Sunday, 29 January 2012

Story of the Sun and the Sunflower

Repost here so that it is all in one place.

Got up at 3 AM today, Skyped with daughter and left for Biscuit’s morning constitutional at 4 AM, I forgot the garbage bag. After leaving Biscuit (for the uninitiated, Biscuit is my 4 year old Labrador) at home, I started for the morning run at 05: 10 AM along with the garbage bag for disposing in the Municipal waste bin on the way. I forgot to get my watch for which I had to go back to the house. Biscuit came every time to ensure I was safely off before he would have gone for his second round of nap.
It was quite dark outside and moon shone its hooded torch to show me the way, I ran at a slow pace. After a few kilometers, my sights adjusted to the natural light and the moon receded to follow me sedately along. A group of street dogs were conferring about where to start their foraging for break-fast. One of the dogs barked at me, this was quite unusual; the street dogs know me and give me a wide berth. Looking closely, I found this dog new, and he had a worn out make-shift collar too. Maybe, he had come to his street friends for a sleep-over and didn’t want me to eavesdrop on their secret talks.
Further down, I found a Sow and squealing piglets examining the spillover from the garbage dump outside Madhura colony at KM 2. Maybe, they didn’t like what the residents left for them overnight or was it the piglets whining about their mother insisting on their finishing their greens.
I laboured over the steep climb from KM 3 to KM 4, taking my first few sips of water. I seem to be tiring easily today, usually my first sips of water are at KM 9. Few morning walkers came from the opposite side including my dairy man. We acknowledged each other. I crossed Sai Baba temple, wanted to seek his blessings for a fruitful trip to Delhi, but his lights were off, will catch him on the way back. At KM 7, my singer friend was doing vigorous exercises; he gave an enthusiastic wave to which I reciprocated. I must one day stop and get him to sing a song.
The run from now to KM 9 would be uneventful; I switched to Gayatri japa and plodded on. Between KM 10/11, met three ladies who are regular walkers, I will now narrate why I don’t write about them. Today the stray dog walking next to them growled at me. They felt responsible for the dog and me, maybe, because I looked city bred and needing protection. I jogged on and gave them a smile of thanks, ice thus broken; they will become part of my narrative from today. They complete the walk and exercise in the field and are there till I return.
The maize fields looked wizened and old, but, they seemed contented in having fully mature corn in their cobs. I reached the sunflower patch just before sunrise, the flowers were deep in slumber, or were they? They seemed to be avoiding me, what have I done? I crossed them in deep thought, have they known of my plan to take their photo and put it up or do they know that my brother has threatened to visit them on cycle? On the way back, I saw them standing in groups and giving me dirty looks, they looked betrayed, as if, I failed them in having purveyed our secret meetings on the net for feeding my vanity. I tried to explain, the Sun seemed like a father, who pushed me along saying that he would explain to them in his own way after they finish their breakfast. I am sure they would have forgiven me when I come their way next Wednesday after my trips to Delhi and Bangalore. Kids can hold their grudges for that long. On the way back saw the maize plants cut neatly strung and laid out like corpses. He farmer with a string in hand looked like Lord Yama and the tractor trailer his vehicle. He was preparing to take them to meet their maker. They looked composed in the thought of having done their bit and lived a full life.
I changed ‘Gandhigiri’ today, I didn’t initiate any wave from my side, I only watched for how many waves I got. Three truck drivers including the HP petroleum tanker waved to me, Yipee, Gandhigiri works! The sand Lorries would require more working on.
The return trip was uneventful, I finished the run 3 hrs 11 mts. I am now not so much bothered about pace, divine message in my forgetting my watch? I seem to run to gather a story.
Now, honest feedback please, or I will grow headstrong.
e Int� t o �� � � When he mentioned how we run for fun and how at the turning, the lady African runner pushed him. He mentioned that he caught up with her to discipline her. I should have asked him if he asked her ‘Why this Kolaveri Di…’
The aid stations were well laid out. The staff manning aid stations was very cheerful and polite. The ambulance with medical staff and traffic policemen were there in sufficient numbers. My wife tells me that the place for the cheering squads was also very comfortable. Organizers deserve Full marks for this.
The run for the next few laps was mechanical except for the regularity of high fives by the Chennai duo of Sundar and Nari. The crowd thinned out with the HM completing their bit and some unfortunate drop-outs. A word for the people who were cheering us, some of them had stayed back after completing their races. Their enthusiasm and the full moon, having shaken off the eclipse, must have been more than a match for the midnight sun. I tried to keep the drummers belting out Bhangra numbers from flagging by cheering them every time I approached them. The policemen had a smile for the runners whenever we crossed them. This event can easily match SCMM in its crowd response. Viva Bengaluru!
Now I started stopping at the turning at mid point and walking to change direction in addition to one drink stop in each loop. The weather still allowed me the luxury of running non-stop, but the gradient was starting to take its toll. I could see stragglers increasing in numbers. The answering smile was resigned and laboured. I must say the crowd at the start point did not thin and their enthusiasm and cheering volume kept rising with the night. They started calling out to me as soon as I was visible at the entry point and cheered me on till I was visible to them.
I had now reached my last lap, I offered each cheering person to accompany me on the ‘victory lap’. To my surprise one of the girls picked up her footwear and told me that she will accompany me barefoot on my last lap. She must have been my daughter’s age, and I was reminded of my daughter who had offered last year to run the last lap in the BU, which was sadly aborted because of time over-run. Her name she said was Veera (hope I got it right), she said she wanted to run a marathon and that she does 5K. She beautifully paced me on the last lap at 10kmph, and I could run the entire lap non-stop without even a drinks break. Thank you Veera, had I caught you earlier, maybe, I would have had a sub 4 finish. Wishing you your first Marathon soon. All in all I had a satisfied outing.

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