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!

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