There is this person in my office that comes every day to the room and checks if the phones are working. He wipes each phone and checks if they are working. He looks very young and goes about his work with a smile on his face. I was surprised when he informed me that he is to retire in six months. Railways largely have legacy systems and a major portion of the work force is engaged in repetitive and mundane activities day in and day out. I was thinking about them and what keeps them enthusiastic in their job. I had to look no further than my Biscuit (my six year old Labrador for those of you who haven’t been introduced to him!) jumping out with enthusiasm for his morning walk at 3 AM today. I felt guilty about complaining some days about the same old route and imagining aches and pains to bunk my run. So, after a bunk without reason the previous day, I was at the start line at 4:21 AM today.
I am guilty of over reporting on the Diva showroom which sells women’s wear while not commenting on the Tailorman outlet further down the College road. Since the controversy between the ‘Suit’ and the ‘Muffler’ became topical, I have been meaning to write about the peaceful co-existence of the suited booted mannequin with the guard sleeping at its foot wrapped in his bed sheet. Today the guard was missing, I feared if the muffler has fled after coming to know the real price of the Suit!
My strip tease point is next to a Petrol pump where the attendant shares his floor space and more importantly the bed sheet with his canine friend. Today owing to the rising temperature presumably, the man was seen separated from his best friend who was sleeping farther away on the cold flooring.
I crossed a van with a cargo of cooped up chicken. They were either asleep or resigned to their fate snuggled together. The driver was away answering nature’s call probably and I was tempted to let them free, only I wasn’t sure, if they had the wings and the will intact to fly even if released.
I reached the Light house at 5:01 AM. No sign of the good Doctor and I started a slow run on the way to Napier bridge. I found a healthy cow (black and white patched, must be new to this part!) and she virtually finished of the banana peels (four, two of yesterday’s) and licking my fingers for a good measure. Her friend who came a close second did not get any consolation prize. I was lucky to be spared my fingers and the plastic cover (for recycling!).
The Dogs were faithfully following the guy on the tricycle with his precious load of food. Lady Kindella was being virtually presented a guard of honour by her admiring charges. Today a murder of crows had joined the festivities and I presume all must be well with their admirer and friend the original ‘Common Man’ who must now be plying his trade among the celestials!
There is a small pup who is generally found sleeping on the Sivananda salai though not exactly in the middle of the road, I try to shoo him away for his own safety, but, his Kejrewalian instincts and stubbornness prevail and he is back there every day and every loop. Wonder if he is aware of the free food available near the labour statue!
The children were getting ready for their skating and doing gentle stretches. The army men were perfunctory in their trade mark salute, guess its reserved for the good Doctor. The army guard near the start of the flag staff road was briefing the new policeman about yours truly’s madness. I completed the second loop near the Napier bridge at 6:01 AM. I took my usual biological break near the Neem tree at the bank of Cooum river. Even all the goodness of the Neem could not withstand the stench of the river Cooum and my offerings and the withering leaves presented a sorry sight!
I reached the Light house at 6:19 AM. All the usual friends had been greeted and waved. Yesudas and his wife were conspicuous by their absence. During my second loop to Napier bridge two events of import happened, one was I met the Chennai express and the bigger one was I found a person (looked like a policeman in plain clothes by his bearing) beating a person (the cracking sound of the slap on the neck and back of the head was sickening and the fact that it was happening not far from under the nose of the Gandhi statue was ironical to say the least. My attempt to intercede on behalf of the victim was brushed aside by the aggressor. Two passersby supported the policeman, the crime the person was charged with was misbehaving with ladies. Taking law into own hands by the constabulary and use of disproportionate force did not seem to be an issue with the gentle Chennai crowd. I felt like a dharnebaaz, but, felt good for having tried! Came back to read in today’s newspaper about how children who were caught travelling ticketless were punished by the Railway Protection Force. I think our conscience only bleeds when our people are assaulted by foreigners, home grown violent disciplining does not seem to be frowned upon.
Met Sundar near the intersection where the road from Amma’s residence meets Cathedral road. There on we ran together, even if at the two opposite sides of the road, he stopping a while for me to catch up when I got caught in the Gemini signal. We reached my colony gates together at 7:29 AM. Looking forward to long runs over the weekend!