I get off the bus at 9am.
Should I have breakfast at my favourite roti prata joint, or should I head home? Decisions, decisions. The jar of almond butter in my fridge takes charge and beckons. Phew!
Walk a little ahead and take good old overhead bridge # 1 or take the link bridge elevator? Elevator, of course. Walking on the covered bridge #2, I turn to my left to glance at the overhead bridge #1 - uncovered, bright and adorned with an abundance of pink bougainvillea. A tinge of regret. For I always find myself pausing on that other bridge, standing close to the flowers and watching the traffic flow below. In the next part of my little ritual, I usually turn my head to the left and inhale to soak in the energy of the vast open green field and the imposing trees. Energised, I then continue my walk to the other side.
Ah well, today I get to appreciate the beauty from afar. Surely there must be something to that?
I reach the other end of this nondescript new bridge that leads to the first floor entrance of an old (by Singapore standards) mall. At the other end of the building is a road that I need to cross to get home. Yet another bridge to get to and cross. How shall I get to this bridge? Turn left and walk down a flight of stairs and take the outdoor pavement that leads to the bridge at the back, or... walk straight into the building and look for the exit that could possibly lead me straight to the level of the bridge without having to climb it? Since the answer is obvious, the decision is taken in an instant.
I step into the building. Where do I go now?
There must be about 5 and a half people in the entire building. Except for one little cafe, no shop is open. The escalators have not been turned on. As I walk up to the second floor I tell myself - "it's all very well to take this route but you don't even know where the exit to the bridge is!" I ask a lady on the second floor. She asks me if I can 'chiang hua yi'. I smile at her thinking, "I can. I can repeat those very words." I soon discover that of the 5 and a half people, only 1 speaks English. By then, I have climbed up from floor 1 to 2 to 3 to 4, down to 3, back to 4, down to 2 and then to 1. This angel in disguise guides me to the elevator and tells me to take it to the 3rd floor where she says there is a door that leads to the bridge.
I see a door and walk out. Oh no. Dingy staircase. Up or down? I climb up, open the door and it's the mall again. I walk down, open the door and it's the mall again. I am beginning to feel claustrophobic and anxious. I head back to the elevator and just as I am contemplating taking the elevator all the way down and head out to that pavement, a woman appears and points me in the direction of the washroom. There, at the side, is an inconspicuous door. I open it.
Sunshine! And then I realise, to my utter disappointment, that the building does not connect directly to the bridge after all. I have to walk one flight down to the road and then take the steps up to the bridge. "Never mind. At least you are out of that depressing building," I console myself. The air in Singapore has never felt fresher and I am soaking in the sun.
On the other side of the road, I pause to absorb the breathtaking greenery that seems to be telling me something. I lower my head and nod gently. "Yes, never again!" To the people in the cars that are going by slowly, I must seem either extraterrestrial or insane.
On the home stretch, I find myself slowing down my gait to acknowledge and embrace the different manifestations of Nature along my way. Words said to me by a participant of one of my workshops suddenly come to mind. Likening my movement system Antarika to a flower, she told me - "My life is fine, but my life is better with the flowers." I couldn't agree more.