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!