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!