You will have to be patient if you have to get the significance of the title of today’s rant. I did not run today! Many of you who do not understand the code among runners would say Blah, but, to even a novice runner not running on Sunday is as sacrilegious as a devout Christian not attending a Mass! It helped that my wife was up at 3 AM and played the devil’s advocate to my inner voice and vetoed my plans of a run today. Biscuit the innocent bystander paid for it by his morning walk getting rescheduled to 7 AM. Now after both of us (Biscuit and me!) having slept around and having had our fill of sleep (not him, he is still at it next to me on the floor!), I decided to make amends by writing about the last two days run. In our religion, where running is God, if you cannot run, you write or talk about it!
I know I have all of you thoroughly confused and eagerly waiting for explanations. Why was the good wife who believes nothing like a good eight hours is bed for the glowing complexion up at 3 AM on a Sunday? She is doing some ritual which by our eating some delicacies would increase my life span (Savitri Nombu, the South Indian brand of the famous North Indian Kava Chouth!). My lecture for the day was about the patriarchal mindset behind such festival and rituals. I challenged her to tell me one festival which is for long life of a woman and involves the good husbands fasting! I wanted it to bite as we are fresh from a debate on wearing of Mangalsutra (I wouldn’t tell you which side of the debate I was as I don’t want some fringe element celebrating Diwali outside my house for hurting Hindu sentiments!). That she did this solely unassisted by a MIL (she is safely across the seas) or the husband is the greatest irony. This absolutely the last stage when the oppressed become an instrument of their own oppression!
I think I should stick to writing about my running and not get into serious stuff! That I ran on Friday was to be expected, who would be foolhardy to brave the fears of what Friday the 13th could throw at you without a swig of my favourite drink, the Endorphins.
That I was late for my run was evident from the bustling Saravana Bhawan and the Coffee house next door. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lady runner coming from the opposite side quickly followed by many more runners. I quickly checked the time, but, it was not so much the lateness of my run, but, the long run of some running group of Chennai maybe! The run was otherwise a normal 32K effort of a weekday and the result of my taking it easy meant a 3 hour 13 minute outing.
Now, the run on the 14th was to be special, I make it a point to do a full marathon on my birthday to be followed by blood donation. I was lucky with this one turning out to be a weekend. Gerald had sounded me the previous day if he could join me at Lighthouse. I left at 4:17 AM and Biscuit, if he thought there was anything special about the day, did not show it in his behavior during the morning walk or his bidding me farewell at the door.
Once you are on the other side of the half century mark, birthday’s have a way of making you conscious of your age. I dread and brace myself at the number of people who would remind me of the year gone by. The fully dressed employee in his three piece wished me and I felt like telling him of the birthday. It was interesting the Suit wishing me in my near birthday suite attire!
It was not as if there were more couples out on their bikes, the young girl clinging to her partner seemed to exacerbate my age. This year my inward response was, I told myself, ‘Buddha…’! I find the male variety of the night riders giving out cat calls more as their refusal to sweat it out with me and the females giggling a sign of their discomfort at my bare top (I must work harder to exude Gandhi than Salman!).
Gerald was limbering up at the Lighthouse and the clock chimed five times as I reached, making him to comment that the Hubli Passenger was on time! He had planned to run with me up to the Napier bridge as he had to run with his group who were doing a 10x10 challenge. I immediately spotted a black cow and I was just in time as she was about to make a meal of a plastic bad which had some food inside it. She was angry at me for taking it away from her and the two banana peels must have been a small compensation for her.
Gerald and I ran at a steady pace and kept up the conversation going. Lady Kindella was at her post supervising the dogs making merry in her land of plenty. I He got to see Jesudas and his wife near the Labour statue. Soon we reached Napier bridge (not before he was given the thrill of running in the middle of the road!) and he decided, he wanted to join me in my first of the three loops I planned for the day. I could not get him to meet any of the regulars as they come alive by my second loop. We parted near the War memorial after the mandatory selfie!
I had a bad incident opposite the Flag staff house, one of a pair of youngsters hailed me. I don’t know if I am getting touchy about how I am addressed due to the age card I now feel I am entitled to, I walked up to them, and after getting his age and lecturing him that he was younger to my daughter walked off without answering any of his queries about my gear or running. I told him that I did not like the way he hailed me and refuse to talk to him any further. I think the loss was mutual, would make it up with them if and when I meet them next! My ego was assuaged when a group of children running from the opposite direction on Sivanda Salai while I was on my third loop cheered me and got cheered. A few of them later met me on the Beach road and we exchanged a high five!
People who have been following my running write ups know that I exploit my office staff for my running adventure. My Hubli Jeeves has crewed for me on his bike on my 100th marathon. It was a pleasant moment for me when i found my present Personal Assistant running from the opposite direction, his face wreathed in smile!
The seekers of alms on the beach road are a varied lot. I have slowly introduced them one by one to the readers. I have talked earlier about the distinguished looking old man who is normally reading a religious text outside the Perumal temple. Only sign that he is in the business of receiving alms is the towel spread in front of him having a few coins neatly arranged. Today, his upper garment was off and I could see his religious thread on his sweat drenched back. Our relation is quite platonic, he does not expect any commercial gains from me. He blessed me with a ‘Radhe Krishna’ and a ‘Deergh Ayushman Bhava’ in the two times our eyes met during my three loops between Lighthouse and Napier bridge. I felt like stopping and telling him that its my birthday and seek his blessings did cross my mind, I did not have the courage!
It was very hot when I was in my third loop. I was thankful to the traffic policeman who stands near the Kannagi statue when he regulated the pedestrians on the footpath to make way for me. I was tempted to take a shower in the sprinklers playing Holi with the Amma’s portraits on the tree guards. I finally found courage when I say a group of kids enjoying themselves in the shower from the sprinklers. I indulged partially in wetting my CPU and the upper body. That cooled my body enough from the blazing Sun to last me till I took a drinks break outside the AVM marriage hall. The cooler was not on, so I had to do with water dispensed at room temperature. Can Beggars be Choosers?
I reached home at 8:36 AM. That gave me just enough time for a shower, a hurried breakfast before I hitched a ride with my colleague to the Railway hospital.
Donating blood at the Railway hospital is always pleasant with the attendant (a young lady for the curious!) now recognizing me as the old man who comes every quarter letting me jump the queue of waiting donors. She also remembered and reminded me that we shall meet again on June 14th! By my bunking the run today, I have proved that I am not macho enough as the boxer, Vijendra Singh who claimed that you go Boxing after donating blood!