Friday, 5 June 2015

Random ramblings

                Much water has flown down Cooum since I last wrote my Run-ki-Baat. Weather has finally taken a turn for the better with the Sun’s power-play (Kathriveyyil in the local lingo) coming to an end officially on the 29th. While the Environment minister and the Health minister of the country may be at variance on the effects of global warming on the weather, Chennai played true with heat coming down a notch promptly on the completion of the promised torture-period. While I cheated a bit on my policy of no fans/AC’s at home in deference to Biscuit’s insistence, the success at office was near complete.
                Amma’s re-incarnation
                The Hubli passenger was regular in the intervening two weeks since the last dispatch except for a two day trip to the God’s own country on official business. The first major event was Amma’s re-coronation on the 23rd. The water stations have been in place with Amma’s smiling face since the power play started. It was an experience to run through the Cathedral road in the days leading up to the big day and on the day itself. Only, the run on the D-day was curtailed and I had to take an alternative route to get back home to beat the 7 AM curfew. It was a surreal experience to run on well lit road with larger than life smiling visages of Amma smiling down at me from every lamp post on the divider. The ones where she is clapping made me feel like I was running to the beats of a one woman cheering squad.
                Puppy’s day out
                On the Cathedral road before my water stop, a black puppy came on to the middle of the road and started playing with me. After sometime when I tried to guide it back to the edge of the road, traffic started. My heart came to my mouth when I saw it running to cross the road. One taxi hit it slightly and it fell down squealing piteously. I was frozen with fear and helplessness, thankfully the vehicles went around it carefully. Just as I was standing praying for it to get better, it got up and in the gap in traffic made it to the edge of the road. I have not seen it after that day, hope it survived and all is well.
                Jo Bibi se kare hain pyaar who prestige se kaise karein inkaar
                This advertisement jingle keeps coming to me when I negotiate the ttk flyover. I got the connection recently, ttk is the company manufacturing Prestige brand of cookers and the place is very stuffy (high rise buildings on either side with not much of breeze!), much like being inside a cooker. The moment this struck me, it was a Eureka moment for me!
                Swami Sivananda Salai’s sole change
                Usually road tops get re-laid in a flurry around the last few weeks of the end of the financial year to utilize the allotments, but, Corporation of Chennai have been on an overdrive in the past few weeks. It has been torture time for my poor soles. I hate changing routes and to do so to leave out the best part the Sivananda Salai was painful. I substituted the missed stretch by running to RBI and back. As it is the distances reported by me are approximate, now more so (a pinch of salt recommended!). I keep checking up with the cyclists and other shod runners if the road was open something to the tone of ‘Ache Din Aa Gaye Kya?’ Today my soles got redeemed.
                Meet Jhansi(Jr.)
                Readers would remember the episode of the Jhansi (Sr.) who is engaged in the battle of the bulge. There is this young girl, my well wisher on the Quaid-e-Milleth bridge, whose introductory line each day has been ‘Be careful of the vehicles grandpa’. I crossed after a greeting to her, but, something which has been nagging me surfaced today. I have been noticing that both her feet are always heavily bandaged ankle downward. Today in my reverse loop, I spoke to her and her mother, it turns out that she had some infection and some part of her heels have been excised. She would be able to walk with special shoes.  Interestingly, her name also is Jhansi. May she get well soon!
                Pet’s best friend
                I don’t know her name, but, I saw her the first time with her husband and a nattily dressed Golden retriever (he is 10 years old). Initial introduction was when the dog tried to get friendly with me. In the last few weeks I have been seeing her walking alone. She told me that her pet has a bad arthritic condition and cannot walk. What she explained later truly left me in tears. The couple, not wanting to leave him behind (the dog seems to have been coming to the beach with them since it’s initial days) bring him in a vehicle and the couple take a walk one by one with the other keeping company of the dog. Today I got the medicines it has been prescribed hoping to start Biscuit on them right away (the Doctor seems to have told them that the condition is quiet common in Labs and retrievers and it helps to start them on these early). The natural remedy I am told is boiled Lady’s finger. The result, Biscuit has been getting his share of the gooey stuff and he is adoring it! While on Biscuit’s diet, he has slipped from his Vegan diet and has started on curds and buttermilk, but, in moderation. My wife’s team is exulting at the Vegan camp being cut to half! I can only say, if you are right, even ‘one’ is a majority!
                Hygiene Chennai style
                I used to wash the tumbler at the AVM water point and drink water by sipping (in my usual irreverent way!), I was chastised by a middle aged lady a few days back to drink Chennai style, which involves gulping it down without putting the glass to the lips. It’s quite a complicated maneouvre for the uninitiated, but, having learnt once in childhood, it comes back naturally to one. I don’t have to wash the glass after having had my drink!
                Are you chewing Pan-Masala Mr Gandhi?
                Seeing my cheeks puffed with a wad on both sides, the constable guarding the Police Commissioner’s office asked me if I was chewing tobacco? I took affront and clarified it was green tea leaves, left after a few rounds tea have been extracted from them. This helps me in keeping my mouth from getting wet and gives it some work chewing the wad bit by bit. I have started adding grated and dried Amla (not to be confused with the animal lover heroine of yesteryear, Nellikai in Tamil and Indian gooseberry in English) and a Date (guess to get some Iron with Vitamin ‘C’!) in my chew-treat! While the green tea leaves is the main ingredient for a long time, there have been a litany of additives in my running career, walnut, Basil leaves, fenugreek seeds etc. to name a few!
                To Alm or Not to Alm is the question
                In my initial years I used to liberally give out alms whenever I saw a beggar, but, now that I meet so many of them on a regular basis daily on my run, added to the fact that I don’t carry money when I run, I try to engage with them as friends without bringing the commercial angle between friendship. I do hope that they would have the courage to confide in me if their condition becomes precarious (like mobile battery indicator on one bar!). I have not come across any reference in literature to indicate what Mr. Gandhi’s views were on Alms giving?
                Niggle worries
                Last three days, my left hamstring has been showing up just within a few hundred meters into the run. I have been able to quell it with persistence and it goes away after some time. Longer stride and cruising down the flyover has been painful sometimes. Fear with running with a niggle, particularly in the out and back route, is that the longer you postpone the quitting, longer is the painful walk back home. I think spirit would be able to conquer the flesh in time.
Looking forward to the weekend runs!

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