Sunday, January 18, 2009

A (half) marathon experience!

My feet are aching, lower legs especially, and am feeling a bit drowsy, even after sleeping for 2.5 hours in the afternoon. That pretty much tells you what I was up to today (please, no mischievous guesses!). yes, I ran (and walked) and somehow completed the half-marathon (21 kms) along with 20000 other Mumbaikars & some foreigners as well, and am glad to say this, am feeling a sense of satisfaction and happiness when I look back at the entire experience of about 3.5 hours!

I won’t go into the usual suspects when it comes to describing the experience, namely the Mumbai spirit (though I cant leave that out as wellJ), or even more broadly the human spirit, but it would suffice to say that I, and am sure everyone who had taken part or even watched it from the side, had a whale of a time!

Right from reaching the starting point at 6.30 in the morning after waking up at 5, to starting off with resonant cries of “Bharat Mata ki Jai!”, all the contestants and non-contestants (like me!) poured out into the South Mumbai streets in the slight early morning chill, and we saw the sun rise on us as we traversed the Marine Drive (doing so, I fulfilled a long-standing wish of mine- running on Marine Drive!). I realized after 4 kms of running that its prudent not to overestimate my fitness, and combined running with walking for the rest of the course.

Sorry guys, but am feeling a compelling need to come back to Mumbai and human spirit, because, at the end of the day, those are pictures that stay with you- Old couples running together, a group of autistic people being led by the volunteers, their eyes all the while displaying their enthusiasm and happiness at being able to be part of something our so-called ‘normal’ society indulges in, disabled people on wheelchairs pedaling away with gusto, strangers calling out and waving to each other while walking/running, people cheering from the sidelines with words like” Come on!”, “Run!”, “There is always hope!”, a little bespectacled child standing on the sidewalk with a wide grin on his face, holding a beautifully painted India flag on a piece of paper with the words “Chak de India!”, groups of volunteers offering water and ice packs, people coming out from their homes with bottles of water, packets of biscuits and fruits for complete strangers, smile on their faces and encouraging words on their lips- and many many more!

These are the things I’ll take away with me, and when I sit back and wonder what it was that kept me going, I can only think of these images, the entire atmosphere and the whole lot of people who kept going. In a way, I guess that’s what life is all about, right? Keeping going, keeping the flagging body going with the help of an indomitable sprit and will of mind, despite setbacks (Sorry guys, getting a bit carried away here, but you get the point!)

I have made a commitment to myself to keep running every year, and every time I’ll feel down or depressed at what life is dealing me with, or things around me seem unfair, or there is despair all around, all I need to do is to think of the face of the autistic and the wheelchair-bound people, the sheer hope and happiness radiating from them, and I’ll know, as in that recent song, “Everything’s gonna be all right!!”

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009- A wish-list!!!

Hmmm, well, so its 2009! 9 years into the new millennium and it just feels yesterday we were caught up with the y2k problem, which incidentally was the most memorable reminder of the new millenium, yes, such are the ironical times we live in!!

So, my hyperactive idle brain thought (well, I’m at home sweet home, you see!), why not ramble on something about the coming year, and what would we want from it. I initially thought I’d write something heavy, which I like doing, but then realized I’m not angry enough at this pointJ

So here goes, my own wish list for 2009:

Ø Starting with cricket (I’m a fanatic you see!), would love to see Dhoni send Zaheer & Bhajji to open the batting, given his penchant for surprising his opponents, & maybe bring himself on as the opening bowler, and have Venky Prasad with his super-slomo bouncers at the other end, which will dip on the batsmen with the speed of a lawn-mower, and the batsmen would get out bored of waiting for the ball at the wicket
Ø Coming to the other great Indian obsession- Bollywood, I’ve heard from reliable sources that Sanjay Dutt is building 12-pack abs (!!) after the 8-pack blitz we have had to endure from boy-man Aamir Khan. I wish Sanju baba and his packs well, and hope for the perennial no-hoper and woman-groper Shakti Kapoor to gun for 16 packs (not sure where the other packs would fit in one’s body, maybe a couple at the back and a few on the legs!)
Ø How can I forget the greatest Indian obsession-politics? Of course, given the current lot of rock stars we have in office, nothing much remains to be said, but with the general elections slated for this year, how about wishing for the great Dalit hope and messiah Mayawati to play the king-maker in an expectedly hung parliament and wrest the post of the prime minister of our country! That way we will soon have her statues adorning all important and critical public institutions like Nirmala(for the uninitiated- chain of super-clean and comfy public toilets), barber shops (given her stylish mane) and we would have only one national holiday- her birthday which would be celebrated with much pomp and prominent guests like Michael ‘Whacko’ Jackson, Bappi ‘the gold plated’ Lahiri & Samantha ‘thunder-thigh’ Fox would be asked to perform for the stunned audience!!
Ø Of course, how can I forget all of us, I mean all of you readers, many of whom have either already bitten the forbidden passion fruit, the eternal poison ivy, undertaken the mother of all battles- marriage, or are about to do so this year! Yes, I know there are many of us whose heads are on the chopping block, and the hour that would define our future is nigh, but fear not my friends, for we will fight till the finish, what say??

Well, enough of rambling on, and for those of you who have managed to reach this point without losing your mind, and are searching for me to beat me up, I’m not reachable currently, because I’m working on developing a half-pack stomach, which will be unveiled shortly!!