Walking through a place is one of the best ways to explore it, especially so when the walks are solitary. With a companion there are expectations, and often disappointments/ disillusionment. Experiences from traveling with and without a companion has often reinforced this.
My evening/ late night walks in Paldi/ Narayannagar have opened up a new whole new labyrinth of interconnecting roads and pathways I never even knew existed. Every time I am out, I see something new. Some beautiful old bungalows, a huge Swaminarayan temple, some new and variously colorful dogs, people playing antakshari in groups outside their houses, loud music late in the night from a rich man's house, dark deserted houses with long lost histories, some new construction here and there, a very dark but enchanting park full of medicinal plants, but most often its the idyllic (and often eerie) night silence that creeps out and stays with you, sometimes even till the wee hours of the next morning.
Ahmedabad is never very cold, and that makes late night walks possible even in the winters. Often there is no one else who walks along with you, so the solitary walking figure of a weird looking man with long hair and short shorts stands out and makes the lazy inhabitants take notice. But the ones who get the most curious by my bizarre appearance are the numerous Paldi/ Narayannagar dogs. The are left confused and their inherent ability of barking momentarily stunted, often left bewildered by a lack of a coherent response in their mini minds. And of course this suits me well, I don't find the idea of running in the dark alleys with variously colored dogs chasing me particularly alluring.
Older women also look at me with curiosity, often perhaps first looking at me as a symbol of growing women emancipation (with my long hair and shorts), but they are also ultimately left confounded by the actual me. Apart from the old aunties and colorful dogs, no one else gives me a second look.
I sometimes wonder what would these walks be like if I have a companion. I might enjoy it still but perhaps not my partner, for I make a particularly boring travel mate. But I continute walking...