As is usual, I have fallen back in my narrative over the weekend. Saturday the 24th was the easiest, bunk with a very new excuse;
Biscuit woke me up at 12:30 AM on top of an already late night entertaining of a colleague and his family which went on till 10 PM. Biscuit did not take much time with his outing, but, the break did it. I could not wake up after that. Woke up at 4 AM to send a message to my runner friends of the intended bunk and slept without a care.
I observed the Mannequins outside the Diva showroom across the door and was struck by the change of attire, they had all switched to Saris from their skirts. They seem to be sending a message, Christmas or Pongal, Sari or Skirt we are the same inside. What drives the world is ‘Sabse bada rupaiah’.
Biscuit was welcomed with a more than usual enthusiasm by his Rottweiler friend Tiggy. I don’t know if it was a welcome or a crib to his parents to let him out too! Biscuit then tried to woo a lady canine who was sleeping by her partner’s side much to the anger of her partner. While she walked away from the scene, he bared his fangs to show that he was not amused. They must be thinking that the Law and Order in the city has gone to humans with couple can’t even sleep peacefully together inside a railway colony without a spoilt brat coming out to tease them in the middle of the night. I had to step in to restore peace. While we were getting back, Biscuit was invited by the street dogs on the deserted road for a shouting match who thankfully Biscuit decided to ignore, his blue blood showing up for a change!
I started the run at 4:07AM, I was not surprised, even if a bit disappointed in not finding the Chennai Express. It was to be a solo run that day. While I entered into Haddows road, a couple in a car stopped next to me and offered to drop me. They were going to the Cool Runners HM at Nandanam. I thanked them and preferred to have my full instead (I hope the police let runners be on the Marina!). Now Chennai seem to have running events on almost all weekends and people dutifully going for them at such odd hours is not uncommon. Chennai must truly be becoming the running capital of the country.
Balu my flyover friend, called me by my full name, we have this way of showing each other that we haven’t forgotten each other’s name. The police presence thickened as I neared Marina and Gandhi. I was afraid if Marina would be open for a run. I had my brush with the policeman (his name I gathered later was Murugan!) when he saw me trying to unsuccessfully woo a cow dressed in my khadi shorts. In retrospect, I could understand his reaction, but, I did not like his tone. What took my goat was the statement of another walker (dressed in a blue Jeans and a T-shirt!) who purportedly was trying to help my case was that if I were dressed normally, the policeman would not have bothered me. Both Murugan and the bystander got a lecture from me on whether Gandhi would be able to take a walk in his dress and since when khadi has become abnormal and Jeans normal. They looked suitably chastised and I felt good for having defended the good old khadi!
As I neared the Labour statue, I saw the group of dogs wandering listlessly. My first thought was whether Lady Kindella had come and was she allowed to feed her dogs? The policeman at the Labour statue did not know and I was worried because the next day would also be a day of fasting for them. This led me to think to myself that our Republic day is no longer for the public and it has become only ‘for by and of the Police’.
The Police tribe redeemed itself when the policeman at the start of the Mount road, stopped traffic for me on all three loops. But, it meant that I did not get an excuse to take a walking break. By the time I came back on Marina for completing my first loop, there were quite a few walkers and runners and I felt comfortable in my khadi.
The policemen on duty near Gandhi statue cheered me as I went passed them. I had an interesting exchange with the policeman Nagarajan, who also ran and his claim to fame was that he stood seventh in a field of one hundred and fifty trainees.
In my next loop I met two friends who stopped me in my tracks and wanted tips on losing weight. I did my bit to spread vegetarianism by asking them to stop eating Non Veg if they could help it as a first step to losing weight. He responded with a pained look ( as if I had asked him for one of his kidneys, not mine, it’s an original quote from the movie 3-Idiots!).
I came back to a cheering welcome from policemen near Gandhi statue when I finished my third loop, I felt like the balance between the common man and the constabulary was restored at the end of the day. I returned home with a slow run to complete my day’s outing at 8:23 AM, a satisfying FM in 4:16!
The Republic day run experience was not very good as I could only reach within 200m of Gandhi statue. I had a short run of about 12 kilometer from 4:27 AM to 5:45 AM. I was left to nostalgically remember my run on my very own NH-218 at Hubli on last year’s RDay!