Since the news of massacre of school kids in Peshawar was streamed in the office, a numbness followed by a sinking feeling persisted the whole day. Sheer helplessness and the emotional turmoil played havoc through the night. The premature return to running after the injury had left me limping the whole day and this meant a possibility of missing the run. While wife’s objections were easily overruled, the powerful combination of the Doctor brother and lawyer daughter put paid to any hopes of a run yesterday. Biscuit continuing to refuse food added to the gloom.
I know no drug to numb the sadness than a good long run and with that denied, I turned to my guru the Mahatma. I thought about what he would have asked the people to do. I decided to have a longer session of spinning. I instantly decided to observe a day of fasting. The posts by friends on facebook particularly the one by Kalpana Rao did have a cathartic effect. The sight of schoolkids in uniform whom I usually cross every day caused fresh bouts of tightness in the chest. I thought about how I could respond to this atrocity. Clearly there seemed no clear answers. My thoughts took me to Kailash Satyarthi’s acceptance speech where he pleaded strongly for restoring childhood to all children. By end of the day I resolved to practice non-cooperation with any establishment which uses child labour.
A phone call in the evening from dear friend Milind Soman inviting me to join him for a run next day was the first good news which lifted my spirits, 5 AM at Light house it was to be! Daughter wanted to join me for the run, but, I did not have the heart to wake her when I started for the run.
I had a decent spinning session. Biscuit was energetic despite his dieting the last few days. The mannequins were standing tall in shimmering dresses, to me they appeared as Bamiyan statutes, challenging the environment of intolerance. Police picket nearby was probably to make sure that the demands of good governance do not clash with Christmas festivities.
We had decided to start at 4:15 AM, my plan was to reach Lighthouse before 5 AM. Sundar Purush was not told of the VIP company to expect at Lighthouse and I wanted to surprise him in person, but, he messaged that he would not be able to join due to a late night.
I started at 4:14 AM, but, my right thigh was not co-operating even though the sole was better and I had it plastered for added protection. I was not sure how long the plaster would hold. It was good I had started early as my run was slow and laboured, but, I hoped that it would get better with time. Did not meet any of the runners till I reached Light house at 4:57 AM, well, the Hubli Passenger was in time to receive the Mumbai Rajdhani (read Milind Soman!). He told me that the ETA was 5:03 AM, and I decided to get over with the job of feeding the cow.
Ramu (the white one with black spots!) was dozing but awake to offer of food while Shyamu (the fully dark one) was in deep sleep. Ramu enthusiastically gobbled up Multi grain chappati (Biscuit’s left over, our left over is called the doggie pack, what do we call Dog’s left over?). It refused to eat the banana peel. Must mention here, we are trying to set up a vermin-composting unit at home for generating fertilizer for the roof garden planned ( TN administration has a handy self help kit and the neighbor and our house are planning a start this weekend, so wish us Thomas Bobby Philip!). So, the Banana peels and other cow refuse shall be the inputs to the Compost bin!
After a bit of hide and seek, Milind and I spotted each other. His effort at joining the group doing stretching near Lighthouse had the group tongue tied, he must visit us Chennaiites more frequently. Can’t blame the runners, It is not every day that celebrities give us a surprise visit at five in the morning!
We took leave of the group promising to join them for warm down after our 10K loop at 6:30 AM. I suggested our regular 10K loop from Lighthouse and back and he readily accepted. He is in town for finalizing the route for the Pinkathon run at Chennai likely to be held on 15th Feb. He found the walking pavement a bit slippery (I too did initially, and am now quite comfortable on it!) and switched to the road. I needed this run with him to reestablish faith in barefoot running. He fully agreed with me that most injuries during running are due to bad technique or lapse in concentration and not because of lack of shoes.
Most of the discussion was centred on the massacre of school kids in Pakistan. There was a general sense of helplessness over the course of action as repeated cycles of violence and counter violence was only making the whole thing sordid. Hearts really went out to the grieving families. I came to know during the run that Milind is a Railwayman and was appointed to represent Western Railway. Being from Western Railway myself found another bond with this humble barefoot runner who is really using his star status to serve social causes.
We had a good run even though I may have slowed him down due to my limp. We did not meet any army men today on our run. On the way back he took off and I had a tough time chasing him down and Hubli Passenger came a poor second at 6:08 AM (we must have started at 5:05 AM from Lighthouse). Then we had lot of photo shoots with the star. I took leave at 6:24 AM after he assured me that he would find his host for his trip back to the hotel. The return trip was done at a slow pace without exerting too much, but, I was back at my colony gates at 7:02 AM.
Wife and daughter were eager to hear all about the run, Milind is sure to get one participant in my daughter for the Pinkathon (he has promised an autographed photo of his with her!). She may also get some of her friends to join. Chennai would surely beat the Mumbai record where 10,000 women are said to have participated in the Pinkathon this last Sunday. Come on Chennai, show Mumbai what we are made of! I must rest tomorrow if I must do justice to the Mera TerahRRRun on Saturday, but, I hope my wife does not hold me to this. I could still run if I feel better tomorrow morning, fingers and toes crossed!