Chennai express has been erratic of late. Claiming her daughter’s nightly antics, Sundar Purush rescheduled his arrival by an hour to reach Lighthouse at 5:45 AM. Hubli Passenger started from Sterling Road station at 4:04 AM to meet the Kakinada Express at the Lighthouse at 4:45 AM.
It was a humid starlit morning and I had worked up a decent sweat by the time I reached the intersection of Haddows Road and Uttamar Gandhi Salai, my usual strip tease point!, I am sure Gandhi must be smiling in his grave!
Today Balu, my friend of the flyover was conspicuous by his absence. The couple (The RK, Nargis kinda pair which walk together in their running dress) have not been coming for quite some time now, hope All is Well with them. I seemed to have woken up my friend Venky from his night dreaming. The chukka coffee vendor called out his ware a bit too loudly when he crossed me outside Saravana Bhavan, more I think to make conversation than with any hope of getting any business from me.
Reached Lighthouse at 4:44 AM by my mobile. Not finding Kakinada Express at the terminal, I took a minute off to catch my breath. At 4:45 AM, I started to slowly run towards Napier bridge with the hope of intercepting DrAvk Mohan. A visibly hurt Kakinada express met me a well before the Gandhi statue, as if the Shatabdi has been blamed for lack of punctuality. The clock opposite Gandhi statue chimed 4:45 to confirm his punctuality. After I had fed the cow, I initiated today’s Run pe charcha seeking to know the Doctor’s diet (i had obliged him with my dietary secrets the previous day, we old people are boring!). I had also been surprised by how little he ate when he had come home or dinner the other day. His Spartan diet combined with the amount of exercise he does is a medical mystery for the AMC to investigate.
He complained of late night calls and of having slept after 11:30 the previous night. He was also quite labored in his run today, I am sure the strenuous ride to find Pulicat lake in the heat must also be affecting him. I tried to hustle him so that we could be back at Lighthouse by 5:45 AM to be in time to receive the Chennai Express.
As if to disprove the Doctor’s complaint about lack of physical fitness among the uniformed men, today a large number of them were out to mark attendance with him. As usual the children of all ages ranging from six to sixteen were whirring past us on their skates to egg us on. Despite of my trying to press on the pedal, we were no match for Sundar who hungry after a day’s bunk had reached opposite the Queen Mary’s by the time we reached there. We made him turn around to retrace the path to Lighthouse with us.
The Doctor was seriously struggling and added to that his comment about having been late to office the previous day gave me the temerity to suggest that he break near Munroe statue so as to give him some time for a power nap before office. From my own experience I have realized that we become increasingly adamant with age particularly about the length of the run planned for the day. This we do all the while constantly mouthing the adage that we should listen to our body, he was one step ahead and would brook no cut in his run ration planned for the day.
Seeing the enthusiasm of us oldies, Sundar became conscious of his small portion of the run and informed us that he would run a bit faster and cover the added distance from War memorial to RBI and get back to catch us in time at Lighthouse. This set off a race between within the three trains. I wanted to not let Sundar catch me before the Gandhi statue and Dr. Mohan wanted to complete the planned run.
I reached Gandhi statue at 6:46 AM a full four minutes before Kakinada express steamed in and well before the Chennai express. Taking a quick leave of the good Doctor, I tried putting in as much distance as possible with the Chennai express. Sundar caught up with me after the Saravana Bhavan a little before the flyover. He again set off for the diversion via the Poes garden promising to catch me before I reached the colony gate.
Amidst all this chasing, I found it liberating today as I always felt that by making Sundar run with us we are seriously cramping him for his need for speed. He caught me at the strip tease point. We ran together from there till I reached the colony gates at 7:31 AM. Sundar has promised to run with a weight jacket from next time on when he plans a curtailed run. All in all an entertaining day of run today!