I regularly indulge in People Watching. And no, I don’t need a pair of binoculars to indulge in that activity. The people being watched are near enough for me to read their facial expressions when uncovered, even without them. Let me explain.
Every morning, I sit for about half an hour in my veranda with my morning mugs of tea. This veranda which opens out to my garden, abuts a main artery of our neighbourhood. It is a tree lined avenue and is populated with some very nice housing societies. There is a grill between me and the garden and a chain fence between the garden and the avenue. Though the garden and the fence is covered by hedges, parts of the fence are not and I can clearly see the avenue and the passers by can see me too from the gaps.
I am more or less a fixture and many passers by wave to me and at times, some of them come near the grill to say hello too. There have been two occasions when at a cinema theatre once and at a restaurant at another time, two gents came across and introduced themselves as a morning walkers who sees me every morning having my tea!
What are the kinds of people that I watch every morning? To start with, my favourites. School going children waiting for their buses to come and pick them up. They inevitably cheer me up for the rest of the day. I am their favourite Old Man!
The next are those that know me and wave to me or stop to chat with me. These will be about half a dozen or so.
Then will be all the others who come in all ages and shapes, who can be sorted into different varieties.
The solos. These are single walkers or joggers of either sex very intent on their morning exercise and are totally focussed. Some of them do calisthenics while walking and that is quite impressive to watch. Some have headphones on and are perhaps listening to music or some other audio going on. A dangerous trend that I see now is the increasing number of people texting or reading hand held devices while walking.
The pairs. These are two of either a couple or a pair of the same sex, again either walking or jogging. The walking ones inevitably chat while on their walk. The very recognizable couples either bring domestic disputes along on the walks just as much as home accord and the consequent smug looks come along too. It is interesting to speculate on such pre walk scenarios at their homes.
The groups. These too consist of either walkers or joggers and the former inevitably will be talking among themselves about the hottest topic of the day. Usually politics or cricket. The joggers do not talk as they are too focussed in staying with the group at the same pace.
Besides all the above there are also bicyclists. Most are about their normal morning routine like going to work or coming off night duty but some come on obvious exercise bikes. These are also very focussed though there are some who gently pedal to enjoy the morning air. Here too headphones are very much noticeable just as much as texters. Luckily, I have not yet seen any mishaps but am prepared to be of help if they take place as they will sooner than later.
Finally come the maids and male servants employed in the various blocks of flats. Some of them come on bicycles, some walk and some get dropped by a member of their family while riding pillion on scooters or motorcycles.
The most mysterious are the helmet wearing motorcycle/scooter riders and also pillion riders similarly helmeted or those with faces covered to prevent air pollution!
Watching all these people, leads often to speculating about them too. For instance if someone is obese, I speculate that s/he has been ordered by a doctor to exercise. If it is someone waiting for a cab from the Uber, their occupation etc or whether they will be going off on a trip to catch a train or a flight and so on.
This pastime goes on till the newspapers arrive bringing to an end a harmless but interesting daily routine.