beauty. It’s greenery makes it a perfect place for a day long. It is now becoming a favourite spot for morning walkers with the expansion of city towards it.

“Winter is never kind to us. We only have a few bedsheets to cover ourselves. We cannot afford to rent a room,” says Kamlesh who hails from a village in Sitapur district.

He adds, “We prepare rice because it’s easy to cook and a cheaper option in the morning. Otherwise, we get time to eat only after 2pm at the construction site. We get tea and bread on special occasions.”

Morning walk has also helped cultivate new relationships for residents in the city.

Vibha Srivastava, who lives in Khurram Nagar, and Madhu, resident of Sector 25, Indira Nagar, met during a morning walk inside Golden Jubilee Park in Sector 25, Indira Nagar. There, they joined a laughter club which has over 40 members. The club members go to the park for a morning walk daily.

“Yes, it is cold but we never miss a morning walk. It’s just like breathing for us. We all meet each other and the warmth (of interaction) is enough to beat the cold,” says Shivram Mishra, president of the laughter club.

“Yes, the cold poses a challenge. But we remain fit because of our walk. Some of the members are asthma patients. Still, they attend our laughter sessions, which helps us battle daily stress and tension,” he says.