Piket Kendriya Vidyalaya (Secunderabad) 1st Std 1st day. A rainy one.
My first day in primary school, I did not know a word of Hindi or English. I was taught Marathi in my K.G. Half of my class was busy weeping. I felt like a ‘kati patang’ after my father left me.
The lessons began. The first chapter said.. John, Mary, Mr Bell Mrs Bell. (Why was the “H” needed in John. Why Mr. instead of mister? These were the takeaways of a more confused mind.
The school ended early on the first day. My Father did not know and I faintly remembered the way to the MES office from my school. My Classmate and I started the walk, trying to find our way to the MES office, where my father worked as a Draftsman.
I remember the guard room, where my Classmate and I were blocked and detained. I had waited for an Hour. My Classmate was a girl and she made me as uncomfortable, as any other girl. It was raining outside and our faces also rained with tears. The guard was trying an earnest consolation. Finally, father arrived on his Lamberetta and sanity returned.
Hyderabad holds a special place in my heart. The place where I began my kindergarten, was also the place I got lost, first.
Later in my life it is also the place, where I ran my first Barefoot Marathon in 2012. I ran along Tankbund, via Secunderabad..My KV school and MES area was reduced to a jogging distance from People’s Plaza.
I have crossed 51 years this July. Hopefully, more wisdom was gained by virtue of the aging process. Money relates to extravagance and I took upon myself to aim for a more modest lifestyle. I have been running for 6 years now, but it has never benefitted Weight loss. After a chat with my friend , Parag Dongre , on an evening run at racecourse, I started accounting for everything I ate.
I cut down free sugar, almost completely. All this is not needed, as there is no bad news in my medical reports. It is an experiment, where I try to eliminate, what is not really needed.
It is a learning, to be able to give up “desire”/ “Yearning”. Maybe, I can understand Master Oogway a little better. I walk away from “Demanding” and “overwhelming” people. Live Free and happy.
The painful part? I have done it before 3 years ago, when I quit smoking, the cold turkey way. So why not Alcohol? I cut down this ‘unnecessary thing’ as well for 2 months. Green Tea 1.2 lt per day. Black coffee. Anything that leaves an aftertaste of sugar is avoided. No Bakery. New addition: Raisins/ nuts/ Plums/ dates/ Dry figs.. I realize, I am all set to reduce. I am still occasionally eat non veg and I have not felt the need of giving this up completely. (yet)
I am glad, when I achieved my BMI limit after many many years. It has been a 5kg loss and I realize, I now reduce even without exercise. But then , I make a mistake. I have stopped workouts and I am engrossed in my Paintings. The mind is not cheerful. The frozen shoulder is back after just 9 km run.
A weekend run of 9 km on Sat Sun is All I do for last 1.5 months. A pathetic shape for any serious marathon. I have not done any 30 km run. Worse, I have not even crossed 12 km for 1.5 months.
It has been 2 pathetic runs a week! Situation is bad and I decide to pull out of the marathon.
Sujit and Umesh try to talk me out of my shell. I consider. If my mind 'feels good', I may attempt. Since I am not keen on finish, I may go straight with the half marathon crowd and do just 30km.. I don’t need the medal junk anyway.
My intent of this write-up is not to glorify my run. The run is a state of meditation that I have not much to write about. I should jot down things that made my run good.
The day earlier, I had a nice Hyderabad riceplate. The train journey with my friends gave me a positive frame of mind. Bhardwaj had collected all the stuff earlier so we got more time to rest pre race day. I drank enerzal two days before race, a packet a day.
During the run, A constant pace of ~ 6:30 was maintained by me till 30 km mark. Electrolyte (couple of glasses whenever I felt) and banana+ salt. Shoulder stretches/ ran with raised arms/ shrugged shoulders etc..I did not have a frozen shoulder through out the run.
The 5 hr bus was ahead of me. I used this to retain constant pace.
Switched on music at km15..full blast. I was in my own world..The crowd was just like hinderance traffic and I was on autopilot
Km 30.. The road started biting the barefeet. I focused on music..I realize I like the music company to switch off and be alone. Continuous music helped me. The “buses” came and went but I was distant in my own world. The biting road is ignored, as music heals the wounds.
Entered the university and I saw Umesh.. It meant that I was doing good time.
The music connection in my phone is mostly hard rock music and few pop songs. This is the only stuff I listen to, when I run. Then, a very strange thing happened. It was 3 km to go and a Bhajan played on my phone.
Imagine a Bhajan after Def Leppard number. So out of place! But I did not fast forward.
It was a Ganapati bhajan. Must have been some Whatsapp forward that got added to the playlist.
Is it a message from God? Can I use it as a Commandment? Just like the last few warnings I received from Him when I gave up smoking?
I confess: It has been a very rough and tough time in my life. I believe that faith and trust work, but there is always a doubt; What if they do not? What if trust is betrayed? Can you re-trust? Can I be calm and simple and not be prey to politics?
I don’t cling to god, as I plan to remain strong, to believe in myself. If life has been giving me lemons, but it’s up to me to claw and rise again, consume the lemonade. I must believe in myself.
Tears well in my eyes, I realize my family is with me on my run. I must message them my time, as soon as I complete. The Vighnaharta bhajan paves the path for me to conquer myself.
A girl overtakes me with increased pace. If she can so can I. I use the positivity of others. I remember all the outstretched hands from the crowd. The small hands that I grazed to grab power they lent. "Touch here for power"..
I enter the stadium. The 5 hr bus is waiting outside.. so I must be well within time.
I hit the stadium mat..Bit of confusion as half marathon and full marathon have a division. I steer to my right and go ahead full steam gallop. A medal around my neck I stop my runkeeper. Its 4:56.
My Personal best.. That too in Hyderabad. I realize that I can easily run 10 more kms with this splendid weather..All this when I thought of a finish time of 5:30- 6 hrs.
Running a 30km is not a prerequisite.. Nor is a 20km.
As a friend says- It is all in the mind.
This event has been very special for me and I have jotted down few habit changes that I made in my life. Wish you all very best. Believe in yourself, when the chips are down.
It has been a long Chautauqua from the Piket Kendriya Vidyalaya to Gachibowli stadium.