I just returned from a very quick, hectic trip to Chennai (formerly Madras), India. I had the opportunity to accompany my mother in law on her return trip home. She'd spend several months with us in St. Louis but had to get outta Dodge before the weather turned too cold. Brrr - like today.
Anyway, it had been since the days of the Tsunami, December, 2004, since I'd last been there. As I had expected, the traffic was terrible. India has yet to impose orderly driving rules on its populace. Riding in a car in any large city in India can be a hair-raising experience! But, this time, I wasn't prepared for the exponential increase in the number of autos and motorcycles. Of course, there are still auto-rickshaws, bicycles, and pedestrians, all competing with buses and trucks (lorries)of all sizes for space on typically narrow, pot-holed streets. Most cities have banned cycle- and human-pulled rickshaws, carts, and herds of livestock (locally referred to humorously as 'brake inspectors').
So, what's all this got to do with walking? The population of Chennai is FAT! Fat, I tell you! I was shocked. With the improving economy, the increased production and reduced prices of consumer goods (including food), and the decrease in miles walked, younger Indians are following their U.S. counterparts in increasing girth.
It's very clear. I have a perspective of the same population in the same geographic location and climate over the course of almost exactly five years. During my last visit to India, most students and young professionals walked to the bus stop or cycled to work or school. Not so now. With their increased buying power, they're purchasing all kinds of automobiles and walking very little.
So, a word to the wise here for India. Please don't follow us down this particular path. Keep walking and maintain your healthy habits to avoid the common health ailments that go along with the increased weight - heart disease, lung disease, joint disease, and depression. Continuing to walk will prevent all of the bad things so many U.S. citizens suffer.
Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.
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