Thursday, 23 April 2015

Meet Jhansi ki Rani

We have always felt emotionally manipulated by Biscuit whenever he is able to make us lock into his eyes. Yesterday’s news item reporting a study that dogs produce the motherhood harmone oxytocin (responsible for maternal bonding!) confirmed what we knew all along. We have now decided not to look him in the eye when he tries to get our attention for wheedling out some eatable from our plate. The dirtier side of this harmone was reported in another news item where cattle owners in Ghaziabad were arrested for using fake oxytocin injectibles on cows for enhancing milk production, now that should qualify as mother of all greed!
I started my run at 4:16 AM today. What dominated my thoughts during my run today was human obsession for the exterior looks be it clothing, body shapes or appearance. I was also agitated by the insensitive remarks addressed to one of the fellow runners about   her medical condition which makes her not have any hair on her head.
I realized that what attracts us in the first instance is the externality like clothing/appearance, but, if the interaction is long enough and relationship lasting persons are able to transcend these external layers and relate to the beautiful soul inside. I am always amazed by the absolute devotion in the eyes of old wizened couples for each other which cannot be explained by physical appearances.
This maturity however comes with age. I remember how I used to get petrified when barber used to extract a little more from my crowning glory under the watchful eyes of the father and I used to dread facing classmates the next time. Recently, my barber having gotten carried away while giving me a Gandhi cut and encroached on my manliness (read my moustache and frenchie!) leaving me looking like a dressed chicken. I must admit it took me a week to come to terms with my new look. Now it has been found okay and made my new approved hairstyle!
Why the thoughts of obsession with physical appearance dominated my thoughts during my run today was how runners of all appearances look beautiful when they are running with a smile. I have found running to be a great leveler of caste, creed, gender and appearances. There are only two kinds of runners, the one who enjoys his run and one who plods. The latter over time realize the joy of running and graduate to the former!
I have been writing about this lady whom I meet on the Sivananda Road and whose progress in running has been notable because of the lady’s current physical state and her determination. Today her husband stopped me for a discussion, the lady also joined us. After the usual questions about age/diet, the conversation turned to her inability to control weight even after being very frugal in eating. I told her that some people like me are lucky in being able to consume anything and still not add weight while others seem to attract weight even by seeing food. I told her to just try to enjoy the run and that the duration would gradually increase and weight would definitely come down. When one consciously tries for it, it does not happen! I also told her that she is being featured on my blog as an inspiration for running. She jogged on happily. I may not have got her name right but my wife agrees that it could be Jhansi Rani (I would call her that, anyway, for her sheer determination!). Her husband all of 70 years and sprightly praised me that he wants to run like me and I returned the compliment by saying that I would thank god if I can maintain a figure like him when I reach 70 (Join the Mutual Back Scratching Society!). I met my silent companion of yesterday coming in the opposite direction with his partner and we exchanged huge smiles.
Today Jesudas and his wife were late and I met them on the Napier bridge. On my second loop in the reverse direction I crossed Sundar Purush​ much after the Munroe statue. The police patrol vehicle occupants gave a guard of honour from their position outside the DD building.
In my return from Napier bridge to lighthouse, I had a friendly competition with a young boy who valiantly kept up for almost half a kilometer before gamely dropping back. I am sure he will come back in the coming days. While this battle of the ages was on, a young lady quietly crossed us and put in a good gap and was not showing any signs of letting up. Now, it becomes very delicate to show that you are trying to chase and beat a young woman! I quietly kept running steadily, but, with extra effort hoping against hope that she runs long enough. She started showing signs of letting up when we were almost nearing the Gandhi statue. Once I could sense her slackening, I slowed down and was very relaxed while overtaking her so that it is not seen as aggressive. She looked like a strong runner and I can look forward to more duets. It is a nice feeling competing serenely on a long run and both winning and losing give equal happiness!
I met Sundar before the Venkateswara temple and the young boy and the lady had surely increased my average pace in the first loop. Even with a relaxed break at the Napier bridge in the second loop and chatting with ‘Jhansi Rani’, I was at the Gandhi statue at 6:52 AM. All the speed running which is not in the nature of Hubli Passenger meant a tired me! I took a longish break at the AVM water point and thankfully the cooler dispensed water which was just right for my parched throat and steaming head! I got an invitation to hitch a ride by an autorickshaw driver near Sangeeth Hotel (No, not Perumal!), guess I must be looking deadbeat! I politely refused and showed him by pressing on the accelerator to show him that I have enough gas to reach on my two legs! I finished my run at 7:32 AM, a 3:16 32K!

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