I knew that the runner crowd at Marina would resemble the scene of the Library at my college after the day of the exam, yes I am referring to the Chennai Marathon which attracted a record number of runners yesterday. The decision regarding whether to run on the day of the marathon when major part of my route coincides with the marathon route was a dicey one and if my station duty the previous night and the much maligned punctuality of Indian Railways saved me from the dilemma.
True to expectation the route today was bereft of the trademark yellow Tees’, but, the usual walking crowd and an awesome weather did not disappoint me. My puppy friends near the Marina swimming pool who have been playing hide and seek in this New year kept faith with my regularity and punctuality and gave me a rousing welcome.
The crowds continue to throng outside the final resting place of the demised CM Amma even after more than a month having passed since her death. I am tempted to take a break and visit her Samadhi, but, I am hoping to get a private audience after the crowds subside. The entrepreneurial spirit of the tea vendors has set up a few vends on cycle near the place. They tried tempting me with their fare in the first few days, but, now they have now switched to ribbing each other about running with me. Even though there have been question marks over her means, but, the unabated crowds thronging her resting place makes me rethink the Gandhian adage of means being as important as the ends!
The other epochal event since I last went to press was the ‘Note ban’. I have swung widely about whether it was good or bad during the 50 day period it has played out. The crowds outside the ATM’s, I cross during my run, have dwindled, but, whether it is lack of cash in the ATM’s or the appetite of the public is not clear. The cyclone Varda did steal the thunder from mundane matters like cash and flattened many trees in its path as the trial by elements in month of December of this chosen city continued. The devastation caused to the communication networks compounded the miseries of the cashless people. The gnarled remains of trees still lying, with the civic authorities running out of places of disposal, present a sad scene. The view from my 5th floor balcony gives a clear view of the famed cake and apparel joints across the road, the foliage thinned like the receding hairline of a middle aged man.
Coming back to my morning run today, the kids near the Monroe statue stopped me and asked if I participated in the marathon run the previous day. I told them my usual answer that I do not pay for what comes free! The usual crowd of army runners and the kids on skates around the Island ground gave me the feeling that it was Business as Usual!