Mythology is rife with characters who do penance to achieve immortality. Our own new age guru Steve Jobs has famously quoted ‘Death is the single best invention of life’, I cannot agree more, as the stories of such wannabe immortals almost always turned out to be evil incarnate and the boon-givers smart play of words comes to the rescue in the end. The Hindu divinity aptly gives equal importance to creation, sustenance and finally destruction through its trinity of gods Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, My favourite of the trio has always been the maverick Shiva (I am his namesake too!).
I do not know why these morbid thoughts were uppermost in my mind when Biscuit and I walked out to a perfect English weather of the colony drenched in overnight rain, but, the drizzle was just right for an enjoyable walk. Biscuit did not linger long as he must have been afraid of wetting his coat.
I started my run at 4:37 AM, late, considering the inviting weather. The milkman was also missing in action (he is human after all!). The rough patch from Sangeeta hotel and beyond which was like the treacherous 5th day Eden garden pitch had been smoothened by the roller action of the previous day’s traffic. The wet road also was soothing to the soles. In short, there was no cause to be morbid, if you discount the slight pain in the left thigh.
Having negotiated the narrow Uttamar Gandhi salai, I eased into the spacious and sparsely trafficked Cathedral road. The thoughts restarted from where they had left off. I think the culprit must have been my cousin who rang up yesterday and said despite a block requiring surgery in his heart, he was refusing to go under the surgeon’s knife, as he had had a fulfilling life of 54 years (his benchmark being his father’s age at his death 51!). Maybe, it was none of this.
I was discussing with my wife as to how boring life had become with clothes and items of daily use like utensils having become virtually indestructible and any fresh purchase looks contrived and not borne out of need. Life would have been exciting with pure cotton clothes and mud pots dying naturally periodically ensuring fulfilling work for the weavers and potters and joy for their customers! The same strain of thought continued when I found a milk sachet cover of few days old mocking the mortality of the dried leaves around it (and even me I thought, for the plastic is likely to live more than four times over our lifespan!) when I stopped to pollute the banks of Couum. I think I got my idea to switch to mud/wooden bowls for eating for self and slowly persuade the family to switch to cooking utensils made from them. I remember the Jain sadhvis whom I had met in Hubli with one of my colleagues were carrying wooden bowls for eating. That Jain colleague is till to get me a bowl for my use!
While the rains even if very mild continued for the most part of the run, and, it made the roads sole-friendly, the beach walking pavement was wet and slippery. In fact, at least two of the regulars told me to be careful of the slippery surface. I was not enjoying the run, having to constantly be on guard and run in very small steps. I came on to the road even if it meant Mukka-Laat with a few irate vehicle drivers who though sparse were not largehearted enough to share the road with me. Every runner and cyclist I crossed today exchanged wide smiles and loud greetings. I think each one of us wanted to share the joy of being out in the rain. My schedule has been out of sync with the Chennai Express (read Sundar) as I have seen him for long and today even the Kakinada express was not to be spotted (could have been due to my delayed start!).
The continued wet weather meant that I did not require a water break and I negotiated the Saravan café from across the road (chance of a missed attendance with the parking attendant!). I however noted that the tumblers which used to be chained to the two taps were still missing (the gate keeper had informed yesterday that the chain having broken the glasses had been taken in for safe custody!). I had the pleasant experience of drinking from my cupped hands after a long time yesterday!
I reached the colony gates at 7:46 AM, a 3:09 effort, not bad at all! I found one of my colleagues walking with his wife which prompted me to offer to my wife immediately on reaching home to go for a walk. The offer sadly was refused and I had to settle for the company of Alan Shore and Denny Crane instead.