The outpourings of messages and posts from the highest to the lowliest on the demise of Dr. Kalam reminded me of the first chapter in the Louis Fischer’s autobiography of Gandhi where he describes the tinge of sadness and gloom in even people who had not met him. Many of the incidents reported were known, but, the eruditeness, extreme simplicity, hardworking and his affection for children made the sadness of his sudden departure the combined effect of reliving the deaths of Dr. Radhakrishnan, Nehru, Shastri and Gandhi all together once more.
The morning assembly of the school children behind our block where the children enthusiastically recited from his life events and quotes brought fresh tears. The children sounded very sure of themselves when they promised that they would bring his Mission 2020 and of making India a Developed Country, what more would their departed friend have wanted! The mature words of the headmistress sounded hollow compared to the energy displayed by the children, the missile man was bang on in picking his team for the future of India!
His concern for the standing guard in the pilot vehicle in what was his last trip poignantly recited by his assistant (he must be a blessed man to have got so much time to spend with this noble man!) brought a lump to my throat. Normally, humble beginnings either leads to excesses or at least denial of the humble past. His proud ownership of the same humility and simplicity is surely a lesson to simplify life further!
His having exhorted his loving countrymen to not declare a holiday on his death but to work extra, how could I bunk my run today (My taper was to start from today, officially!)? My wife disagrees and says that this is another one of my ingenuous ploys to run again! I made an honourable compromise, I decided to run at a leisurely pace for my usual distance.
I left for the run at 4:30 AM after some dilly-dallying. The weather gods were kind today. A man stopped me at Lighthouse asking why my partner was not with me today. He was meaning Sundar Purush, he stated that he was the guard posted at the gates of Taj Coromandel hotel (No wonder I couldn’t recognize him minus his uniform!). I told him that we run to different timings now.
Army men deputed a few fleet footed runners today to deflate my ego. They ran past me and put in a huge lead effortlessly, thankfully Ram was not there to witness this. I did not even try to match their pace. Today’s run finished at 7:51 AM, not very slow, I guess! I am not sure if I can get in a run tomorrow, day after has to be a rest day.