I started my blog of 31st run and have got stuck. I want to leapfrog and deliver today’s piece and then go back for arrears later. Today was day 11 of my 30K run on the trot, fellow Dailymile peers have started asking, ‘Why this…’. It is now being followed like the Anna Hazare’s fast was!
My wife has rushed to Bangalore to be by her father as he underwent coronary by-pass surgery last Monday. Biscuit and I have been temporarily orphaned. I can now appreciate the travails of a single parent. Biscuit senses this and clings on to me constantly. My morning jog is under severe threat. After his morning walk, I had planned to drop him at Mathew’s (My manfriday, Biku’s first love) place till evening when I would pick him up after office for the evening walk and the night. It all looked perfect. Oh yes!, I forgot to tell, Mathew has pushed off for 10 days to be part of the sports contingent and take care of their culinary needs (A sports team like the Army marches on its stomach!). Biscuit would not let go off me when I landed with him at Mathew’s place, he didn’t want to settle for Mathew’s wife. The combined begging by the two son’s of Mathew, his grandmother and Chikku (Mathew’s newly acquired pup of indeterminate age and Biku’s sparring partner otherwise) could not get him off me. I can’t say I didn’t feel good in my heart of hearts. I got down with him and before he could realize sped off leaving him with Mathew’s wife (I felt like I did when I dropped my daughter off at her playschool in her initial week). I later confirmed that he has settled and has not refused food (he is on liquid diet in protest, only milk). I am sure we will make up on our evening walk. I don’t know how ladies work in office after leaving their kids behind in crèche? We should all be allowed to work from home! I even thought of giving my morning jog a miss, what would my wife say if she comes to know? But considering that this separation is likely to be longer, I let my logical brain take over from my emotional heart.
I trudged off for the run at 05:50AM desultorily. Star spangled sky despite being at its starry best could not lift my heart. I also started thinking why I have become fanatical about this 30K routine. Deep down, it has become my 3 hours of communion with me and a reassurance that all is well. Today, I could not be bothered about timing, even though a very slow run could eat into my office time (not to forget breakfast and lunch to be managed at home before leaving for office). Today I was running slowly but there were no aches or pains. I did not take my usual biological break at KM3 (today my first bio-break was at KM 13). Yesterday I had found Simon (Carnatic musician of our own Railway workshop) talking his morning walk with another gentleman. I had given him an unsolicited advice to not spoil his communion with nature by gossiping and that this would make his music suffer also! Today he gave me a cheery wave, he was alone and expected praise for obedience. After crossing me I could hear him having burst out into a song. ALL IS WELL!
Anup seemed to have just vanished after having accompanied on run on the Republic Day. Hope it’s only the call of duty. Kalappa waved to me from his latest station just off highway across the temple (I had met him one day, leading a sheep, when I was returning from my run. He was pleased to know that I remembered his name) His, yet to be befriended, dog was not to be seen. I did the lonely straight stretch from KM7 to 9 in a hurry to beat the sun to the sunrise point. I have stopped calling Raghavendra so that he does not feel compelled to join before he is fully recovered. I was pleasantly surprised to find Shaheed and his younger brother outside the masjid, they were donning their customary cap and indicated that they had just finished their morning prayers. I took a snap of them on my mobile to humour his younger brother. I told Shaheed that he can join me in the run after Raghavendra gets fit.
I had beaten the sun comfortably to the sunrise point; I then stood on the culvert for a few minutes to give a conquering look in the general direction of the sunrise. A bunch of field hands used to wave me every day. Today they crossed me at KM 7. I found them, rising from their work, and pointing to me and talking agitatedly among themselves, they had recognized me. I asked them if I could take their picture and they obliged. While I was engaged in PR, Sun has sneaked in on me. I waited for it to catch its breath and took a snap of the sunrise. As I crossed the road and eased into a run again, an old man who was walking told me to run easy after hearing that I was coming from Hubli and I plan to hit KM15. One more potential friend (I am becoming a serious competition to the Rajesh Khanna character in Anand looking for his Murari Lal)! I resisted temptation to start picking cotton on my outward run, the snowy white balls clinging to grass or anything else they can hang on to, pleaded to be rescued from the gusts of wind and dust released by speeding trucks on the highway. I will see what I can do on my return. I reached the half way mark; this part of the run had taken me one hour and 40 minutes (I can hear Pani Sir shaking his head). I needed to make up on my way back if Railway finances had to have any hope of being looked after today. I took a few snaps and my first water break (now are you pleased Pani, Sir!). I have been secretly trying to postpone my first break till the half way mark. Return journey, however, will need more breaks surely!
I tried to combine sipping water, walking and picking a few cotton bolls. This picking stranded cotton is addictive (like peanuts) the first one gets you going and then you can’t stop! I set into my return jog. Two HR registration (Northern state of Haryana) trucks were standing near the canal and the young drivers seemed eager to talk (Can you refuse two Murari Lal’s in one go?) They were mighty pleased when I told them that our neighbor when we were in Jaipur was a Haryanvi family. It set me thinking, can these drivers who drive across the length and breadth of country be not used as extension workers for spreading good social messages. While they could take back good practice of treating the girl child better, they could pass on their hard working traits to their southern brethren. Each village could have homes where they could rest and intermingle. Is our Culture ministry listening?
I increased the stops for cotton picking near my friend Mohan’s field hoping to see him and get a feedback on Ginning and Pressing factory in Hubli. No luck today too, I have not been able to see him after my meeting him a few days back. The climb of KM13-12 was tiring today, the Sun taking it out on my back. I took a snap of the ‘Aavarum Poo’ plant in full glory before taking my second bio-break at the KM11 (sunrise point). I resisted drinking a few sips of water. The children had finished their Arabic classes and there were no greeting cheers today when I breasted KM 10. The commotion at the community water point between KM9-8 was busy as usual. I stopped before KM 8 to take a snap of the chilli field, the reds having almost taken over the greens. Rest of the run was punctuated by stops ostensibly for picking cotton (or was I tired, the Sun was not helping, he didn’t like being beaten to the sunrise point today also!).
After KM 3 where the road to Sanskar school branches off I could 3 youngsters waiting to talk to me. Anuj (of ‘Go Uncle’ fame) agitatedly asked me my full name, he was unhappy that he could not locate me on Facebook the last whole week. He should be able to find me today. Let me try and surprise him by locating him and sending him a friend request before he gets back from school. I took a snap of Anuj with his three classmates.
I normally feel like commenting on the people training at the Gym’s I cross at KM 3-2, but, by the time I reach this part of the run, the blog looks so long that it gets edited. Today let me get it out. The people on treadmill looking out from glass walls from first floor of the Gym look like headless chickens flaying their legs. I feel good to be on the road, despite the traffic.
I finished the run in 3 hours and 20 minutes today. Let’s see if I can post day-12!!!