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!