Sixth day on the trot and that time of the week when one is tempted to bunk, Got up at the usual hour of 2 AM in the morning and browsed around on facebook. Biscuit claimed his walk and out of habit spent an hour on the spinning wheel over hot cups of green tea. It was seven minutes past four AM when I thought of the punctual and regular DrAvk Mohan, the Kakinada express who would be pacing the Light house terminus at the appointed hour of 4:45 AM. Quickly put on my running clothes and had a late start at 4:14AM.
Sundar Purush, a.k.a Chennai Express has been uncharacteristically irregular and I did not want to put pressure so did not text him, his absence on Sunday is a mystery and was dying to find out the reason. How I had co-opted the services of the guardians of the law posted to guard the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission opposite my colony to act as a go-between between the Chennai express and me will be revealed if and when I get down to punching the weekend exploits!
A young man sticking posters was using the cover of darkness to advertise the permanence of IT by pasting this part of the city with NIIT posters, ‘Make In India’ can go and take a walk! An auto driver with his charge of a middle aged lady with lot of luggage decided to test my knowledge of local geography and I am glad to inform that I came trumps ( a cyclist who seemed a veteran waited patiently to hear my diagnosis and confirmed my prescription), my good deed done for the day, I soldiered on avoiding the pebble ridden stretch which tests my soles before they have even warmed up to the road.
The first acquaintance (Balu who operates in the morning on the flyover!) who, unlike the Parle G lady, is a morning person and believes in cheery greetings met me on flyover. Just as I came off the flyover relaxed in having negotiated the bad stretches for the time being, I was pleasantly surprised by the Chennai Express out flanking the Hubli Passenger. The mystery of the bunk on Sunday turned out to his losing the battle with the bed, but, he confessed that he had a miserable Sunday after waking up late. He was sent out by his wife on compassionate grounds today to recoup his endorphin deficiency. What started as a listless run for me caught pace and even though we did not talk much, we had a good run and before we knew we hit the Beach road.
We reached Lighthouse at 4:55AM, and no surprise, Kakinada express was stretching to conquer. The morning attendance on the beach was very sparse and looked like the case of the Monday blues! Sundar sighted the bunch of cows which had settled around and were dozing while chewing their cud. They surely could not be tempted to break their kitty party for a few banana peels. A lone cow still on his last course of the morning meal was wooed by the Chennai and Hubli duo, It looked at the mating calls and the offering in my hand and went back to grazing. The observant Doctor diagnosed the problem being that it was a bull and not a cow. I need not have bothered, few steps later in the run, my trusted friend the one horned beauty made short work of my offering and gave me a sweet smile to boot in return.
I have generally been waving to each beggar on the stretch and always fascinated by the blind beggar who sits patiently with a walking stick with a cycle bell at its end. Today he seemed to be agitated and was trying to attract attention by stretching out his hand at the sound of passing feet. Hope all is well and he is not running low on his finances!
I am thinking of joining a group of runners planning to run from Chennai to Tirupati during the extended weekend of the Republic Day. Sundar did a rain check of my preparedness and gave very practical suggestions. I only hope that the patriotic fervor does not dictate forced attendance, fingers and toes crossed! As we crossed the Vivekananda house, I sounded that today was his birthday, but, there was a muted celebration if there was one at all! Met Parle G lady after a long time as she was walking down the pavement supervising the feeding dogs, must be quite fulfilling to be given such a rousing reception by so many canine friends every morning. It’s like a 21 gun salute for her every day.
The festooned pandals of the road safety week celebrations started the previous day wore a deserted look with a few policemen manning them more out of duty than conviction. The skaters were missing, maybe, taking the weekly off. Lesser army men crossed us on our run, the Sivananda Salai stretch was shrouded in darkness making the progress difficult for my bare feet. A bad pebble strewn stretch near the speed breaker was really bad on my foot.
When we were about a kilometer off from Lighthouse, Kakinada express zoomed off without warning and finished at the terminus with a sizeable margin, The Boss showed who is the boss! We reached the Lighthouse at 5:56 AM, was telling Sundar we were at our pace, something must have gotten into the Kakinada Express today!
Chennai express and Hubli Pass’r took leave of Kakinada express as Kakinada express wanted to do a relaxed cool down run for the second loop. We reached the Gandhi statue after the second loop at 6:57 AM.
On the return trip from Lighthouse, I showed Sundar the Chilled RO water taps with chained eversilver tumblers on the walls of AVM hall. This was my hydration break on my Sunday run. The aged couple met us on the flyover, these people meet me regularly. The lady prompts the husband if he is looking elsewhere, reminding me of one of the Mobile operator Advt. which had the lady telling her husband, ‘Aapka Phone’! Reached home at 7:31 AM, a 3:17 32K, not bad for the sixth day in a row!
I do get petty at various times during the day in thought at least if not in deed. Like the Kakinada express beating the Hubli Pass’r today or more seriously many other perceived slights or triumphs. I have to stop near the Hindu crematorium on my way to the railway station every day. It is a sobering thought and a constant reminder of how ephemeral life is and to rise above the pettiness in life. More than places of worship, these would a better idea to sober people.