The Rose Garden Walking Club, as the name suggests, walks everyday in Rose Garden. On Sundays, they also eat lots of food – samosa, bread pakora, milk cake, biscuits and hot tea – for which they have a commercial size canter. Weight-loss does not seem to be purpose of the group, clearly, but they are healthier than anyone with perfect BMIs.
The day we met them, we were out for our #DelhibyMetro walk, with jamun and mango seeds to plant. In our typical unplanned style, we got caught in the rain, without umbrellas and with bags full of seeds. The club members welcomed us into their little circle, with steaming cups of tea. We hesitated, only fleetingly, and then jumped right in. They invited us for their ‘Celebration Ceremony’. They were celebrating the rain, the forest and a member’s birthday. But we realised that they didn’t need a particular reason to celebrate. They were just happy to be.
As I watched our group member vigorously plough the earth to drop the seeds in, with a gang of gardeners giving expert advice, a guard making encouraging noises and the walking club laughing in the distance, I realized it’s the forest. Forests just make people happy and helpful.
– Text by Jayati Talapatra