The day started early today, Biscuit’s walk was advanced to 04:15 hours, so that i could be back in time to be able to drop daughter off at the 6 O’ clock train to Hospet. She was to meet her school friend for a day with her family before I joined her tonight for our cycle tour of the city of Hampi tomorrow. I could start my run only at 06:15 hours after keeping the car in the garage and staving off Biscuit’s efforts to join me on my morning run.
The roads were lit up with natural light and the sliver of a moon had no takers. The gang of the four stray dogs was mixing up the garbage, after overturning the bin, with the vigour of an election official mixing up ballot papers to save the electors from the wrath of the losing candidate.
There was a spring in my step today, maybe, the viral fever had run its course and I would have a comfortable, if not faster, run today. I quickly reached HDMC limits at KM 3 eager for the climb to the next kilometer. I could make out the faces of the morning walkers and their quadruped companions today. I warmly greeted the nuns of the missionaries of charity returning after their night of attending to the sick and the needy.
The climb felt nice today. Truck drivers outside the petrol bunk were ready for the morning run after the night at the petrol bunk at KM 5. I could make out the forms of the drivers crossing me from the opposite side and the waving was enthusiastic from both sides.
A mini-truck had run off the edge off the road on the opposite side of the road. The few wooden cartons spilt on the roadside showing newspaper packing, betrayed some fresh fruit consignment. There was no sign of the driver nearby, hope he escaped without much hurt and had only gone to fetch reinforcements into the city nearby. He probably did not fear any vandalism so early in the day, so far from the city. Sai baba temple short of KM 7 was still closed but the pujari was up and getting ready to wake up the lord.
The crimson visage on the right on the horizon announced the arrival of the Sun. It took a long time in coming; the red ball climbing out of the crimson juice gave a look of red gulab-jamun coming up in the hot syrup. Having come up, it was content to direct proceedings of the day from behind a thick veil of clouds. I was thankful for this considerate act of the Sun, it seemed to spare my weak constitution after the bout of the viral.
The villagers were up and about and the crowd was busy collecting their share of drinking water at the culvert mid way between KM 8 and 9. The bus stand had a fair number of customers waiting for the road transport bus to the city. Nearby a band of Aiyappa devotees in their customary black clothes were setting up a fire to cook their day’s meal before trudging on to keep their annual tryst with their deity.
The brother sister duo met me outside their house at KM 10 but were shy to openly acknowledge my high five, conscious of the crowd of people up and about. I just waved to them and moved on. More intimate greetings will have to wait for an early run day.
I met the three ladies returning from their morning walk, my greeting was solemnly replied to by the matronly lady, her younger companions shyly acknowledged me after getting a nod from their elder.
The fenced in plot of land was looking desolate with weeds over-running the plot. The contrast of ripe grains on the fields around it attracting the chirping birds in return for a few grains was a clear lesson for choosing a purposeful life than one for just making money. The huge plot of low-lying land on the right fenced in for collecting rain water, looked like a state government’s attempt to collect rain-water for creating an artificial pond. The fence still looked out of place, there was, however, no sign of the owner of this fenced in plot.
The fresh patch of the young sunflower plants was resplendent in their bright colours and the wards seemed to be enjoying their winter break, despite the sun having gone behind clouds. The patch of mature sunflower plants were standing mournfully with their heads bowed low under the weight of their full pod of seeds. The sun seemed to respect their position and smile indulgently from behind a veil of clouds. Few younger plants among the seniors were still glaring at the sun for their full quota of rations. The patch looked happy to have survived another day but seemed resigned to the inevitable fate by the hands of scythe soon.
The birds were feasting on the ripe grains directly off the stalks, much as if they would prefer to deduct their quota at source, not being sure of the piety or munificence of the humans. A lone crow was pegging away at a Jowar cob, preferring to have his straight off the cob without any dressing. The farmer’s ruse of covering the ripe cobs with plastic covers having been neutralized by the intelligent crows. The farm scientists must come up with something smarter. On the other side of the road, an army of birds were shamelessly plundering the crop, the scare crow looked helpless much like a corrupt policeman, who, despite his smart uniform was not able to enforce his writ due to lack of moral authority.
Extended family of hens was out in the sun, opposite the masjid at KM 9, diligently prising out reluctant insects for community dining while getting their quota of vitamin D. The smoldering remains of the fire on the wayside outside the mosque reminded me of the late hour, the moulvi must have gone inside the masjid to attend to the higher order needs of his band of devout.
The freshly hewn maize field with manure spread over the soil gave the look of mother earth wearing a mud-pack and bearing the stench more for the health of her children than for the skin deep looks. Stacked up iron rods, sand dump and deep trenches in the plot next to the maize field told the story of some farmer who having sold his primary livelihood had moved on to try his luck in the city. Seemed to be a case of shelter for adjoining city dwellers tempting the farmer off his livelihood.
A rescue truck had driven near to the fallen truck and the precious cargo of Oranges being transshipped to the bigger truck. The fallen truck still had his face in the dirt ashamed at his act of having staryed from the straight and narrow.
The gang of four stray dogs, who meet me near the garbage dump at the start of my run, met me today at KM 4, they were playfully bantering along unmindful of the highway traffic. It was as if they were showing me the extent of their empire. Further down I met a Pomeranian dog on leash walking resignedly with his head bent low, as if, ruing having given up his freedom for security of food and shelter.
The sun now came out with full vengeance burning my neck and back. He seemed to suggest that his sense on friendship towards me could no longer keep him behind the veil of cloud, duty being duty you know.
There were no kids today to greet me on my way into the HDMC municipal limits, The loud announcements of the Sanskar school PT teacher coming over the boundary wall, told me that my young fans were being subjected to mass PT.
Further down the road, outside the SBI school, after shouts of School Saavdhan and School Vishraam, I could hear them dutifully breaking out into the Vande Mataram song. Thankfully for me, some late risers on two wheelers with their mothers called out to me despite their hurry to school. The children looked happy for a ride hugging their mother from behind. The mother’s looked harassed due to this additional demand on their already rushed morning schedule.
Less than a kilometer from home, I saw a cold chain truck with its back right into the front of the Reliance Fresh store, recouping freshness for the day.
I completed the run in 3 hours 17 minutes and 16 seconds, I have done faster, but, this was satisfying after yesterday’s break and day before yesterday’s disaster of a run.