From A Woman in a Hurry to A Woman in no Hurry

by Ar. Gita Balakrishnan

When the first poster for the #Walkwitharcause campaign was launched, the reactions to the announcement evoked a multitude of emotions in me. Gratitude for one – the fact that I had such a wonderful universe of friends and well-wishers who were not just encouraging me but offering all kinds of help and support moved me. I could suddenly feel butterflies in my stomach as this dream was taking shape and becoming as real as it gets.

I was also bombarded with incredulous reactions and questions. Had I overreached beyond my limits this time? Would my body take it? Was it safe? There were practical and sensible questions like- How would I keep myself nourished along the way? How would I find toilets on the route? I felt queasy and doubts began gnawing at my resolve. I sat back, eyes closed and reflected on the magic of the idea! I marvelled at the beauty and the power of what I was embarking on. I would have the opportunity to connect with so many people, to listen to their tales, get a glimpse into their lives, their problems. I may have the good fortune of playing Holi with one of the communities and get washed by the pre-Holi showers of Madhya Pradesh.

There was one question that was thrown at me by multiple people – why was I walking and not cycling or taking a vehicle from point to point? I need to address this not just for those who are curious but for myself as well. This adventure is not intended as a path-breaking one nor as a path-making one. I look at this as a path-finding mission and when we are on a search, whether it is for something one has lost or a destination, or even a master maybe- we need to slow down. The slower the pace the better so that we do not miss signs and directions that are out there.

Also, walking is a great leveller; boundaries and disparities seem to blur since most people can work at matching paces when walking. A smile here, a wave there, a nod and a word – and you have struck up a connection, maybe even a conversation. Putting people at ease enough to build familiarity and allow for sharing, caring and baring with, for and to each other respectively is the intent of this pilgrimage. And pilgrimage it is – where these bonds, interactions and the experience are the deity, temple and prayer all rolled in one.

Architect Gita Balakrishnan has spent the last 20 years of her life bringing together students, professionals and industries working in the built environment sector through her initiative, Ethos.

One Comment

  • Satyanathan

    All the very best Gita, you are a inspiration. May you have all the good health needed to finish this task with ease and enjoy all the way. GOD Speed dear

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