Sunday, 2 November 2014

The middle path

I thought Gautam Budha had settled it more than 1400 years ago that we should take the middle path. I also don’t like to upset people, so, to keep the rightists and the leftists in good humour, I suggest the middle path! On a more relevant issue of why I like to run in the middle of the road?

          When is ran on the NH-218 in Hubli, the nearer one goes to the edge of the road, there is more gravel and pebbles which is painful to negotiate when running barefoot. Also, when I run in near darkness, my guide to remaining on the road was the white line in the middle. When I run elsewhere too, I find the road near the divider easier on the bare foot. I have found that drivers behind the bigger vehicles, the much maligned trucks and Road transport buses, are the most considerate to runners. The only accident while running I had was courtesy a guy on a two wheeler! As for the oft repeated comment that the drivers could run you over, I find that it is possible even if you are on the edge of the road. I have found waving to the driver well in advance and keeping close to the centre helps, well mostly! And for the drivers who are upset/angry with life ( I can’t understand how a person could start with so much venom in oneself at as early as 4 AM in the morning!), constant working over them with a wave and a smile (my brand of Gandhigiri!) works. It takes time and sticking to one fixed route and time helps as over time people get used to you. This has been my method of winning friends in my running years, particularly, after turning barefoot!

          Hungry after abstaining for the last three days, @Sundar was at the gates at 4:05 AM, rearing to go! The steady rains earlier in the morning from 2 AM threatened to take away Biscuit’s walk, if not the run. Luckily, the rain subsided by 3:115 AM and Biscuit had his share of walk (can’t say he had had enough when I brought him back at 3:50 AM (it’s a good sign that he wants to be outdoors!). I have heard lot of fuss being made about waking up early, but, seeing the newspaper boys in Kakinada, guy segregating milk crates/pouches being already into work every day of my run, I have a feeling its only a matter of training and the ability to hit the bed early!

          I consciously kept to the middle of the road and can say with satisfaction that no driver cursed me today (well I am not so lucky every day!), the policeman (who counseled me yesterday!) was not available at his post today. Instead, a guy waiting at the bus stop found me running in the middle of the road and decided to get over with his good for the day right away. He was surprised when I told him in chaste (I thought it was!) Tamil that ‘thank you for the concern, I will be careful’.

          We reached Lighthouse at 4:49 AM, a lot slower than usual. Today’s winner of the banana peel contest was a black beauty and the bonus was that she looked visibly pregnant. In my new found enthusiasm, I fed her with my hand well in her mouth and for once I got worried like one does when the ATM machine swallows one’s card, but, presto my hand came back minus the peel. While running we look for the chime of 5/6 AM near the Vivekananda house. Today the 5 O’clock bell went when we crossed the place, the wind direction being unfavourable meant the thought for the day was lost on me (the chaste Tamil anyway stumps me most of the time!). The weather was humid and some light showers did make it nice in the later part of the loop. We crossed a person running with his partner supporting him on her scooter and did exchange a cheery hello. He met us on the second and third loop also and signed off with a chant of ‘Jai Hubli’, he must be knowing me! We reached RBI at 5:21 AM.

          My neighbor and friend of last more than 20 years @Krishnamoorthy has been threatening me that he would join me in the run some day. I was pleasantly surprised when I found him running and his wife in tow walking briskly on the beach on the way back in my first loop. Welcome to the club Kitchu! Today, being Sunday, lots of runners must be doing their long run and we had lots of exchange of encouragements. It felt almost like running in a regular event. It was getting brighter when we reached Lighthouse and the time was 5:53 AM. We met @Janardhanan and his group at the Gandhi statue.

          An interesting episode happened in our second loop, one person blocked our way and introduced himself as one Mr. Shyam. He asked us if we were training for the marathon, which we accepted, but, what he said later stumped both of us. He asked us if Sundar was my Son, Sundar didn’t hear it, I managed the situation by saying we were not related and have been running together for company. I don’t mind a fully grown Son, but, I don’t know what his parents would have to say about this!

          My friend Srinivasan (the guard at the War memorial!) was on duty today also and on spotting me, gave me a broad smile. The Traffic police was busy in his collection spree despite the steady rain. You must give it to him that he is a very conscientious man in uniform! We crossed a beaming Kichu near Anna square.  RBI in the second loop, the 21K mark, was reached at 6:25 AM.

          A young girl was ahead of us for most of the run while returning from RBI, I could see how many jeers and comments boys on bike passed when they passed her. It is shameful, and it must be tough for girls to run. I even told one guy to come and run with her for 5K and then we can see what he is made of! Sundar counseled me to not get into a verbal wrangle with such riff-raff! In the second loop Sundar stops for his drinks break. I don’t know if it happened in this loop or the third one, he came back and told me that the shop owner was asking him as to why his father (read Me!) run barefoot and if it is some religious vow! Now that’s two in a row!

We reached Lighthouse at 6:58 AM, even though not lightning fast we seem to be hitting a constant speed today. Both of us took stock of the weather ( No Sun!), our condition and decided to go for the third loop to do a full marathon. RBI was reached at 7:31 AM and on the return, We met @Venkat and his group near the start of the Napier bridge and it turned out to be a long enough break. I also got an invite for the long run next Sunday on ECR. Looks like a good idea!

Met one other office colleague, Mr. Sinha, who is a regular runner on the way from Lighthouse to home. The pockmarked road and lot of loose gravel made the return journey quite a torture. Reached home at 8:45 AM, a 4:40, FM, not bad at all!

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