Monday, 2 March 2015

Passion jostled with Rage today

Was up a full half an hour before the scheduled alarm was to go off on the mobile. I was reminded of the queue outside the Mess before breakfast bell on the day after a non popular dinner menu. I was seriously starved of running over the weekend, had to bunk for Biscuit’s day out at the Vet’s on Saturday and a curtailed run on Sunday to attend the Chennai Runner’s Anniversary event at DLF Garden City.
Despite being on medicines which make him sleepy, Biscuit was up as soon as I got up and stayed around (dozing next to where I sat spinning for sometime though!) till the time I left for the run. Started at 4:11 AM, did fool around on facebook for some time!
HSBC bank was well lighted and doors open signaling that it had nothing to hide and was not afraid of the penal provisions on Black money! The tea stalls were still shut though the municipal sweepers were out in full strength clearing the sins of the populace and bearing the brunt of the Swatch Bharat campaign ungrudgingly. It is sad to see the amount of waste we generate without a care for the people to clean up. Unless this attitude changes, any amount of drives for cleanliness may not have the desired effect!
Though my preferred energy food before the run is banana of Robusta variety, I treated myself to two bananas of the exotic Yellaki Balhe Hannu of Nanjangud variety which my colleague had given during my visit this time to Mysore. Truly, good things come in small packets, the taste of this variety is divine! Why I mention this is to record how rigid the cows are bout not over-eating. I tried my luck with an overweight and visibly pregnant cow who was peacefully chewing cud. She refused the sweet dish. The honour went to another cow which was still into its main course of breakfast. She consumed the offering with relish.
The dogs were a bit unruly at their feeding session, but, things seemed to be well in control with Lady Kindella supervising operations ably assisted by her man friday!
The Sivananda road was strewn with lots of pebbles today and despite the street lights glowing to their full glory, I had to run with utmost concentration of a trained ballet dancer to avoid sole fry! I remembered the discussions Dr. Faizal and his good wife were having with me on the subject when we were returning from the Chennai Runners Anniversary event on Sunday last. An army man in his fatigues (minus the cap and shirt not tucked in, looked like Gabbar!) inquired multiple times about the absent Doctor! Sounded like the oft repeated refrain from the movie ‘Holi kab hai?’ Word must have passed around quickly as the men following dutifully wished me with their trade mark stiffening of the arms and back and a firm ‘Jai Hind’.
The incident leading to the title today happened near the slum (where kids have become my friend!), when I crossed a boy of indeterminate age (more a overgrown boy than a young man!). He was mumbling to himself as he washed his face from the water pouch he was carrying. I wished him with a wave of hand as I normally do. I initially thought he was going to splash water on me from his water pouch, frankly I would have welcomed it! But, he suddenly without warning threw the water pouch at me which hit me on the back of my neck. It was more a shock rather than the pain of the act which hurt me. I stopped to remonstrate with him, but, I could not understand his anger and why at me? I think these must also be accepted as I do the cheers from the young friends from his neighbourhood! An old man who was watching all this summed it up saying the boy is a brat!
The orderly outside the flag staff house was polishing the brass diligently. He returned my wish without turning back to look at me while continuing to polish away. I guess the Price of Probity in eternal Polish!
I met the Doctor coming from the opposite direction while I was coming back towards the Gandhi statue after completing the second loop. I stopped to wipe myself of the sweat as I waited for the signal to change to red to permit me to cross the road. The time on the mobile was 6:47 AM. I completed the run at 7:23 AM after a satisfying 3:12, 32K.

Biscuit goes to the Vet
Turned in late on Friday after going for Sundar’s daughter’s first birthday party. We were late due to the traffic and missed the cake cutting. The chief guest was grumpy and we were reminded of our daughter’s first birthday. Woke up without sufficient rest even after I had allowed myself delayed alarm time of 3 AM. Decided to go back to bed and instead use the day to take Biscuit to the Vet duly bunking the run.
It was a huge learning experience negotiating the traffic and playing Columbus with the aid of GPS on the mobile (daughter’s, and without her guidance!). Biscuit wasn’t minding the detours, he was looking out of the window and taking in the sights and sounds of the Saturday morning Chennai!
Chennai is reported (reports from pet owner friends!) to have an excellent veterinary college where pets are given state of the art treatment.  We were told that if we reach before 7 AM, the wait for one’s turn is not long. We were the first. Wife queued up for registration while Biscuit and I inspected the campus. He used the first mover advantage to claim all the trees and shrubs on the campus for his own. The staff were to arrive at 8 AM, slowly other pets arrived. While autorickshaws were the preferred mode, some came on scooters and bikes. One scooter had three people riding with a black Lab squeezed in the front. Another Lab sat on the fuel tank in front on a bike. It was like party time for Biscuit, surprisingly, there were no fights. The scene was like one outside a pediatric ward in any hospital. The parents of the pets easily mingled with each other and there was no jostling at the queue. The reception area was very spacious, well swept and mopped and smelled of disinfectant. The registration fee was a princely Rs. 30/-. I remember my Boss saying that one should be born a Dog if only for the royal treatment at the Veterinary college. There was a sign proclaiming a medicated bath for dogs at Rs. 300/- (not a bad idea for Biscuit’s birthday treat!). The medicines and consultation in the hospital is free free free! The consultation room was very spacious and each dog was seen by an intern and the case was reviewed by the Senior Doctor. All in all it was a wonderful experience. Wish we could extend such care to human beings in need!

Sharing Gyan with Chennai runners
When Ram Rajagopalan​ broached the subject of speaking to the runners at their 9th anniversary event on Sunday, my first thought was that I would have to miss my Sunday run. I am very possessive of my Sunday run and more so this weekend as the Saturday run was sacrificed for Biscuit’s outing.
I was keen to participate as that would give me a chance to meet so many runners in one place. My plan of running with different running groups so as to get introduced to the runners did not last long due to my penchant for sticking to one known route.
Compromise was struck and I was told that I would get a lift from Lighthouse at 6:25 AM and I could run before that. Dr. Faizal was to give me a lift from Lighthouse (I checked that he was not running that day due to an injury!). I left at 4:01 AM from my house. After the Amma’s birthday celebration, today the turn seemed to be of the prince in waiting from the other political heavyweight of the state. The road was wearing a festive look.
Since most of the runners in Chennai belong to Chennai runners I was expecting Marina to be free. Imagine my surprise when I saw that traffic policemen were into their drill blocking one side of the road and QMC was blaring out music and announcing for runners to collect bibs. This can only happen in Chennai, with an estimated thousand runners taken away to DLF garden city, Marina had another 300+ to give me company. Now, who needs paid events to get the company of runners? Running has really reached epidemic (for want of a better word, I don’t mean it in the negative sense!) proportions in Chennai!
I was able to log 22KM with the watch still showing only 6:14 AM. There was not enough time for another 6K to Napier Bridge and back, I put on my shirt and was strolling the stretch between Lighthouse and Gandhi statue. I was amazed the number of people who stopped to inquire as to why Hubli passenger was not running anymore and if All was Well? I had an interesting discussion with two persons who were lamenting the increased commercialization of the running events. This was after they asked me why I did not participate in the event.
Shortly thereafter Dr. Faizan came and we left for the venue. I was not able to formulate my thoughts on what to speak to such a big gathering. We had a good discussion on injuries during the ride. I was without my spectacles and somehow between us we used his smartphone and with a little help from locals we reached the venue by 7:10 AM. We saw a large number of runners finishing their 10K run. I was tempted to get down and join them in their finishing stretch.
Chennai runners is an umbrella organization with eighteen local chapters across the city having more than a thousand runners. I was amazed at the pride each chapter had and the camaraderie that existed between the various groups. The humility of the volunteers who themselves are experienced runners is the specialty of Chennai running scene.
I had an enjoyable interlude with Simba, Anil Sharma​'s black Labrador. Soon, the much awaited cake cutting was done with the tiny tots crowding out the seniors. I got the microphone and spoke about how running helped me overcome my nicotine addiction. Knowing that the group does not require any motivation for running, committed as they are, I talked to them the need for balancing running and life. I have always wondered how youngsters are able to give so much time for running! I would have preferred a question answer session to a one way lecture, all in all it was an enjoyable experience for me. Hope I did not bore the runners after their event! It was an honour to receive a memento from Ram Viswanathan​. Here’s wishing Chennai runners ‘Many more happy returns of the day’!

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