There is a lot of excitement in Biscuit’s life. A cat has littered and he has kittens popping out of nook and corner during his morning walk. On the flip side, the colony road is being black topped. He hates the sound of the machinery and the heat and dust. His movements during the walks if severely restricted to lanes from where he cannot see or hear those monsters!
My good run from the birthday continues and after a long time eleven days of continuous morning runs must be a record of sorts. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed and touching table-top as I key in this. The heat however has ensured that there is no run longer than the 32K! I have now lowered my sights to having longest stretch of continuous runs even if there are no full marathons even on holidays. I am compensating by extending the spinning sessions on the charkha. As the latest lot of spun yarn has gone for weaving, I shall remember to work out the length of yarn required for one meter of cloth (this is the most frequently asked question other than one on the length of yarn I am able to spin in an one hour session!).
There is this guy I cross near the church opposite M.O.P Vaishnavi college when I on my outward run in the morning. My attempts at engaging him by waving as I cross him have largely been ignored by him. I was happy when he looked up to talk to me a few days back. He very roughly (first in Tamil and then in English) ordered to run on the edge of the road. I reacted angrily by saying that I shall not reply to him till he talks to me politely. It would have escalated to an ugly spat but for the beat policeman (who is my friend !) intervening and telling me to carry on and that he would educate the ignoramus on why the Hubli passenger takes the middle path! I felt bad for quite some time after that to my angry reaction. Was it because the vanity in me expects my simplicity in running gear to be appreciated and that I am not willing to be treated like a commoner? It dawned on me that it is easier to shed clothes than the oversized ego which has been nurtured for so many years. I must be learning as when two youngsters on a bike crossed me and loudly commented on the lack of vegetation on my top storey. I retorted mildly that they should relish their crowning glories while the going was good as the same was not permanent. I do not know if they got the repartee, but, I sure was proud of my cool response!
My friend list among the tea vendors on the route keeps growing. When one of their customers tries to stop me for a question, the vendor after greeting me waves me on, taking the responsibility of bringing their clientele up to date on my running routine.
The police guard outside the State secretariat at Fort stopped me today to ask whether barefoot running does not aggravate the knees. I explained as to how barefoot running makes one mindful and how the feet land softly, which in turn means less jerk all the bones and joints from foot to neck. He went back to his post thinking on the information received, but, I must be prepared for further supplementary question the related topics!
While there are many armed forces personnel encountered during my run, but, this person in workmen overall whom I cross outside the Madras Port Trust building begs a few questions. Today my curiosity got the better of me. It came out that he is on night shift and he takes 45 minutes to an hour before his break of shift to get his daily quota of exercise. He told me that when he is on day shift he shifts to walk in the evening before breaking duty. This seems to be a good way for deskbound staff like us at work. Managements must encourage such walking breaks to beat the battle of the bulge! I claimed kinship with him by telling him that my father-in-law (god bless his soul!) was an ex-Port trust employee too!
Then there is this baba who wears flowing saffron robe and we invariably cross near Napier bridge and road outside Flag staff house during my second loop every day. Today we stopped for a chat. It turns out that he walks up to Sowcarpet every day (I could not get the place from where he comes clearly!). With that the wooing of the Khaki and Saffron and stitching of a broad based coalition of the Khadi-Khaki and Saffron has started.
It is common to see runners running in pairs, but, when I spotted and stopped the power-puff girls ( my name for the Mrs. Harishankar Krishnaswami and Sita Viswanathan duo!) walking together for two days in a row now, I asked them if they were taking a walking break? Turns out that one of them is recovering from an injury and the other is accompanying her on a walk. The icing on the cake was matter of fact statement of the injured runner that her friend was her soul mate and they would run only after both are fit to run. Now, any runner will accept that for a fit person to deign to walk instead of running is akin to fasting in the face of a fully loaded buffet table. Long live their friendship and here’s wishing the lady speedy and complete recovery!
The duration of the daily run has ranged from 3:30 to 3:40 irrespective of the physical and mental state at the start of the run. It only means that in longer runs as in life it all evens out, what is important is to show up each day!