The city experienced heavy rains since yesterday evening, but, Chennai express had made the intentions clear the previous day itself that it shall run to schedule today. Accordingly, Hubli Passenger (back from a day’s break, no reasons offered!) was at the gates soaking in the pitter patter of the rain right from 3:52 AM itself. Biscuit did not get his walk today as, though he does not mind the rain, in the interest of domestic peace and order, he was grounded till the rains went away. My man-friday would get to do the honours today.
The usually active road lay morose under a sheet of water. Even the usually active gentlemen of the police outside the sensitive Sri Lankan deputy high commission seemed to be taking it easy. A few stray dogs came out of the hiding to make arrangements for their rations while the rain gods had somewhat lifted the curfew. I did some exercises without exciting the suspicions of the police and right at the stroke of 4 AM, Chennai express joined the Hubli Passenger for the run.
The rain maintained a steady and nagging consistency of a Dilip Doshi bowling and we settled into an easy run. As I was feeling guilty of having ditched our fan Venkatesan (of IOB ATM fame!) yesterday, I checked with Sundar Purush if he met him yesterday. He informed me that he did not meet him yesterday. The shirt came off outside the Hotel Taj. We looked forward to meeting him outside his place of work. He was sitting outside dressed in a raincoat (including a cap!) much like the much decorated President’s guard. He met us with much gusto, we parted saying that we shall see him on his way back from work when we return from the run somewhere on the beach road.
We reached Lighthouse at 4:43 AM. We didn’t have much hopes of finding a cow to feed the two day’s ration of banana and orange peels which were bulging in my pocket and suffocating my slim mobile. Overnight rain had ensured that they had a very thin attendance today. Finally, Sundar spotted two cows standing inside the enclosure without a cover or care for the rain. My calling them from the sidelines met with their stony silence, they expected the mountain to come to the Mohammed! Without making an issue of it, I walked in to the enclosure as Androcles must have to the den of the lion, amidst Sundar’s protestations of being careful. The younger one of dark complexion was not interested in the offering and the it fell on the Senior brown beauty to do justice to the full meal, which she patiently did. I helped her clean up the plate by picking up the dropped pieces and feeding it to her. Sundar waited patiently in the rain all this while.
There was a good crowd of walkers and runners today, but, when we reached the Labour statue we found that the dogs were not there, neither was the Parle G lady there. Her assistant was searching for the dogs in the rain with precious cargo of food for them, If only the dogs had a mobile and I their number!
Finding the pavement very slippery, I moved to the edge of the road. Though the road gave a better grip, but, the pebbles there completed my misery. I persisted with running on the road till the RBI, however on the way back and thereafter, I stuck to the pavement which was easy on the soles even if it meant some sacrifice of speed. I could hear M S Amma singing from inside the Naval Officer’s mess. At first I thought I was hearing voices, but, my guess got confirmed when Sundar too mentioned it. We reached RBI at 5:17 AM (slowest run from Light house to RBI, 34 mts.).
On the way back we met Ram Rajagopalan near the War memorial. We crossed a lot of runners coming from the opposite direction, I gathered from Ram that they were from ‘Marina Minnals’, Thursday being their run day at Marina. The rain though good for running, is very harsh on the street dwellers and stray animals. Chanced upon a bunch of pups huddled one of top of the other trying to keep themselves warm. Did manage to take a picture of them. We reached Light house at 5:48 AM, good recovery!
Suddenly the rain ratcheted up pace and started pouring heavily, I could feel the sting of the drops beating against my bare body. Sundar let out a stream of Wow’s in appreciation. He received rain fall straight in his open mouth, making full use of the heavy rain, his idea of rain harvesting (he did not take his usual drinks break today!). The puppies had now warmed up and moved away, only the laziest one was sheltering himself under the bus shelter. We again met Ram at Anna square bus stand and he suggested we run the loop around the island instead of taking the loop to RBI and back. When we crossed the Palm Grove Officer’s colony gates (I have been noticing the absence of ‘O’ in the Officers for quite a few days now!). I asked Ram what does the missing ‘O’ suggest, and, before he could answer I supplied the answer, I said ‘O’ podu!
The new route was very easy on the soles and there was much less traffic too. We have hence decided to spare the run through the pavements opposite the Naval Mess onwards (anyway I haven’t been able to get the kids to run with me and it always feels that I am running through their bedrooms!) and go for the loop Ram suggested today. We met a lady coming from the opposite direction on the Mount Road, her umbrella was upturned in the wind and rain. She was laughing as she passed us. I thought it was the upturned umbrella, but, I suspect it could be my bare body! Sundar showed us the scene of his marriage and I returned the compliment when we were crossing Triplicane. That area seems to be accident prone! Ram kept explaining the various monuments we were crossing and it was quite impressive and all with little or no traffic. In fact both Sundar and I felt that we could have run one more loop, but, for the office (how nice it would have been if they declare rainy day for office as we had for schools!).
We finished the run at Lighthouse with the mandatory photo shoot with the ‘Marina Minnals’ doing their post run stretches there. The customary leg pulling of yours truly provided the snacks in the rainy weather. The return run was without any highlight except the spotting of our friend Venkatesan eagerly waiting for his reliever. We reached my colony gates at 7:28 AM. Hope the rain stays for our weekend long runs!