Before I get into the mundane of my running, let me update readers on Biscuit’s (my 7 year old Labrador pet!) exploits since his last sharing print space with me. If I thought that my training him into Vegan ways would make him any Gandhian, his violent scramble with our nrighbour’s four year old Labrador a few days back has made us, his family ashamed in front of the neighbours.
The immediate provocation my daughter, under whose watch he stooped so low, was that Simba, the agressee, was trying to get friendly with my daughter. The fact that Simba was without his leash and Biscuit could have been impelled by brotherly love are but small consolation for the shamed family members. He knew that he had made a mistake when I found him avoiding my eyes for the entire duration of walk that day after I returned from work. Thankfully, Simba’s parents did not report any major injury and his usual barking performance made us feel better. Hope Biscuit learns restraint and does not become a repeat offender.
I had a back to back marathon over the weekend and to break the monotony and rest the aching bones took a day’s off today. Monday blues without the dose of endorphins is worse than what Swami of Malgudi days would have endured to get to his school after the weekend.
The running theme for the Saturday’s marathon was various people wanted to get my age. The first was a policewoman riding pillion near the war memorial, who asked her rider friend to slow down, enquiring of my age and congratulating me for the strong run. Immediately following this, when I was turning around after the first loop near RBI, the lady friend (who squats on the pavement opposite RBI) who usually wishes me every day, commented to her partner that I would come back once more. I corrected her that being the weekend I would return twice that day! The gentleman patiently waited for me and asked me on my third loop as to what my age was. I must engage with him more the next time to decipher as to how he has reduced the whole thing to my age. I had to use sign language flashing one hand with five and second hand with three fingers to convey him the magic number.
The run that day was completed in four hour and twenty one minutes when I reached outside the colony gates at 8:44 AM.
Next day, I had to home by 8 AM as I had to see off my daughter for her class. I planned to do as much as possible to beat the curfew time of 8 AM. Biscuit despite being given a count of three did not take my offer of the morning walk at 3:15 AM, preferring the air-conditioned sojourns of the bedroom. As a result I was at the gates at 3:28AM.
The traffic was very sparse and I was toying with the idea of a full marathon before the cut off time of 8 AM. I was expecting to have a one on one with Mahatma Gandhi considering that I reached at 4:09 AM. Consider my disappointment when I found one gentlemen limbering up. He wishes me by name (do not know if he is ToI customer or the vernacular reader of the article about me!).
As I crossed the Queen Mary’s College, I stopped to feed a cow which must have been surprised to get banana peel for starters instead of dessert, I spotted the gentleman with a bandana, who used to look the other way when I used to wish him on the run. He is a regular who is normally running in from Napier bridge when I am going the other way. Today he wished me and enquired as to why I was so early. I told him jocularly that I want to beat him to the beach one day in the morning. He said he wants to run fast like me. I said speed is one thing which no runner is satisfied with. Even Mo Farah thought they were slow. He then told me that he has been running for the last 40 years and used to run from Lighthouse to Parry’s and back, a distance of 15K. He said that he has reduced now with age and asked me to guess his age. He on his own proudly mentioned that he was 71 years young. I told him that we are supposed to give up all our attachments with age and reducing diet and distance could be the right thing. I guess it is easier to preach! If the pavement dweller was yesterday impressed at my 53, I got my recompense in the form of the 71 year old of 40 year running experience. How is that for keeping one humble and firmly grounded!
To complete my lesson in humility, a young runner came alongside near the war memorial and after praising me glided past me effortlessly. My tired legs and pampered ego was no match to the youngster till I reached RBI. I was back at home at 7:49 AM with 11 minutes to spare.
I was recently visited by an 81 year old sprightly man with a shoulder bag full of paper cuttings and medals. He spent an hour with me boasting of his perfectly intact teeth, spectacular spectacle-less vision. I was telling my wife who is into collecting articles about me and medals that I dread turning into an old man having to chew the cud of the past. I hope I continue to run, even if progressively slowing, without having to being reduced to only talk about running to live on!