Thursday, 26 March 2015

To run or not to run was the question

            Sleep deficit and running without a break seemed to get the better of me today. The aching limbs must have chorused ‘Mauka-Mauka’! Discipline ensured I woke up at 2 AM and shut out the alarm on the mobile, but, I fell to the old trick of Morpheus and decided to take a five minute nap. Next I knew it was 3 AM! Axe first fell on spinning, however, half an hour of Facebook followed by some stretching over Green tea kept the possibility of the run alive. I was aware of the fact that (now don’t call me unpatriotic, my saying will not jinx it!) if India lost then getting through the day with no run could mean a few murders in office!
            Biscuit’s walk started at 4 AM, he showed no sense of urgency and decided to do a thorough examination of the grounds. Thankfully, stray dogs were not to be seen. They seemed to have decided to extend their sleep time declaring a holiday from office for the India match! It was 4:30 AM that we finally came back to the hut. When I sat back to complete my third course of tea after putting the milk packets in the fridge, Biscuit started sensing a ‘No run today’ declaration from me anytime. Felt bad to disappoint him and the muted but concerted effort by a little tired body. The fact that I had changed into running clothes before the walk decided it for me in the end.
            I placated my body by promising them that I would run slowly as I walked to the crease (read the starting point outside the colony gates!), time was 4:52 AM. I had messaged my wife about the late departure of Hubli Pass’r and the outer limit of return as 8:30AM so that she doesn’t call the cops!
            If I was expecting empty roads due to the match, it looked like just another day for the tea shops and sanitary workers. The water lorries and hurrying private vehicles (rushing home for match?) meant I had a crowded road to negotiate.
            On the TTK flyover a bunch of noisy youngsters on bikes passed by me. I was treated to gentle ribbing and raucous laughter from across the divider. I gave them a calm smile as I was drunk on Endorphin! The last vehicle slowed down alongside me and I got the ultimate insult from the guy on the pillion, Walkingaaa..? I should have been offended, but, it was delivered with so much sincerity that I could only manage that I could do this pace for 12 hours. I am not sure if they meant to be sarcastic, it could be a case of Tamlish for running being Walking (…as is in other regional languages too!). It would be so much fun if these kids could come for a jugalbandi some day on Beach road instead of burning father’s money and the precious fossil fuel!
            The place around Gandhi statue was fairly crowded with squatters after walk and gossipers, must be my later hour. It was already 5:35AM by the clock. Met my friend Jesudas and his wife as they were finishing their walk. I spent a few minutes unsuccessfully wooing the cows who had settled probably for the preview of the all important match. I had to wait till I reached opposite the Presidency college to find a late luncher cow who did not mind taking a break from the main course of her meal to sample the sweet dish of two plantain peels.
            The loop around island ground was done in pretty lighted condition today. I instinctively looked around for the baby tortoise at the beginning of the loop where an armyman walker and self had tried to rescue him from the middle of the road to deposit him on the mud filled divider. Arranging for his ‘Ghar Wapsi’ would have been a tall ask considering that the beach was about a kilometer off. In fact, when I mentioned this at home, both wife and daughter asked me as to why I did not bring it home. Fresh from a viewing of ‘Kung Fu Panda’, I agree we could have done with his wisdom!
            Today the army contingent in PT whites with whom I had run the last time was coming from the opposite side. They threw all their discipline and reserve to the winds for once and gave me a loud cheer. I met the two lads who had wanted me to race the Indian Army team member running from the opposite direction. They gave me a bright 100W smile! The bridge, the scene of Adam teasing was a beehive of activity and the mixed crowd of both sexes and kids meant safe passage. I got helloes from my young friends. Last, but, not the least was a pair of drunks whom crossed on the Sivananda Salai. One of them passed me muttering ‘Why does he run every day’? In another place another time, it could have sounded ‘What do you do with a problem like Maria’? I get the feeling of Big Brother watching me always!
            Met Mathematician and barefoot runner I befriended yesterday, but, he had finished his run and was walking. Another regular who normally runs in the opposite direction (man with big moustache and who had raced with me one day!) joined me at the Labour statue as I was coming back towards Light house for my first loop. We got talking and it came out that he is from Railways (RPF!). He checked my appetite and informed in return that he does 10Km every day. When I finished my second loop near Gandhi statue, it was a little shy of 7:30 AM (the clock chimed when I was exchanging waves with the policemen guarding the Commissioner’s office).

            Even though the coverage may have started, the crowds on the road was not any less. I took a longer break at the water point (the cooler was not ON today!) and socialized a bit with the guard of the parking lot and the Saravana Bhawan next door. I reached home at 8:11 AM (a 3:19, 32K!) well before the announced arrival time.

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