Sundar is back at least after wearing down and being worn down by a cold virus. I can understand the impotence a runner feels for having to forego running because of a tiny virus causing a running nose. Biscuit (my six year old Labrador for those who haven’t been introduced to him!), has found a cosy corner for his diurnal routine and the best part is a huge dump of sand is near at hand. Once this part is taken care, the inspection of the various fixed (read trees!) and movable (read vehicles!) assets and marking them becomes a tension free task. He went through the routine briskly. The guard (who is normally found sleeping on his chair and refuses to lie down comfortably!) was not at his seat today. The sounds of plastic containers being moved, purportedly to distribute the milk of human kindness (?) was in full swing in the background. The beat policemen were trying to keep awake while the stroboscopic lights atop the police vehicle competed with the shining finery on the mannequins outside the ‘Diva’ showroom. Shanmugam was not to be seen nor were the milk packets at the door. I sent Biscuit to get on with the second innings of his sleep while I did a 30 sec. plank exercise before leaving to the door. Sundar was early and waiting at the gate.
We left at 4:03 AM by my watch. I showed him the spot where I had met Perumal. The run was in silence. Today Hubli Passsenger, after a day’s rest, was matching the Chennai Express, recovering from a cold, step for step. The bicycle borne coffee vendor was moving from customer to customer among the many security guards in the locality. I am amazed at the number of people working as security guards in that area. Looking to their physique I can see that they would be no match for an armed robber. They must be only there to raise an alarm and call for help in case of any untoward incident. A more economical and humane alternative could be installing of CCTV cameras and monitoring the same at some central location. The owners of such establishments could come together to set up such a central facility if Police patrol is not considered sufficient. The manpower released could be gainfully employed in our PM’s ‘Make in India’ campaign.
We reached Light house at 4:43 AM. I now seem to have become a Pro at feeding a cow. The partner I drew today was a huge specimen who did not believe in watching her calories. She took the offering and the pat on the forehead which followed nonchalantly, an old man standing next to his posh car was looking at the entire episode. I was thinking, he would give me some gyan on why we should not feed stray animals and braced for it, but, he thought better of it!
The run was in darkness and we were quite swift as there was not sufficient crowd on the pavement. We have now started taking the pavement beyond the Napier bridge and almost up to the War memorial. That leaves us only a short stretch on the War memorial round about where we need to negotiate the traffic. The pavement was crowded with sleeping forms as the weather was quite hot and humid today and people had to come open air even if it meant more mosquitoes. Sundar did mention that I was going strong today, maybe, charged up after the break. Reached RBI at 5:15 AM. The return trip was even faster and we hit Light house at 5:44 AM, the entire loop was very satisfying.
Sundar kept looking for Venkatesan, I told him that his shift must have switched to night from Monday night, maybe, we would meet him at the ATM on the way back (if we are fast, or, he would catch us on his way back from duty!). Today I crossed a person carrying a plastic bag full of broken biscuits (maybe, wanting to earn blessings at a discount from the canines!). Here it took so much effort to get them cooked food and now we have another person starting all over again!
Reached RBI at 6:15 AM, I was sure that I would be home before 7:30 AM. Sundar took his usual drinks break at the shop opposite the War memorial, while I caught my breath. Today the distinguished looking beggar with the white beard was missed, his place was taken by another person. Hope all is well with him!
I usually cross a person with a weighing machine, who must be cashing in this age of instant nirvana, where walkers must be checking their weight before and after the exercise. There is another more sophisticated person who has a banner saying ‘check your fat %’, I remember @Gerald had said I would get a negative %. I only remembered the Advertisement, ‘Which shaving cream do you use (Kapil Dev’s Palmolive Ad!), where a bearded man when asked this question, turns around stroking his beard and says, ‘Who me’.
Our friend Venkatesan was out with a welcoming party right on the road outside his ATM. He first inquired about Sundar’s absence then got to praising us to his friends. He made a statement which made me very good. He said that I was almost his age and that he can bet his salary that even P T Usha (The Payyoli express, and his version of Usain Bolt!) cannot outrun me. After getting this tonic, my pace became better and rest of the run back home (including the pebble filled stretches!) was done in double quick time. Hubli Passenger took leave of the Chennai Express promising more of the same tomorrow at 7:26 AM.