The number of vendors of the concoction called Chukku kaapi set me thinking. Is it the Chennaites equivalent of Jeeves’s pick me ups? This wonder potion i am told has dry ginger, coriander, cumin seeds and pepper. With the State doing its best to keep its citizenry on a perpetual high through its chain of units vending cheap liquor. The people also get a sense of participation in building the state by contributing to the state’s finances from the taxes they pay on the liquor! This must be a more fun way than the drab spinning wheel the father of the nation wanted to give each of its citizenry!
No wonder the Chukku kaapi sells like hot cakes in the wee hours bringing solace to tormented hung over souls. Add to that the huge population of guards in each nook and cranny, trust me, chukka kaapi is the business to be in!
I have all along felt that running a fixed route and making friends with the permanent establishment of humans, canines and bovines is the best security for a solo ultra runner. Not only does it ensure steady supply of Vitamin C, it is also permanent aid stations in case of any emergency!
Biscuit surprised Shanmugam in the lift when he left for his morning walk. He had a leisurely nose reading session of the entire colony, I think he is able to reconstruct the entire activity since his previous inspection of the grounds. Any loss of sovereignty is remedied by urinating and sealing it with deposit of dirt on top to obliterate any foreign take over attempts. He was secure in the fact that Sundar Purush had taken a day off (reasons, if not confidential, shall be shared tomorrow!) and his master could be flexible in starting Hubli passenger today.
Hubli Passenger left at 4:10 AM to a slightly humid and promise of likely rain. I did say a silent prayer when I crossed the Regional Metrological station on College road seeking rain! One of the ATM guards (also of IOB), maybe not as conscientious as our friend Venky, had thrown all caution to wind and was sleeping covered with a sheet. Absence of Sundar was noted by guards outside the Hotel Taj, he has lot of explanation to do when he runs tomorrow. Balu (lonely walker on the bridge who is now on talking terms exchanged a cheery hello ( I address people by name at lest initially to memorise and seal friendship!). The smartly dressed couple were walking the bridge fully awake and chattering away to glory, they look a happy couple (must get their name for the reader’s G.K!). Venky’s counterpart gave a desultory wave at being called attention to by clapping of hands while passing his ATM, clearly he was no Venky and was in no mood for socialization after a night duty!
Another runner dressed in regular pant, shirts and slippers kept on with me and we were competing with each other. A person sitting at the bus stand commented at your’s truly that ‘I don’t know why this old man runs every day’. I told him that I shall tell him one day was met with much laughter from his companions (I am sure he wasn’t expecting me to understand the language!). My competing runner made a comment that why people don’t know the benefits of running.
I reached Lighthouse at 4:52 AM, the pacer who I worsted near the turning on beach road helped get a decent speed. I was confronted by a smiling person at Gandhi statue asking me what I think of Vitamin I, now this was beyond my rudimentary medical knowledge. The person introduced himself as Ramesh Raghavan and that he was a follower of my blog and his suggestion was Vitamin I should be added for Inspiration.
I have observed this with the cows that the ones who have taken enough in and are chewing the cud do not care for my offering and I should look for ones who are still grazing. Promptly I found one fair and healthy specimen to receive my meager offering of only two banana peels today.
A few people asked me about my absent Son ( I have now stopped correcting them and have accepted the promotion of being Sundar’s father!). Today the pavement was crowded ( I think most people take Monday off after a Sunday long run/walk!).
The Parle G lady was in all whites today and was busy umpiring between two warring canines, not that she would have wanted any human company at this early hour. I really appreciate her taste in choosing her company!
Having learnt my lesson in keeping country over religion, today I greeted all runners with a crisp Jai Hind. While most took to it and came up with a enthusiastic encore, some gave me a surprised look as if I had cracked their unit’s password. My Sikh friend was conspicuous by his absence today. I completed the two loops in one go and then ran back to light house. Arrived at 6:15 AM.
Today, I was despairing that I may not see my friend Parthiban whom I had promised to introduce. He walks with an exaggerated swing of his hands, the face contorted and head bobbing. I had taken few days smiling at him to soften him before seeking the style of his walk/run. I thought this must be the South Indian version of the Madam @Nargis Chi walking! If it was, he was not aware of it and claimed that it was his own invention and was combined with Stomach crunches for best results.
Met two ladies in Chennai runner’s colors at the Napier bridge, we greeted each other, but, was not able to recognize them. Talking of Napier bridge, the Neem tree next to the Police post to me is a symbol of fighting spirit. It seems to be ceaselessly fighting a losing battle against the stinking Cooum giving some hope for the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.
The loop was finished at Light house at 6:53 AM. On the way back, was stopped by a motor cyclist (his name he said is Kebiraj!), who is a Karate trainer at Anna Nagar and comes to Nungambakkam twice a week. He asked the usual questions on running in the middle of the road and running barefoot. Reached home at 7:35 AM.