After a weekday 30+K yesterday, I was feeling good about Chennai for a change, maybe, I could get to my normal appetite of a Marathon a day by suitably preponing the start! Today again Biscuit refused to get up with me and I had to do an Ekla Chalo on my spinning wheel. Normally, Sundar Purush messages me before starting for the run, today there was no message till 3:50 AM! I messaged him in panic and not receiving a reply, thought for a moment to go back to bed (I thought he had not recovered from the week day 30+K followed by a full day at office!). Finally however, I mustered courage to go it alone (it was clear sky today and I could get help with directions!). To my surprise, Sundar was at the colony gates pacing while looking at his watch like an expectant father outside the delivery room. It was my mistake after all, we had agreed the previous day to meet at the colony gates at 4 AM today, anyway, all’s well that ends in a long run with a friend who is willing to drop pace to match yours.
It was the usual humid Chennai morning and drier road which greeted us. I had to take my shirt off within a KM into our run. Our prayers about unplayable weather were soon answered by the weather gods and a burst of rain cooled us instantly. But, the fly in the ointment was that anticipating dry weather, I had not taken a plastic cover for my mobile (talking of Mobile, mine has had a heart transplant today, having got a new battery!). We stopped at Sundar’s water break shop and got a plastic cover (for a price!) and in went the mobile and his watch).
Even though the road was a bit inhospitable today to my bare feet due to lot of pebbles (effect of persistent rain on the road, are they substandard or not properly sloped!) on the road, the usually rough road in the Poes Garden detour did not deter us from taking the diversion (lest we are seen as avoiding the route!), the guards did give us a look, but, neither tried to increase acquaintance. Today the plan was to go straight to Lighthouse and do two loops from there to RBI and back so as to avoid the Poes garden detour on the way back. We ran at a leisurely pace today, the reason for which I will share later in my narrative, and had to abort the second loop near War memorial to come back home in time for office.
Both of us having exhausted our usual topics of discussion during the run have largely fallen silent during the run truing the adage that ‘a friend is someone with whom you can be silent with’. Today my running partner shared his story of getting married to a girl of his choice. I shall spare you the details as I can assure you the plot will give any Vijay starrer a run for its money and I don’t want to spoil Sundar’s chances of having a go at the silver screen. I can only say that after knowing about their marriage, my respect for his maturity has gone up many folds (I can appreciate this, being at the receiving end of a failed episode about quarter century back!).
Today MS Amma was back in full form and lit up that stretch with her full throated invocation of Suprabhatam (It must be after all a minion’s absence yesterday after all!). Many cows were standing in a huddle near Labour statue much like a crowd of patients outside a Diabetes and Hypertension clinic. I was afraid to favour one of the ladies in the group for fear of causing a stampede (much like heroines of yesteryear used to mob Rajesh Khanna!), I targeted a cow standing a bit aloof and offered her two banana peels, she took it gracefully and allowed me to pet her on her forehead, if the others were jealous, they didn’t show it!
I passed a youngster sitting and smoking near a bus stop while I was engrossed in Sundar’s tale. Somehow his age and innocent face made me stop and go back to advice him to chuck the habit. It turns out that he is 26 years age and his affair with Lady Nicotine was less than a year old. I told him about my own addiction to the habit for over 16 years and how difficult it becomes to quit as the habit becomes older. He seemed to take it positively. I told him to run if he found time hanging on his hands! I feel like interceding with every individual with a cigarette/beedi, but, am only afraid of ridicule. What emboldened me today was a message yesterday from a runner friend who said that he has quit smoking after a year of doing it and is now enjoying his running and that he watched the movie on running where I have told my story of quitting smoking.
Before i forget, let me mention meeting Ram Rajagopalan who stopped by us in his car when we were on our way back. He told me that was i not in the wrong city, i told him i will make it the 'Right' city!
We had started at 4:08 AM from my colony gates and I finished at 7:34 AM, today the run was about 30K. As for the slow speed, blame it on Sundar’s interesting story!