Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Story of the Sun and the Sunflower

Got back to base after almost a week, the body having got used to easy living, revolted at the alarm going off at 3 AM. Finally, the training won over temporary lethargy. Biscuit refused to accompany me to the hall and kept sleeping blissfully. Luckily for me, my daughter’s jet-lag afforded me her company in the morning. The spinning session was disappointing, maybe, due to the long break. Morning Raaga and Kolaveri Di songs played by daughter helped. Biscuit joined us at 04.30 AM and he was thrilled to have my daughter’s company for the morning walk in the golf course. The walk was long and Biscuit seemed to want to exploit my daughter’s company to the hilt.
Despite body telling me to take a break and start again after the Goa vacation on Saturday, weighed down by guilt at the prolonged break, wearing the new shorts brought from US by my daughter, I trudged off to the start point. Biscuit seemed to tell her of the futility of trying to stop me when I am in one of these Kolaveri’s.
The moon was just a sliver of light and the morning air quite chilly. The moon seemed to be just following me out of a sense of duty with no enthusiasm. It gave one the impression of the thin attendance in Government offices ahead of the year-end break. It seemed to forbid me from making any polite conversation. Even though I was about half an hour late by my usual standards, the streets were deserted, barring a few kamikaze parents on two-wheelers ferrying their bored wards to tuitions. There was a very thin attendance of the intrepid morning walkers.
My legs normally fall into a rhythm within a few kilometers of the start, today, the legs seemed like they were made of lead. I took my first sip of water at KM 3, indications of the shape of things to come. I continued to plod on with determination to meet the Sunflowers. I met my singer friend at KM 5, he must have finished his calisthenics at KM 7 and must have caught me on his way back. My wave was perfunctory. Nobody seemed to have missed me. Even the usual street dogs and the Pig family were conspicuous by their absence.
A lone Christmas star outside a house was valiantly fighting the darkness of bigotry and intolerance around it. It made me cheerful. Sai baba was still in purdah, looked like he had delegated his serious cases to Christ and gone on a year-end vacation. The vacant maize patch was giving a eerie look in the darkness.
An overturned truck at KM 9, had two people next to it warming themselves on fireside. My enquiries revealed that the accident happened yesterday night, and there were no casualties. The usual crowds of people who assemble to collect their daily supply of drinking water were going about their business quietly. There was no sign of the Maulvi or the dog with the infected ear. Maybe, the dog, afraid of Betadine had relocated to another part of the town. Maybe he just wanted ‘Dua’ and not ‘Dawa’.
No sand laden trucks today, few truck drivers waved to me and I started falling into a rhythm. My pace however, was very slow. I doubted, if I could make it to the Sunflower patch or if I have to use the services of one of the friendly truck drivers to abort my run. I banished these negative thoughts and resolved to complete the run. I could always rest at Goa tomorrow, I rationalized.
It was nearing Sunrise time and I approached KM 10 with the trepidation of a husband who having left after a tiff with the wife in the morning is not sure if ‘All is Well’ at the time of the return. Readers will remember that the sunflowers had a tiff with me when I left them last Wednesday, on the issue of invasion of their privacy. I need not have bothered; Sun came in its full glory with flushed cheeks, meeting me almost a mile ahead, as if to assure me that all was indeed well back home.
With this self assurance, I tried to push myself to reach the mid-point quickly, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.  I huffed and puffed and finally reached the bend eager to get the first glimpse of the sunflowers. They seemed to be in a holiday mood, most of the sunflowers looked like they were wearing colour dress instead of the usual school dress. Some of the flowers in the front row seemed to have put on the usual school colours of yellow scarf and mufflers. They seemed to have completely forgotten about the previous tiff, just as one would expect from kids of that age.
On the way back, they grudgingly, much like a tired housewife gives in to the demand of a domestic for undeserved year-end leave, agreed to my message of my vacation to Goa till the weekend. I took leave of them and quickened my pace to complete the second half of the run.
On the return journey, the brother and sister duo at KM 10, gave me an enthusiastic high five and pushed me along. The overturned truck had quite a few onlookers, among them, a bunch of school-kids having their first glimpse of the underside of a truck. Future Mechanical engineers in the making!
Come KM 9 and I found the Maulvi outside the mosque who gave me an enthusiastic wave and helped me along my way.
The vacant maize patch now awash in brilliant sunlight looked like a mother resting between two rounds of feeding of hungry kids, recuperating from her previous exertions. The weeds cut and stacked on the side of the field looked like slain terrorists remains, much in contrast to the maize bushels of the last week. They seemed to realize the futility of the destructive path taken by them.
Come KM 7, and I found Sai baba resplendent in new clothes smiling at the passers by. I mentally apologized for having thought of him having delegated his cases to Lord Jesus. Rest of the return trip had the usual school kids waving at me and egging me on my return trip. I finished the run of 30KM in 3 hours, 17 minutes and 4 seconds. 

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