Indeed, it may be said that long walks without any other object than exercise and interruption of studies, though far better than nothing, are the least beneficial kind of relaxation for a brain-worker.
The sportsman who goes with his gun in search of game, the botanist looking for plants or ferns, and the geologist armed with a hammer, derive more benefits from the time they spend in the open air than the man who, simply from a sense of duty, compels himself to walk to a distant point and back again. In Indian cities there is not much scope for the study of geology and botany, and the Indian student is generally debarred by circumstances from shooting or fishing. Thus, unless he has a natural taste for outdoor games or can cultivate such a taste, he must often have recourse to random walks along the sea-face. He should, however, vary the monotony of his leisure hours by occasionally directing his steps to the many objects of interest to be seen in the neighborhood.
In Bombay the Victoria and Prince’s Docks, full of great ocean steamers, Chembur Hill with its splendid prospect of Bombay and the harbour on a bright day, the Victoria Gardens, Malabar Point. The Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill, and the Marine Drive, all supply suitable objects for walks; and, if some of them are too far away, the distance to be traversed on foot can be lessened at little expense by taking advantage of the train or the bus. Some of the holidays that occur in term-time should be utilized for longer excursions. A day may be happily spent in visiting the Vihar and Tulsi Lakes, the cave temples of Kanheri and Elephanta, or the ruins of Bassein.
A student who goes through his school and college career in Bombay without having sufficient enterprise to organize expeditions to these places, thereby shows himself to be singularly destitute of intelligent curiosity. Many learned men of foreign countries cross the ocean at great expense of time, money, and trouble, to visit what he, in his narrow-minded devotion to textbooks, does not think worth the trouble of a day’s journey. So far we have been considering the way in which our leisure time may be profitably occupied, if we do not happen to have any natural inclination for active outdoor games.
Those who are fortunate enough to enjoy such games as cricket and lawn-tennis, have no reason to trouble themselves with the question as to how they should amuse themselves in the intervals of work. Their own natural inclinations direct them to the healthiest, pleasantest and therefore most profitable amusements in which an intellectual student can engage. The only danger is that the fascinations of these games may be too great to allow their votaries to devote a proper amount of time to their studies; but this danger has not yet attained formidable dimensions in India.
For such as do not care for strenuous games, a hobby will fill leisure hours with interest. Such pleasant hobbies as photography, sketching or carpentry are real recreations, because they rest the mind by occupying it with something different from our regular work.