Evening walks have become a part of my day for quite some time now. I like walking all by myself so that I could regulate my walk, stop sometimes to spot birds/flowers/butterflies/clouds and perhaps complete my phone calls. There are several people who I spot on a regular basis; Sometimes we nod, sometimes we smile or sometimes we look ahead without any action. The regular trail is quite comforting because I understand the contours of the road and small bumps here and there.
There was a gentleman who I regularly used to see during my usual walks. He was short, dark complexioned, with a prominent paunch. His clothes fit snugly and his shoes were the sports kind in white colour. He never missed a day or rather I never missed seeing him whenever I used to walk.
Walking is a strange affair - we form connections with the path, the birds, the trees and the people who cross our paths. We may or may not talk to the people but they are part of the walking. Two days ago, we heard the news that the gentleman had passed away. He suffered acute breathlessness and passed away while being taken to the hospital. An immense sorrow clouded my mind and I regretted that I didn't smile or talk to him. He came from the same linguistic region as I. I could have at least uttered a hello or a nod. That I would never see him again while I went walking hit me hard. Strange affairs!
Feeling sorrowful for a relationship that was purely on a sight-basis is still sorrow. I hope his family finds comfort for they could not even give him a proper farewell. These and many more are the passive regrets that Covid-19 has brought about in our lives.
Rest in peace, sir. I will miss you on my walks.