Thursday, 27 October 2016

Of puppy love and other mundane matters

As a rule i am very faithful to Biscuit and do not flirt, but, there is this cute puppy I cross every day near the Marina swimming pool (where the kids train under coach Sharad!). This puppy first started wooing me by running along for a little distance. Few days back it progressed to cutely asking for a pat on his head. Yesterday he demanded back rub and introduced his entire family to me. Since I started finding it difficult to get away from them I ran on the road near the median from Anna square police station itself to circumvent them. To my surprise and horror I found this guy lying in wait for me near the median when I came for my second loop. I had to escort him through the thick vehicular traffic to his family. Biscuit even with his acute sense of smell has not been able to catch on to my temporary infidelity. I must find a way of getting out of this affair before the puppy gets hurt in traffic or Biscuit senses something!
Yesterday was my three weeks of continuous running without a break and just when my mind had nearly succeeded in convincing me that it was time to take a break, I saw this article about a guy in USA who had run continuously for a period of 42 days and a distance of 70 miles every day. Though comparisons are odious, it is sobering to stay grounded by seeing such posts!
Knee pain continues its low intensity war, but, the good news is that it gets beaten into submission within the first few kilometers into the run. I was propounding this theory to my young runner friend Shreyas that the pains which start during the run and gets worse progressively into the run are dangerous while the ones of my knee pain kind must be strengthening the part each day. Interestingly, one of the regular walkers stooped me a few days back and asked what he should do about his knee pain which he gets when he tries running. I told him to run softly, mindfully and without competing. I myself am still to conquer the last mentioned sin completely and usually pay for getting tempted to compete particularly when the challenger is of the fairer sex!
People I meet in my morning runs have different ways of showing that they are watching me regularly. Take this trio on a scooter today who addressed me endearingly as Thata (Tamil for Grandpa!, I am getting used to this appellation) and asked me for a selfie on the TTK flyover. They were on the way to Beach after their night shift. Then there is this group of old ladies who sit chatting under the MRTS flyover (I call them the three witches of Macbeth!), one of them said you can hear the 4.30AM chime when this old man crosses this bridge (gladdening to hear Hubli passenger’s punctuality!). A guy with a pony and a pillion pulled over as I had just descended from the TTK flyover on my way back a few days back and asked me why I was running late (I was on time give or take a quarter of an hour, but, this is their way of claiming familiarity!). The icing on the cake was a loud voice from one of a group of youngsters from under the portico of the building ‘Thata, see you at 7 near RBI’, it was heartening even if at 7 AM Hubli passenger would most likely be near Gandhi statue than RBI, still the claimed familiarity gladdens the heart!
IMD has predicted that the monsoons would arrive in Chennai tomorrow and going by the humidity today, a run in the rain is a distinct possibility tomorrow. Fingers and toes crossed!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Random thoughts

I have some sensitive matters to be discussed about Biscuit’s friends which could distress him so I am suspending the customary invocation to him. You guessed it, I am referring to the savage treatment meted out to them in the ‘God’s own country’. Every time I see a family sleeping under the bus shelters or on road side sharing their tattered rugs/sheets with their canine friend, I am aghast at the ungodly act of our neighbours. I was reminded of this when I saw a pup on the R K Salai doing a good imitation of the famous towel dance of Ranbir Kapoor in the movie ‘Saawariya’ on the jute bag left out to dry in the middle of the road. Good they do not have newspapers and 24x7 TV channels in their world reporting the atrocities.
The foot soldiers of ‘Swatch Bharat’, I mean the sanitary workers, who are usually a chirpy lot before commencing their Sisyphean labours of the day were a quieter lot today. I was reminded of the study quoted in The HINDU where taking a cue from the practice in the Japanese schools, schools in India tried inculcating habits requiring sweeping and mopping in schools amongst students. Interestingly, this was opposed both in posh private schools (which was not a surprise!) and the Government schools (because the parents were trying to get the kids out of the very thing!). It is my humble opinion that the way forward is encouraging kids (especially boys) to wash their cups/plates and clothes from a young age not by preaching but by actually practicing the same by us elders. Similarly, in offices I am contemplating asking colleagues to wash the cups after taking tea/coffee (Still in a dilemma, if it would be seen as too radical!).
Cows grazing on the lawns of Beach road took me back to the stray cattle menace, particularly cattle which are beyond their productive age. I was reminded of an interesting video clipping on Youtube from the program on Vijay TV ‘Satyamev Jayate’episode on this subject posted by Vinoth Kumar where the cattle being used as bio-digesters to convert vegetable waste to manure (it said Black Gold!). We could have people returning vegetable waste to vendors who can send it back through the suppliers. This chain could work in the empty flow direction of Vegetable supply vehicles. Any Startup enthusiast game? I remember having said this when I had gone on a visit to Amdavad Municipal Corporation and seen vegetable waste from the market yard being transported huge distances by MSW contractors to the landfills. Seen in this light, the Gau Raksha could turn out to be sound economics!
A runner (I would not name him!) whom I regularly cross on the Beach road, accosted me a few days back and asked me if I could foot his registration for the Delhi Half marathon. My regular beggar friends would tell you that for much less the Hubli passenger has snorted and sped off. Not knowing how to get rid of him politely, I took his mobile number and messaged few known runners thinking that would be the end of it. Yesterday again he cornered me and followed up. I was firmer in my refusal as his assertion earlier of that being the last date for registration was obviously false. I have been always saying that Running is the mother of all addictions, but, such craving for events even I could not support!
Interestingly, the permanent resident outside church near Gemini circle was today decked in crisp white shirt and combing his lush hair. This was probably his way of getting back at the bare-chested bald runner in me. I could only smile and carry on!
Sorry, if this episode comes out as disconnected and disjointed, I had to get it out of my system to have a clean slate for recording my weekend runs!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Nation wants to know!

Time to introduce another of Biscuit’s friend(?). He is of the same breed as Snowy of Tintin fame and as white and cute as him, but, the trouble is he swears (read barks!) as badly as a drunk Captain Haddock. He gets aggravated by Biscuit’s total nonchalance at his hard hitting performance. It is as if the silence on the neighbour’s at our surgical effort! There is a new addition to the canine club with a Rottweiler pup (same colour as Biscuit’s bête-noire Tiggy!) who is tied to his master’s car while the master goes for his clubbing in the Railway club. He is very adorable and Biscuit is warming up to him and their symphony of tail wagging a treat to watch. As they say everybody is adorable when young, the difference between a donkey and horse is known when they grow up. No offence to Rottweilers (I am    partial to Labradors!).
Some improvement on the charkha spinning front. I have been able to source cotton locally from Srivilliputtur within the jurisdiction of Southern Railway reducing the carbon footprints of my spinning activity. All was not as smooth as it sounds, there was a real scare that I could have been out of cotton on the Gandhi jayanti day. Thanks to my friend who chipped in with her grandfather’s stock to avoid a major embarrassment! Time now to locate a local weaver!
The humid and muggy weather has been testing the runners’ patience and die-hardiness. While there is a temptation to bunk the run, but, the thought of guilt for the rest of the day for a few sweat soaked hours in the bed gets me to the door at the appointed hour. I have had two bunks during the period since I went to press last. While one was a party which could not be avoided the other was my mobile alarm malfunction!
I have been trying to analyse what gets people on the road to engage with me. If our favourite anchor was to get over the overkill on the surgical strikes and really ask what the ‘Nation wants to know’, it should be, Why does Hubli passenger run daily? The permanent resident of the bus shelter outside the church opposite Isaphani center has taken to showing his anger as I pass him. Since he is vocally challenged, it is difficult to guess his cause for anger. I am getting a feeling that he thinks I am mocking his attire by running past him bare-chested! There is definitely a fine line between empathy and mockery!
My left knee has been giving a little trouble, but, it gets better by the time I reach the Gemini flyover (about 2 Km into the run). I am reminded of the joke Rajesh Khanna made in the movie Anand about Asit Sen’s complaint of shifting pain. My Piriformis syndrome (pain in the bu$# to put it bluntly!) seems to be moving downward. The old man who crosses me on his cycle near Mylapore with knee caps on both his knees seems to be warning me too!
The crowd waiting for the bus near the shelter opposite City-center was having an audience poll on my itinerary with each person speaking from the point where they have seen me. I was tempted to stop and give a self declaration and clinch the issue. Their shyness in talking to me does not stop them from pulling each other’s leg asking them to catch me if they can!
I have had occasion to mention earlier about the boy (his name is Michael!) who skates with a smile on his face. I finally gave in to the temptation and stopped and shook his hand and told him to continue enjoying his game and congratulated his mother for letting him enjoy it. I also stopped another mother who pushes her daughter (could not have been more than 10 years old!) too much with the result that the poor girl skates with a sad face. Now the result is the girl skates with a smile on her face and the mother has a glum face when she crosses me.
I got a pleasant surprise when the shop owner of the apparel shop (one of the rare occasions when I accompanied my wife for her shopping) commented that he has seen me somewhere. I told him ‘I run’. He immediately flashed a smile of recognition and said he could not recognize me with my shirt on! Coming from him it was not so much an embarrassment as similar comments by the fairer sex have caused me when I am with my wife/daughter! No, I did not ask for a discount!

Today a gentleman standing near his parked car stopped me and after effusive praise for my regularity and dedication told that he comes to drop his kid to the school and sees me every day. He is a citizen warden and for one understood why I run opposite to the flow of traffic. He is an optician and wanted to present me a cooling glass at least! So do not be surprised if you find the Hubli passenger running with coolers on! 

Monday, 19 September 2016

What’s in a name?

However weighty the issues on hand, the customary invocation to Biscuit in the beginning cannot be suspended! The previous Saturday edition of Metro Plus accompanying the Hindu newspaper made our day when a long article on Biscuit’s brethren being employed in offices with fancy designation as CFO (It is Chief Fun Officer and not Chief Finance Officer!). Biscuit appeared sad thinking about the missed opportunities, but, the commercial world’s loss is our gain. He is like the humble housewife whose contribution is often underestimated as compared to the working women. Biscuit has a full day helping all the inmates live a full life while challenging squirrels and engaging in shouting matches with his quadruped neighbours in the block.
It takes something special nay foolhardy to join issues with the Bard of Avon, but, if you substitute Rose with ‘Pain in the B#$$’and the alternative name is as exotic as Piriformis syndrome, I think it is fair game. I felt like Kakaji in movie Anand, gloating over his ‘Lymphosercoma of the intestine’! I am speaking of unspeakable and unbearable pain in my glutes about two weeks back which had immobilized me and more importantly kept me from my running for a full three days. Thanks to a chance conversation with my Doctor brother, I got a name (a fancy one at that!) to bandy around which can be fashionably discussed even in mixed company. I have found this that sooner you can give a name to your medical condition and immediately you start feeling better, I guess it is because you move from the uncertainty to an area where others have gone before!
Dr. Google tells me that this condition afflicts people who sit on their backs and/or who run long distances. I think my job is the cause and my wife believes it is my daily dose of running. I have made a concession to walk around a bit during my office hours between files and meetings and a few stretches before the run. Thankfully, I am back to my normal quota of runs.
Weather gods have been kind to the running community these past few weeks and my recuperation has been greatly aided by it. I am normally quite chirpy during my runs and I only get chirpier if the rain gods oblige. It was on one such day that while running with Sameer, the swimming coach to youngsters near Anna square, I engaged in small talk with a person speaking animatedly near a water puddle and with hilarious consequences. When I answered his repeated query as to ‘How one could survive without the Sun’ with an assurance that the Sun would come out assuming he was worried about the puddle splashing people. He got agitated and asked if I voted for the rising Sun? He castigated me by saying that if one does not vote for the rising Sun then how could it come. Only then it sunk into my thick skull that I have been had by a hard core political analyst and supporter of the opposition party of TN. I got away by promising him that I would consider voting for the rising sun next time around!
The loop around the Island ground forms Km 19-23 of my run and should technically have me tired, but, with enthusiastic greetings from the Army men all through it is the most enjoyable. Now, this part of the run has got even better with the young kids practicing skating and their parents starting to acknowledge me with greetings as they whiz past me multiple times. One young boy really stands out as he seems to enjoy his sport and even greets me as he crosses me on my way back on the Radhakrishnan Salai when he is relaxing on the pillion of the scooter!
Many incidents worthy of adorning this blog happened in the last few weeks of the run, but, newer encounters get overwritten on the older ones. Two days back when I was refuelling myself at the water point near Saravana café, an athletic looking man rushed to me and said that he is from Rajapalayam (a town known for its breed of dogs!). He said he has come for an event (It was Arignar Anna’s birthday!) and I thought would it be my introduction to the political class. He said that he has read about me in a Tamil magazine in a saloon while waiting for his turn and that led to his reading the book ‘Born to Run’. He stated that he has graduated to barefoot running and has inspired a set of youngsters in his town to take up long distance running. Talk of the power of the media! While I was about to ask him about his name and job, a scooter bumped into a parked car and fell down with the young rider thrown on the ground. We rushed to help him. The boy had a bout of fits and we helped him endure the episode politely turning down the people coming forward to give him a metal object. I quietly slipped away to complete my run feeling good about a chance to help a kid ( inwardly feeling sad that my repeated requests to them to wear helmets and not drive rashly goes unheeded!) and having met an admirer!

While on the topic of rash driving, the scene on the Cathedral road was gory today morning with lots of smashed auto rickshaws. This is the place where many of these are parked and drivers sleep in their parked vehicles. I had thought that it was another rash two wheeler riders doing, but, it transpires it was a drunk racing car driver who killed one of the drivers and smashed a few autos.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Independence Day run

When I started a little earlier this I-Day, it was with uncertainty of route and the time for which I would be allowed to run. That the nation is obsessed with India’s performance or the perceived lack of it at the Olympics is well known from the traffic on the social media on the topic. I knew Sunday night was crucial for India’s darling Dipa Karmakar and I had not seen it as it was well beyond my bedtime. A bunch of youngsters whom I crossed in my run commented that this old man should have been sent to Olympics and that I would have been able to get a medal! I did not know whether to take it as a compliment or their frustration at India’s unproductive foray in terms of silverware at the Rio! Knowing how much of effort it takes both mental and physical even in small running events back home, I can only say that we Indians are impatient and make and discard hero(ine)es at the drop of a hat. It is like studying before the final exams, but, success in sports as in other disciplines of life is a slow and steady Ultra and not a Usain Bolt dash!
I could not remove the small Khadi flag (table top variety) from its heave brass base and settled for a laminated lapel flag for tucked in my shorts as my passport of nationalism/patriotism if challenged by guardians of law. I reached Gandhi statue unchallenged! I found on the way that the Muncipal sweepers were the only other conscientious workers out on the road and celebrating the National holiday by working harder!
I was greeted by Mr. Srinivasan (the loud clap greeter!) and so far so good. I saw a few tea vendors (these are like the druid Getafixes who get the city on their feet with their magic potion) near Lighthouse. I asked them how their business was going. They shared their sad tale that the business with the policemen is without payment and the regular clientele of beggars have been sanitized by these so called security men. Is it not sad that well paid safari clad security men are free riders and the beggars are good paying customers!
Just as I was saying my greetings to the Gandhi statue (he was bowed down with a huge garland of flowers, which he eschewed in his lifetime and only allowed khadi garlands!), I was stopped by a grey safari clad officiando. I got angry when he said I cannot run on the pavement. Mr. Srinivasan and another unnamed walker came to my rescue, but, we had no answer to the smiling security man who quoted the ‘orders from the top’. I told him disgust to cover the Gandhi statue as he definitely would not like people’s freedom to be snatched to celebrate our freedom for which he fought so hard! I settled for running on the inner road even if it was not so barefoot friendly.
The usual topic of discussion when I crossed walkers was the place upto which we are allowed by the police. The consensus was that the coast was clear till the start of the Napier bridge. The usual pavement dwellers had receded to the sands on the beach and they must have bid farewell to their day’s earnings.
I reached the police post at the start of the Napier bridge and found an important looking safari suit clad individual (there were more than ’50 shades of grey’ on that day in that stretch between Gandhi statue and Labour statue!) sitting on a plastic chair with a few hangers on. I found most of the people deployed unsure of what to do. They were randomly picking on people to appear busy. People who were not smartly dressed (including your’s truly!) were easy game. He addressed me as Swamiji and asked me the usual questions about my age, distance and why barefoot etc. I did not like his condescending tone of inquiry and was tempted to throw my rank at him, but, I think my self control is improving and I resisted revealing my Joint Secretary to GoI bit! Despite sustained interrogation, I was only allowed to take the Sivananda road and refused entrance to the Napier bridge.
I did the three cornered loop from Sivananda road, Mount road and Flag staff road upto War memorial and back twice (making it 12K!) with the one K stretch on flag staff road repeated to make it 14K to avoid going back to Beach road except for the return lap. The graying traffic policeman at the intersection of Mount road and Flag staff road was losing his temper at a young couple on a bike and I intervened to ask the policeman to take it easy if he wanted to finish his shift upto 10.30 AM without bursting a blood vessel. I was happy to leave behind a smiling policeman!
In my return loop I found that better sense had prevailed and walkers were being allowed on the pavement and I reached Gandhi statue at 6:40 AM. My beggar friend with both his arms amputated from the elbow downward (who had trusted me to count his notes and keep them in his pocket earlier!) sitting all a-smile in crisp whites, clearly in a celebratory mood!
On my return trip, a traffic policeman took the cake by asking for a flag and I being of the Daan-Veera-Karna lineage could not say No and gave him the clip on flag, cautioning him not to throw plastic waste and that I would ask for it the next year when I meet him on the morning run! Is it not irony that the policemen who have been threatening my freedom to run gets away with my national flag!
Looking at such large scale deployment of police force it appears to me that instead of instilling national pride it could end up scaring people to remain indoors on such occasions. It could be a good idea to oversee celebration of national festivals with public monies by people of repute and standing (say Gopalkrishna Gandhi and the like as far as Chennai etc.!) and standing so that it does not become an exercise in self serving for the people’s representatives and the armed forces/police.

That the article about weaving on charkha gone on to the national edition on the Independence day after its appearance in the Chennai edition the previous day, I have been basking in a torrent of congratulatory messages from across the country. I am truly feeling like a celebrity. It surely pays to be a copy (even if a poor one!) of a person of Gandhiji’s standing!

Sunday, 14 August 2016


Had I gone on Air yesterday, the heading would have been “Amma, Amman and Mother India”! That time of the year when the serial light cutouts of celestial boon giver overlooks the ubiquitous smiling visages of our very own Amma posters, The roads are taken over by the security to welcome Mother India.
Time was when few sensitive locations like the Lal chowk in Srinagar or the Idgah Maidan in Hubli were turned into a fortress to assert our Independence, today even the so called peaceful part of the country’s seat of power, Fort St. George was turned into a fortress with security personnel swarming all over. I was a little early for my run. I decided to get over the war-zone like War memorial (I doubt if the shining flag atop it is of mandated Khadi!) by doing the 4K stretch from Napier to RBI and back and the loop around Island ground in the first loop itself.
One overzealous security personnel tried stopping me. I told him that I am a regular runner and they have nothing to fear me and neither am I scared or impressed with their show of strength. I politely asked him for how many days are they planning to suspend our freedom to celebrate OUR Independence? He sheepishly retracted that he was just doing his duty and I backed off and gave him my 32W smile (well give or take a few accounted for by my dentist!). The lady guarding the regular security post outside Fort St. George smilingly asked me if would never take a break. I told her I may opt to suspend my run and walk on Marina doing a Kanhaiya encore with a tri-colour for claiming my Azadi to run every day (I may still manage a run on altered route!). I asked her give me a security clearance with her superiors by vouching for my regularity. Almost every regular walker whom I met beyond War memorial stopped to discuss the route we could take tomorrow!
A person struck a familiar note and asked me if i am not going home when i was re-starting towards Gandhi statue for the last time today. I told him i am! He said Did i not live near Parrys? After getting the Hubli Passenger's route, he grabbed my right hand and lifted it above my head much like a referee does while awarding the wrestling bout to the winner, proclaiming to the plainclothes security guard (their grey safari and walkie give them up!) that i was a star running so far at my age and that too barefoot.
Now for an interesting encounter on the run today. A bike with three riders stopped near me with the guy sitting third behind a girl on the pillion greeted me with a vanakkam. I did not recognize him, but, he seemed to be an earlier recipient of my Gyan. I asked why he was riding without a helmet much like a Maths teacher asking for an assignment to be turned in. He cheekily replied that he had no money and asked if I would pay for one. Now that was getting personal, ask even any beggar on the Marina, this Gandhian is okay for verbal gyan, but you slip in the commercial tone and he withdraws. I asked him cheekily if he is wearing his undergarments. He did not get the connection. I told him the following story about cricket, “ It took more than hundred years after men started wearing crotch guard in cricket for the helmets to make their appearance”, we men are slow learners and it takes us time to realize head was as important if not more than the family jewels! The girl sniggered much to the chagrin of the boy and I knew I had drawn blood! I gave him a smiling salute and went on with my run.
Wish me for getting my usual quota of run tomorrow, Jai Hind!

Friday, 12 August 2016

Kitna Deti Hai?

We irreverent Indians are not impressed by atmospherics and believe in quickly getting to the heart of the matter. I am reminded of one of the advertisements where when explained the displacement and size of a Dreamliner, a person is shown asking ‘Kitna Deti Hai’. Every time I have demonstrated by spinning wheel to an interested person the initial question invariably has been, how much yarn I can spin in one day and how long it takes to get enough material for my shirt?
This time before the Times of India reporter came knocking, I was prepared. The raw pressed cotton comes in bundles of one hundred grams each. Each bundle approximately translates to over one thousand meters of yarn, at my present level of proficiency of spinning. The yarn is removed from spindle in bundles of five hundred meters each and one hundred such bundles in turn becomes about ten to twelve meters of cloth. I am able to spin about two hundred and fifty to three hundred meters along with my morning green tea hydration session of between an hour or two. About six months of laboring at the spinning wheel gets me enough cloth for about ten shirts! See it requires no Ramanujam maths!
While externally, spinning can be evaluated in terms of meters of cloth generated, at a deeper level it is relaxing and meditative. Taking the analogy to running, while a run can be physically seen in terms of distance, speed or time spent, but, the internal transformation it brings to one is to be experienced and cannot be described. I will belabor this point further; when I was working in the Ministry, in my frustration at the Sisyphusian task of moving files up and down, I had ranted on one of the chat sites. One of my seniors had sent me the following story on my personal email id;
“God once asked a person to push a wall, the person after dutifully doing it for a few months cursed God that it was useless as the wall had not moved an inch. The punchline is God seemed to have appeared and asked the person to his arms and back muscles and the strength he had gained”. The fault sometimes is we are too narrow in defining our goals, be it speed or distance!
Now, a small episode from Biscuit’s friends’ lesson in stretching to lighten the atmosphere. Before the Last Sunday of Month (LSoM) run of Marina Runners when a trainer was leading his wards through stretching session, a stray doggie couple came to the center and did a synchronized and graceful perfect doggie stretch as if to ask what is so great about it, much to the amusement of the wards and embarrassment of the trainer. Biscuit on his part restricts himself to walking in measured steps unexcited by the provocations of his brethren in the colony (even the belligerent Tiggy!).
Having missed the 36 hour stadium run last week, the decision now was to whether or not to attend the 12 hour Independence Day run at Mumbai. The office situation decided the issue. I will have to miss the trip. While it hurts to be deprived of the cheers of the friendly Mumbai runner community and the famed @Pranav hospitality, I thought about the saving grace in the missing of the run during my morning constitutional 32K today! Twelve hour run on Monday would have involved missing my daily run from Saturday to Tuesday (four days at 32K would be a healthy 128Kms). I could have at best put in at best a 100Km in the 12 hour run on Monday. So even by ‘Kitna Deti Hai’logic, Lalithaji, Hometown mein Daudne mein hi samajhdari hai!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Old dog cannot be taught new tricks?

Few days into the ninth year of Biscuit, my wife excitedly told me after I came back from my run in the morning that Biscuit fetched the newspaper. This is earthshaking news considering that Biscuit has had no interest in fetching games and has always fiercely guarded with his life, and sharp canines, whatever he has grabbed in his mouth during earlier fetch trainings! Is he trying to disprove the old adage or the very premise that he is getting old! My daughter set the record straight by concluding that he must have grabbed the paper in his mouth and when confronted by my angry wife he must have just dropped it sheepishly! For his part he has not shown any other signs of growing up and thank God for that.
Though I have stopped counting the number of days I have run at a stretch, but, I must be fluffing up with pride every day when I line up for my run in the morning. Today, sadly, the little voice in my head won and I went back to sleep after my charkha spinning session in the morning. Must be the accumulated sleep deficit catching up!
This is that time of the year when national flags come out and policemen are out in numbers to guard our ‘Aazadi’! While the usual guardians of law and traffic policemen on my running route have got used to my ways, the reinforcements out during the I-day for, of, and by the police are not in tune with my naked display! A young policeman addressed me with his crooked finger (and some choice epithets in local lingo, which were offensive in tone and thankfully I did not get the purport!), and asked me not to run in the middle of the road. The naked power of the uniform exuding from him got my goat and all my pretense of Gandhian ways went out of the window and I confronted him. The senior official initially supported his subordinate and then saw my point and advised his junior to shut up. I was shaking from inside and jittery for some part of the run thereafter. I could empathise with the stone pelting youth who must be revolting against accumulated ire of facing the lording over by the uniformed in the valley and elsewhere. Is it not ironical that the very force which is sent for protecting the people of a place becomes hated by the same very people?
While on the theme of freedom, I must discuss the misuse of the freedom exercised by youngsters drunk on their brand of intoxicant and sleep deprived, who meet me on the roads during my morning run. Recently, I took the liberty of advising a few to not drink and drive and to wear helmets, if not for the safety of the old man like me who could be hit by them then at least with due regard to the anguish they would cause to their near and dear in case of any accident. From the sheepish smiles I get from them and the slowing down when they cross me I think the message is going in slowly and surely. The hefty increase in fines for such violations like, underage driving, driving without licence/helmet recently promulgated if applied strictly would surely make roads safer for all the users!
Two long runs, the first, the 36 hour stadium run this weekend in Bangalore and next week the 12 hour I-day run have me drooling. The first looks doomed as I am required to be in Chennai during this Sunday. As for the freedom run on the 15th August, I am still debating if repeat of the event done two years back is worth the travel? The Kirti college Vada-pavs, the speciality which Pranav Mehta feeds the participants and all the love and affection of Mumbai runners and crowds is making it tough for me to back out. Fingers and toes crossed!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Unsolicited advice

This heading stayed on a blank page for almost three weeks now. Is this the notorious writer’s block? I am forcing myself to unclog my mind so do not tell me you were not forewarned!
This being the first dispatch after 7th July, (do not tell me you do not know!), it is Biscuit’s birthday, that must take the headlines. For him it was business as usual, his bitter foe Tiggy showed him no concession and welcomed him with his usual ferocity during his morning walk. Being a holiday for Ramadan, he got a long bath and his favourite fruit Papaya and plenty of hugs from family members. It is not manners to talk of pet’s age when they cross a certain age, but, he has crossed a milestone and his age must come on record! One Dog year is considered equivalent of seven human years, and by that reckoning at his age he is now 56 years old and has crossed my age, how soon the time flies! He is bubbly as ever, but, finds climbing on to the steel trunk (which doubles as his perch!) for wearing his leash a bit cumbersome. Someone (another Labrador parent) had said that they are kids till they cross seven years, but, Biscuit must be the Peter Pan of his breed, refusing to grow up and we are not complaining!
Since my last blog many mukalats (verbal encounters!) have happened on the roads, but, this one should take prime place. I normally do not advise youngsters (barring kids on bikes, after they come to talking terms for not wearing helmets!), but, something in the group of three youngsters, standing behind their car blaring loud music on the Savera flyover, (must of be college going age!) glazed eyes made me stop and talk to them. I addressed them that I want to talk to them, but, one of them brushed me aside and started to get into the car. The other two stopped him (must be my unusual gear!) and asked me to go on. I started off telling them of my smoking addiction and how it is the most difficult one to quit. They asked me to translate a few words in Tamil and listened to me patiently. I told them to give a decent attempt at quitting smoking (told them it took me six failed attempt to quit!). I hope i succeeded in making quitting appear more heroic than smoking! I felt a different kind of high after talking to them, hope they succeed in kicking the habit!
There is some affinity between my passion for running and madness. I remember the lady on the Napier bridge who was enjoying the rain the other day and wildly clapping as I ran past her in the rain. A few days later when I ran past her near Anna square police station, she just took off and tried to outrun me. Not to aggravate her, I let her win and she gave me a slow clap as I crossed her. Another time on the pavement on the Flag staff road a guy with matted hair asked me in sign language as to why I run. I put my finger to my temple to indicate madness and that made him angry (he seemed to indicate that his madness was of a higher degree than the level my passion had reached). Guess I have a lot more to practice!
There is this guy who sleeps under the bus shelter near the church after the petrol bunk on the Uttamar Gandhi salai. He is bare bodied waist up like me and he seems to be comparing abs every day as I cross him. That day he showed in sign language that I should be careful of the oncoming traffic, I felt humbled. Here I was envying abs while discounting the loud mouth I have where he remains a silent wonder, comparisons surely are odious!
Then there is this old man (must be as old as our independence!) who sleeps near Saravana Bhawan café. That day his pet and he were snuggling on the sack. His ribcage prompting me to remember Anupam Kher’s dialogue in movie Saaransh, who famously commented about the wrinkles on his wife Rohini Hattingadi’s face that ‘Tere chehre ki jhurrion me mere jeevan ka Saaransh hai!, meaning the lines on your face are my life’s summary! The old man’s ribcage seemed to say the same of the country’s failed tryst with destiny!
Finally, the army guys (a little older lot today!) when crossing me commented that I should be recruited into the Army. I stopped and told them that I had cleared the NDA exam and could have joined the Army about 30 years back, but, if I would have taken to running like I do now would have been anybody’s guess! I think the Army with all the flak for AFSPA and rubber pellets of Kashmir could do with a Gandhi in their ranks!
Mani has been regular in accompanying me on the morning run as he is preparing for the Javadhu run on 7th August, or meeting point on the base of the Savera flyover towards the Saravana Café side. Apart from the morning runs, I got to run the six hour stadium run hosted by the Nungambakkam Nitros, and I got to run a little more than 50Kms between 2.30 PM and 8.30 PM on Saturday, the 9th of July. It felt like old times, running in the stadium round and round! That the run in the afternoon was in addition to the normal 32K in the morning that day was a double treat. I did have to go on diet the next day due to the binge on Saturday!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Keep the child alive in you

Biscuit no longer gets up with me and prefers to get his eight hours of recommended beauty sleep. Does that make me lonely when I am sipping green tea and spinning the charkha? A persistent cuckoo in the neighbourhood gets up around the same time and polishes her singing. The signal for me to stop spinning is when a raucous bunch of birds start their chorus drowning the pleasant cuckoo’s crooning. Interesting how these little creatures have a perfect sense of time.
A dog has littered in the colony and the pups have grown right in front of our eyes. Biscuit watches over them with a longing look as the pups follow their parents having their ‘Masti ki Pathshaala’. They have now been granted independent charge with their parents abandoning them to their vices. The pups (at least the most intrepid and vocal of them) bark at Biscuit as he passes them by in his walks. He does not mind them a bit and has a proprietary air about them. Do I see a wistfulness in Biscuit in having traded for security over freelancing!
Today was my 16th day in a row of running after the long walk during Pinkathon on June 5th. Usually the dogs do not trouble me and mind their own business. Today a dog (veteran of many fights going by his mutilated ear) decided to take me on. Two people in the shadows came out in my support, but, an old man told them to stay put and watch. He told them that I would purr to the dog and it would go back wagging his tail. I was thrilled at this compliment. The dog did not disappoint his trust in my Pied Piper like skills on mesmerizing dogs.
Long distance running as I am sure must be the case with all endurance sports makes one view one’s body with a sense of detachment. This we do experience when we talk to our parts of the body coaxing them to bear the pain with the tacit understanding that given time and persistence the niggle eventually goes away. This came in handy when I was down with dehydration and fever recently.
Unable to get the flow the narration was abandoned here yesterday, today a mild drizzle welcomed me as I started for the run. A police vehicle came very close to me from the opposite side when I was on the Savera flyover. I was surprised that a police beat vehicle was playing truant. I crossed over to the other side of the road across the small divider bracing for some tough questions. Two young policemen in their muftis asked me why I was running in rain. I asked them to remember how we used to welcome showers when we were young. I asked them if they do not feel like walking/running in the rain, they smilingly confessed that but for the expectations of the position they were in, they would love to join me in running in the rain.
After lean attendance of Boyz and Girlz on bikes (they have this emblazoned on the back of their T-shirts!) in the last few weeks, they were out in full strength today. I heard the people waiting in the bus-shelters commenting on the madness of the youngsters in riding in the rain, but, the real comments/guffaws were reserved for the half naked ‘your’s truly’ when I passed by them. The mentally challenged lady singing to herself as she blissfully walked in the rain on the Napier bridge was the only one matching my thanksgiving spirit to weather gods for having blessed the city with showers.
The going on the smooth flooring on the pavement between Lighthouse and Labour statue was ginger and the usually slow pace of the Hubli passenger was further compromised today. I had Ramani Ramiah and his brother for company as I started on my second loop from Lighthouse. It was not for long as the two put in a decent gap very quickly and I preferred caution over bravery in not trying to match their pace mindful of the slippery floor!
Last Sunday Mani Iyer, I will call him the Mumbai Express, joined me for run from Saravana Café after Savera flyover. Close to two weeks of continuous running had me running slowly and I must have dragged his performance down. I gave him choice vintage location during the biological break near Napier bridge and treated him to ice-cold water at Zuka point on the way back.
Yesterday was IYD (this needs no expansion), a group of singers were asserting the diversity amidst the sea of Yoga camps on Marina to mark the World Music Day (Did they come to Gandhi statue to seek his support!). We Babus bent it like Beckham at office too to mark the occasion of the IYD (I took the message that finance officers must become flexible!), Jokes apart it was a nice way to bond with colleagues watching each other contorted in various shapes and poses!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Oh to sweat!

Biscuit is incensed, and rightly so, that the sore backside of his master has been getting more footage than him in the recent blogs. He has had an inflamed eye and has been going around like a peeved Lalita Pawar for the last few weeks. Despite highlighting this to the vet, he refused to give it any importance or medicine saying that it is nothing and will go away. He is back to his normal two eyed exchanges with his constituents!
The much discussed LSoM run of Marina Minnals came and went this last Sunday with much drama and tragedy! I started at 3:45 AM to ensure that I reach Gandhi statue at 4:30AM. Except a few canine friends, who also did not seem concerned by the early start of the Hubli Passenger, the run was usual and relaxed till Gemini circle. I was welcomed with a ‘Va Ya Kabaali’(Welcome Kabaali, the latest avatar of Superstar RajniKanth!) by a person who was diligently applying adhesive to Amma posters sitting on the road. This is how the locals tease (I take it as a praise!). I went near him and thanked him for the superlative praise. He was slightly drunk and explained to his autodriver in waiting that he meets me at many places and that too so early in the morning!
Being compared to superstar was all I needed to counter my niggle! The praise-purana does not end here, when I was crossing the city-center, a youngster jocularly challenged an old man sitting next to him at the bus-shelter to chase and catch me! He said what of him, even the youngster could not catch him and that if he wanted to catch me, he can see me at around 7 AM when I will return the same way! Now, this recharged my battery to full five bars! I felt like I was being compared to DON, (of ‘peecha karna mushkil hi nahin namumkin hai’ fame!).
Hubli passenger had reached the start point before time (4:25AM by clock opposite Gandhi statue!) and even though some people had assembled, I did not want to waste the beach breeze and spare time and did a small loop of about one Km. To complete the ‘Hubli Passenger Jaisa Koi Nahin’praise chant, a young lady walked up and asked why I run every day from Nungambakkam and that too barefoot? It seems she works the graveyard shift in a building near Sterling road signal and has seen me pass by every day. She, it seems, comes for a spin with her colleague for a break from work to Marina. I gave the usual answers to the oft repeated questions and also disclosed the vintage of the Hubli Passenger!
The onerous task of flagging off was taken over by Ramani Ramiah Venkat Sir and we all set off on the run. It was a slow and chatty run and running behind the back of the statues on the service road for new to me. We came to the main road near the Labour statue. The runners had thinned out and I took my middle of the road option and ran alone. The route was a bit new with a diversion of Walajah road till Kalaivanar arangam (I had confused this with “Kalaignar”and trolled the race director, Deepa Bharatkumar, about mispronouncing DMK patriarch before the run!) being added in addition to the Island ground to complete the 21K.
When I was finishing 21K near Gandhi statue it was 7AM and therefore the normal return time for the Hubli Passenger. I crossed a rally of youngsters against Rape and demanding freedom of choice in dressing (I could not agree more, running topless through a bunch of well dressed youngsters!). I did not wait for the post run ceremonies and started on my way back. The run was extremely well organized and the volunteers were very dedicated and enthusiastic!
There was no water at the Zuka (Chocolate Rajni point!) and I could manage a few glasses from a dripping AVM RO tap! Normally, watering the system during run leads to water oozing out in the form of sweat from the body leading to cooling happens, that day the water stayed put. I reached home tired and drank my usual quota of two litres (not exactly, half a bottle left!). This was a mistake, still no sweat outpouring! I took a bath and looked forward to curl into bed with my favourite bowl of richly jiggery sweetened multigrain porridge and the newspaper. The difference was I was not feeling like eating the porridge. What followed was a violent throw up (in the bathroom, not in bed!), much to the distress of Biscuit (he hasn’t seen me performing this before!). The act was repeated after consuming the porridge in another one hour. All this while no excretion of water by way of sweat. I found my temperature rising and thermometer showed a healthy 102.9 deg. F.
How the battle of fever was won with the aid and assistance of my Doctor brother in remote attendance (it helps that he is an avid and as passionate runner!) will be the subject of a separate blog. The sum and substance is that there is no life without ‘Sweat’. I sweated on Monday evening breaking two days of strike like Monsoon breaking through drought hit Vidarbha and with as much relief.
The Hubli passenger is still grounded and hopes to resume service at 4 AM tomorrow!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Life happens

The heading of today’s blog is inspired by the iconic statement made by the protagonist in the movie Forrest Gump, ‘S##t happens’, incidentally it is also boldly emblazoned on a regular beach side walker on Marina whom I cross every day. Yesterday, I was politely stopped by an elderly gentleman (he revealed his age proudly during the course of his advisory to be 75!), he sincerely tried to dissuade me from running every day. I heard him patiently and wished him good health and that he should wish me that I continue to run like this for the next 20 years and seriously rival Fauza Singh’s exploits.
Just as I was celebrating 40 days of continuous running, the ginger ballet over the wet Marina sidewalks seems to have strained my glutes. This brought the Hubli Passenger to a grinding halt putting paid to ambitious plans for overhauling Michelle’s exploits of 194 days uninterrupted effort. I remember the last time when I was counting days was when I had just quit cigarettes, some improvement this! I think the real liberation happens when we stop counting!
I find interesting denizens of night when I start my run. In the last one week, twice a triad of the significant ‘other’ gender pass me on their scooty. They seem to proclaim why should only ‘Boyz and ‘Girlz’ have all the fun. The lead member progressed from shy smiles to waves and finally yesterday she made the statement ‘Does your feet not hurt running barefoot?’, I was reminded of the famous Raj Kumar dialogue in the movie Pakeezah where seeing the exposed bare feet of Meena Kumari he famously said something similar!
Now I do not brace myself when I hear two wheelers approaching from the rear with kids making loud noises, the majority of them now do a slow fly-past with mock salutes as they pass by. I have also become less jumpy on hearing rubber against road screeching in case it is one of the new gangs yet to be domesticated by the charms of the Hubli passenger.
Apart from the runners and walkers who regularly cross me at fixed locations on the Marina, there has been a new addition, this lady laboriously, but, regularly runs by when I am on my way back after the run. We generally meet on the Savera flyover. My friend Ramkumar Sundaresan was with her one day when they crossed me, must find out her story from him! Her determination is admirable!
Pain in the glutes is a real pain, last three days the Hubli passenger had to be grounded! I found the courage to restart the narrative after a slow and painful, but, a regular quota nevertheless today. None of the regulars commented on my absence and here I was brooding the last three days that I must have been missed! Is it their good naturedness that keeps them from proclaiming my slip!
When I crossed a group of youngsters today, I started to react as is my wont when I heard some in the group doing a catcall! Lucky I did not, others in the group put them wise and I earned a salute as a bonus.
The first part of the run was very tough as I was sweating profusely, but, no respite due to the muggy and still weather. The air got cooler and there was even some slight drizzle in the second half of the run. The Sun came out in the end to have the last laugh when I was at my weakest. Hope I am able to recover for the run tomorrow. I met the old man (yes the 75 year old! Who thought I am overstraining for my age!) and glared at him, he did not get the message and smiled back politely!
Ram Rajagopalan is after me in his usual persistent and persuasive way to get to flag off the Marina Minnals Long run this Sunday. I hate these as this appears to be the youngster’s polite way of promoting me to the Margdarshak Mandal. I may huff and puff, but, I plan to run for many more years and would not take the hint to graduate to flagging off status any time in near future! On a serious note, hope this niggle does not altogether keep me off my run on the Sunday!

Friday, 6 May 2016

A graded response

                When the weather looked like having taken its foot of the pedal a few days back, I thought Wall like persistence had paid off! The feel good was short-lived, the empire has struck back with a vengeance, but, the Chennai runners continue to brave the inclement weather and log miles! As if the current level of Bheja-Fry was not enough, Sun has officially taken power-play (Kathri-veyyil in local lingo) from 4th May. Today was the 25th day of running after the one day break on 11th April, which means 53 days of running in the last 54 days. I am trying to get close to Michelle Kakade’s feat of 194 days (of the Golden Quadrilateral run fame!) in my own sedentary way.
                What has been disturbing me in the last few days is the way we respond to issues. It takes a Rs. 7000cr default of Vijay Mallya or enormous use of water for IPL match or for helicopter landing at drought site to shake our collective conscience, while we are inured to washing cars, watering concrete space outdoors for rangoli (the original purpose must have been to suppress dust in mud courtyards!). I am really pained to see the water spilled using a big hose on tar road in the Army area. The jawan doing the honours was polite to my pleadings about the crisis in Latur and need for being economical with this precious resource, he only said orders. Am thinking of petitioning the Defence minister once he gets free from the helicopter scam.
                One run in with my beggar friend (who sits near Labour statue) shook me to the core. He generally gives me a cheerful wave and keeps count of my loop. On that day, he looked very disturbed, stopped me and asked me a fundamental question ‘of what use am I to people around me’! The provocation was a drunkard friend of his getting to shake my hand by walking up to me near the war-memorial when he was sitting on the pavement nearby and I did not stop to talk to him. I also only noticed that day that he had an artificial leg for one of his legs (Maybe, my flaunting of running everyday in front of him got his goat!). He told me that his two sons were CA’s and challenged me to show my card (my ward’s educational qualification!), he passed the judgment that a CA was higher than a Lawyer, I did not contest his claim. I pacified him and got away. Relations are now normal and wattage of his smiles and his resuming honorary duties of being my lap counter are back to their pristine position.
                I have various times commented about how I stretch myself in my run when challenged by a youngster (more so if it is a girl!), what happened last week was different. As I crossed this girl who was stretching, I could hear her starting to run after me. I increased my pace so as to not to let her overtake. She finally caught up after some time, came alongside and told me that she wanted to run with me and that she is a fan. I told her, had I known I would not have stretched myself and as a consequence              made my last few kilometers in the Sun that much more difficult. When I was gloating over this high praise and returning on a high for my second loop, I crossed two young boys who were running slowly. After I crossed them, the younger of the two (must be not more than 10 years!) crossed me effortlessly and after going ahead of ran with his two hands locked behind his back. He led me till the labour statue. I felt it was God’s response to my swollen head from the young lady’s praise. After that whenever they see me, the youngster races me for a bit. Today both of them were running in the opposite direction leading a stray pup. The boy showed no interest in me. He seemed to have achieved the purpose of teaching me the lesson!
                Biscuit (my going on 8 Labrador!) has not been having it easy in the hot weather. He has taken note of the positions of counselors opening up for his breed at Mumbai airport. Considering his age, he would like to be a counselor than a fetcher at KLM airlines (earlier advertised on facebook!). He has no charm of foreign postings and would surely not dream of leaving me behind!

                My plan for the bowling power play (till May 29th ) is to run easy without looking at the strike/asking rate and just protecting my unbroken run, so wish me luck! 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Punctuality Hubli Passenger style

Biscuit really hates the weather in Chennai now. His daily walks in the morning are an exercise in disinterest which would put a middle aged Government employee to shame! Evening walks, thanks to the sea-breeze, notwithstanding the Couum fragrance, is better. More so as he has made friends with a few kids, but, nothing to beat his fan club at Delhi!
My morning starts have now been timed to perfection. I have been a Passenger train only in name as I do not normally take passengers on my run. My stops are what are technically called the operational halts in railway parlance, as I stop for water and biological breaks at my convenience. Punctuality enroute is therefore not a prime concern as long as I finish the run in time for my office. Having started to provide what is called a ‘request stop’ near the U.S. consulate office near Gemini circle for Manoj Bhat, I have started to observe the time by the Isaphani centre clock. Last few days I cross the place bang on 4:10 AM. Maintaining a fixed route and time has won me lot of friends from the all night petrol bunk employees, to coffee vend staff, morning walkers and tea sellers. The place and time of crossing is almost like how a train crosses trains in the opposite direction on a single line section at nominated stations when running on time! It is like people living alongside railway tracks ordering their timing as per passage of trains. I found the Sangeeta hotel supervisor waking up his boys when I crossed (guess he must be telling them Hubli Passenger has passed!).
Today a policeman (one with three stripes on his sleeve!) came from behind on his bike and slowed down next to me. I thought I was going well below the speed limit to get a speeding ticket. It turns out that he wanted to talk to me. He is from the Teynampet Police station and he said that he used to be 110Kgs about 10 months back and ridiculed by his station colleagues by the name ‘Robot’. He said that he took to regular walking after seeing me run and he looks visibly trim now. One autorickshaw driver and another walker rushed to our side thinking I was in trouble with the police to give me support and we all had a good discussion on the importance of exercise. He took a selfie with me and promised to send me the photo. I repeated the joke of not having a smartphone, the missed call is still awaited. He ostensibly wanted the photo to inspire his teenage son into exercising!
Mr. Vijayakumar (the policeman referred above!) would have missed me as work having kept us till 10 PM in office the previous day, I was almost resigned to miss my run today. To my surprise, my wife did not argue when I curtailed my sleep, spinning and tea session to leave on time for my run. Cotton level has reached perilously low point and if the supplies do not come in time from Hubli, spinning sessions would stop in about a week’s time. Must find out some local source quickly!
My experiments in Gandhigiri with kids on bikes continues. We have reached a stage of live and let live. They not knowing how running early in the morning can give one a kick and I resigned to the fact that they would graduate to endorphins after exhausting the kick of the adrenalin. I only tell them to wear protective gear for their heads.
The road cuttings on the Beach road have now been freshly laid and the run has become a pleasure. Another water outlet has come up on the other side of the road which is convenient on the way back. This is a fancy chocolate outlet named ‘Zuka’, it is famed to have a life size chocolate version of Rajnikanth. It suits me as I do not have to cross the road for the water break! It is good that serving water has become popular and high time it was considering the sweltering heat, Sun has turned on this summer! Found Sundar Purush coming out of his third break near Pycroft’s road colony when I reached that point. My guilt in resorting to daily water breaks was assuaged and ego pampered.
Even if I regularly run 32K each day, the monthly kilometerage would fall tantalizingly close to the four figure mark. The challenge would be not overstretch on some holiday to hit the four figure mark!

Friday, 15 April 2016

It is no laughing matter this!

Even though Gandhiji had made it a fashion statement for half naked men to go out in Khadi, sixty five years into independence the new generation sometimes cannot hide its mirth at seeing the country aspiring for Digital India with men still latching on to old fashion. In my new found maturity and control, I have been trying to laugh off such laughing episodes even if at my expense! When a young girl in resplendent clothes standing under the Labour statue (ironically, with half naked men straining at physical labour!) burst out into laughter at my attire, I smiled back at her and told her to ask her parents to take her to see Gandhi statue further down Marina Beach and tell her the story of Gandhi’s vow at Madurai. I am still looking for her since that encounter to see if she has been sensitized to Gandhi’s gear.
I sometimes cross celebrities during my morning run and for fear of rejection do not initiate conversation with them. Today when I was into my second loop from Lighthouse, just after crossing Netaji statue, I thought I saw comedian actor Vivek! Now, I am a huge fan of his, but, having crossed him after a brief hesitation, I thought he also showed some interest (could it be my gear!). I steeled myself and retraced my steps to talk to him. I found him also coming towards me. He initiated the conversation that he would like to speak to me. I was gushing like a star struck teenager who is tongue tied in the presence of its heartthrob. I recovered quickly and said that he can, but, only after I have asked him my questions. Next few moments it was a flurry of talk from me on how big fan I am of his vivek-ful comedy and how he has single handedly raised the standard of comedy in Tamil movies. In the process his questions about my running (particularly barefoot!) went largely unanswered. He obliged me with a snap with him which I am inserting to buttress my claim.
He asked his colleague to take my mobile number so that he could Whatsapp the photos to me. I had the presence of mind to tell him that I am smart, but, do not have a smart phone (now how is that for a joke on Vivek, we laughingly call such instances as ‘Hanuman ke High jump_aaa’!). I think I will be able to have normal conversation with him if and when I get to meet him again!
I was flying in my run after this encounter and took timeout when I crossed Sundar Purush to tell him the story. It took me a greater part of the rest of the run to get back to ground. I was an instant hit with my daughter and wife when I told them of this encounter. To think that I was in half a mind to bunk my run today! I am excluding other regular features in this post (including Biscuit’s antics!) to my subsequent posts.