Let me start at the very beginning. I was exulting by the time it was 4 PM on Friday secure in the thought that nothing could come in the next two hours to stand between me and my weekend of leisurely run and uninterrupted ‘Yoganidra’ (to the lay people this does not need any explanation after the overdose of Yoga we got fed from all sides this weekend!).
I may have celebrated too soon, my trusted Jeeves (my PA at office) came soon after triumphantly waving a circular asking us all Babus to get motivated to Bend it like Beckham on Sunday morning at 9 AM and happily thereafter. If you think, I was in trouble, I could imagine how deeper it was for the person from the HR who was busy organizing the event. I could commiserate with him, like the bridal mare in the marriage season up north (or the humble Vadhyar(Brahmin who performs religious rites) who become hard to find on the Amavasya day when traditional prayers are made to the dear departed) all experts of the ancient and now vibrant of Yoga were hard to find as the D-Day approached.
I had had a decent run at Friday and Saturday and bunking Sunday would not have been so catastrophic, but, to me not running on Sunday is not Kosher! I quickly back worked and worked out a fool safe routine to be on time for the session.
The day did not start well as it was 4:30AM when I started (sharp pain on my left heel keeps me in suspense till the very end). My initial run till I negotiated the newly laid stretch upto the Gemini circle was very ginger and slow. I knew I was late when I crossed many of the Marina runnerz coming in the opposite direction when I met them on Cathedral road.
To add injury to my tender soles, the Corporation of Chennai decided to play Gabbar with my Basanti by deciding to going for patch work all the way upto the TTK flyover. I have I think remarked about this earlier in my blog after my first barefoot Airtel Hyderabad Marathon attempt where the city’s potholes were given the patch treatment before the day of the run. I say, the treatment is worse than the disease, ask any barefoot runner, it is easier to negotiate a pothole or a bad patch of road than a patch fixed pothole with jelly strewn all around. Even Gabbar was more humane to Basanti than this treatment.
I crossed a military truck ( like the 3 Tonners we used to go to school when we were young) carrying young children dressed in whites for their Sunday dose of Yoga, I could not remove the image of cooped up chicks carted by truck to their salvation ( I must admit the former were not looking that morose, but, were in fact laughing and singing)
My day was made when an older gentleman walking with his wife near Lighthouse ran up to me and asked if I was the guy featured in the ToI article a few weeks back. He said he claimed to his friends that he knew me and that he has run with me (this is true!). He ended the exchange with a parting shot that he was 10 years my senior. Now, if you have been in Government (and have suffered or inflicted the tyranny of seniority!), there is no comeback for this. I gracefully told him, much to the delight of his wife and him, that I would be happy to be as fit as him when I reach his age!
I had the company of Marina Runnerz doing their long run and I crossed them many times with overt exchanges of ‘good show’ flowing both ways. I also had an exchange with one of my teenaged fans from the slum near Quaid –E-Milleth bridge. He taunted me ‘Thalaiva, you would never run at the edge of the road’ (a different way of saying the same thing as the Traffic Police!). I invited him to be in my bare-foot (a play on the original ‘being in other’s shoes’!) by literally asking him to take off his footwear and walk on the edge of the road and a few foot inside. Experience is surely a good teacher, I had a convert. Hope he educates other doubters!
When I was on the way back, just before I was concentrated on negotiating the treacherous stretch (patch worked and jelly strewn!) before the City centre, I heard my name being called from behind. I was surprised and pleased to meet PraveenComrades Giriya, who accompanied me till before the Gemini flyover. We had an interesting discussion on his experiences at Comrades this year. I also got to know the damage the trip causes to one’s pocket as I do wish to do the pilgrimage once. If I cannot find any sponsors for the trip, I shall treat myself to it from my retirement package. Wish me that I remain fit that long enough!
I got into a scrap with a hero kind of material (the ones who impress their lookers on by picking on strangers). He was riding triples and without helmet on a two wheeler and was trying to give me advice on not to run in the face of traffic. The message was well intentioned, but, the tone and intent got my goat and Gandhi’s teaching on showing the other bare sole went through the window. I confronted him and it was getting dirty. Luckily Praveen stepped in and poured oil over troubled waters. I have found and I was explaining to him that I get more short tempered as I get farther and farther into my run (physical tiredness leads to short temper, Bingo!).
I reached home at 7:41 AM giving me enough time to take a quick bath and grab a cup of Kanji (wife patented multi-grain health drink) before I went grudgingly to be part of the official arm-twisting episode (read Yoga!).
Though I went in with lot of misgivings and anger, the session was very well conducted and was a refreshing cool down stretching session for my tired limbs. I was telling my wife, it was like with young kids that they resist being fed even Gripe-water (when force fed from a Paaladai, a torture instrument which we all remember with dread!). It takes a few gulps to be force fed before the kid yields to the taste. I even feel that I could even try a few of these in the evening to counter the ill effects of the mental gymnastics we are made to perform in office during the day to be in a better frame of mind for quality family time. A flexible steel frame called bureaucracy seems to be what the country needs now!