The previous weekend was very productive in that I could run a full marathon in 4:16 and 4:22 respectively. On Monday I ran a 3:22, 32K. All the runs were solo and done at my own pace without any competition. The incidents which stand out of these runs;
The pavement dweller calling out from inside the protection of his sheet for the time on Saturday. I dutifully replied about 4:30 AM. He went back to sleep turning to the other side as if it was still not time for ‘Ache Din’.
The children who have been in mocking phase on the Mount road leading to the Flag staff road (the incident when they gathered around me on Bhogi Pongal when there were gangs going around beating pots pans and drums and these kids were pulling my leg is still fresh!) cheered me and the leader addressed me as Thalai- Did you have food? I know it was their way of respecting my persistence. I must work towards getting the title, Talaiva (I know they call Rajnikant that and that would be the day!).
The policeman at the foot of the Napier bridge was directing operations under the Neem tree on the banks of Cooum of burning leaves. (I had earlier made his acquaintance while crossing his patrol vehicle thrice in the Island ground loops!) I stopped him and explained the dangers of Carbon emission and carcinogens from burning plastic waste, he immediately asked the hanger on to put out the fire. I try and dissuade burning of garbage wherever I get a chance to.
Monday run was after a lot of mental battle between the inner voice asking me to take a break and the daunting thought of next two days of no run due to the late hour of the train arrival at Mysore and on return at Chennai the next day would not permit me a run was enough to force me to go for a run. While there was nothing noteworthy during the run on Monday, encounter with the smiling guard outside US embassy in the evening when returning on foot from the British council (he recognized me from my morning runs!) made my day.
Biscuit for hungry for his morning walk as was I for my morning run after two day’s break. He took his time over his walk and consequently I could start only at 4:14 AM. A group of cyclists crossed me on the Nungambakkam high road (that is after my strip tease point!) commenting among themselves that this old man runs every day. This had started happening to me in Hubli when people started updating each other on my running madness without referring to me, I lost out on getting introduced to lot of friends due to that. I would stop these guys and talk to them the next time.
Doctor was encountered after the Queen Mary’s college and we ran together after the customary hello! Rest of our run together was without a word exchanged between the two of us. We now seem to understand each other perfectly and no words are required to be exchanged. I did not stop to lure the distant cows sitting and chewing their cud fearing rejection of my offering. Luckily, a cow came from the opposite direction and took the offering on the run without requiring me to break my run for long.
The pup (of the Kejriwal type!) was missing from its post on the Sivananda Salai. The skaters was conspicuous by their absence today. The Doctor took care of responding to the guard of honour presented by the Army runners who crossed us. An MTC (Metropolitan Transport Corporation) bus driver waited at the U turn for me to cross on the busy Anna Salai and gave me a smile and waved me on. I was happy that my Gandhigiri was finally bearing fruit (the MTC drivers are considered rash drivers!) Still there are drivers who curse me and get me worked up causing me to wave my fists at them. It’s a slow process controlling one’s temper and winning over drivers on the road!
A guy in a saffron dhoti with a bare top sanctioned by faith usually meets this bare top and normally has a condescending look of faith looking down on passion. Today he greeted me and I reciprocated. While I try to project Gandhi in my bare top, I think some people get to see Salman and refrain from meeting me in the eye. I shall strive on till Gandhi quells the Salman in me!
Most of the beggars have got to greeting terms with me and do not expect any alms from me. I am contemplating presenting each one of them a shirt of Khadi by next Gandhi Jayanthi. Returned home at 7:27 AM.