Three days abstinence from running, something had to give today! My pain was turning out to be like the one Asit Sen complained of in the movie Anand to the Doctor played by Ramesh Deo, a shifting pain. What I would give if Anand’s cure (even if offered in jest) of shifting it out of the body from the nearest extreme could be made to work! More seriously, my wife initially happy that I have taken a break, got worried when the break stretched to the third day. She had started giving me hints of the need for a visit to a Doctor. If the subsiding pain did not do the trick, this threat from my wife had me at the door at 3:55 AM. Sundar Purush on his part was relieved that the Hubli Passenger would be back in business, the reason for it was not purely out of love and affection for me is what readers would see later in the story!
Biscuit was welcomed by his black beauty in company of two of her street side Romeos in tow. They were having a howling match. I am a man of science and don’t believe in bad omens, but, I still found this a bit unnerving. Biscuit heard them patiently and either, it was not serious enough or he did not get the local lingo, either way, we did our morning walk without being unduly alarmed. The guard at the Diva store was looking like the Krishna among the well dressed mannequins looking like Gopikas! The police outside the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission were dozing, assured that there would be no untoward incident after the fishermen were released by the Lankan Government the previous day.
We started at 4:03 AM. Sundar was very considerate in never pushing me during the entire run today. The distance was reduced to just an HM (one new loop). Sundar explained during the run that he wants me back on the run as he is finding answering my friends about my absence to be quite a job. The chief among his tormentors was my old and trusted Venkatesan( of IOB ATM fame!). Since he is on day duty, we could only sight his partner when we crossed the ATM, we would have to leave word with the partner on the way back as the reduced run would finish before the scheduled change of guard.
We reached Light house at 4:47 AM. My right leg was not complaining much, so far so good. The pavement stretch upto Anna Square Police station is normally the easier part. I had a big packet of goodies for the cow and was waiting to unload it. The cow chosen today was also quite impatient (possible hunger!). She came menacingly with her tongue out and took the entire plastic bag, instead of the proffered freshest banana peel (which I normally give for starters!). She took a chunk of vegetable peelings with a portion of the plastic cover as I looked on in horror. The cover fell from my hands. I had no option but to pick up the cover and empty it in front of her. I only hoped she would finish it cleanly, unless people charge me with littering! I put what remained of the damaged plastic cover in my pocket for carrying back any leftovers. We noted the place to be opposite the Queen Mary’s college.
The walker with an exaggerated namaskar (with hands folded with a loud clap!) was the first to welcome me back. Sundar tells me some of the of people used to look at him with searching stares as if asking, ‘Kahaan hai re doosra jodidaar’, when he ran alone! We beat the 5 AM thought for the day. The weighing scale person and the Artificial Limb beggar had set up shop early today. As we crossed the Labour statue, we looked for the Parle G lady as has become our ritual. She was there feeding her canine friends with care. She was refusing to give any of the food to a beggar who was remonstrating with her for the same, she sure knew her friends in need!
The policeman at the Napier bridge gumti being absent (even though he had left the lights on in the cabin!) and we had our usual bio-break on the banks of the Cooum (must try the urinals of the Corporation, even if they would mean a diversion!). The Naval Officer’s colony is still ‘O’less at the gates. Being a shorter run, Sundar did not take a drinks break. The loop around the Island ground was uneventful, but, the signs extolling the qualities of Army men and asking people to join them were good for the morale and the right leg knew that it had no leg to stand on to complain!
I just missed the Yesudas lookalike as we completed the loop. He missed my response to his wave. He was alone today (minus his better half!). Must get Sundar to meet him one day and confirm that the resemblance to the star singer is there!
On the return run, we met Srikumar Rangarajan and his group coming from the opposite side. Finally found a person using the weighing scales. I am told the ruling rate is Rs. 2/-. I felt good for the vendor, as I see him every day and despair that he gets no business! We finished the loop at 5:52 AM, quite a leisurely stroll we must say. Sundar, however, cautioned me against timing a recovery run.
The return trip had nothing eventful except telling Venkatesan’s colleague (he wanted us to wait for him!) that Hubli Passenger is back and that we would be back on Sunday morning. Tomorrow’s run called off to give recovery time for the Hubli passenger and more importantly help me carry out my responsibility of picking up my niece from station early in the morning! Reached home at 6:34 AM, a 2:31 outing with leg a little sore, but, not something which should not get okay with some rest!