Thursday, February 4, 2016

Parvati- Taljai cross country-..My most loved playground to train for the mountains

Probably, I may have been the pioneer, as I talk about 1989-1992 time frame. The place was a bit scary..I know at least one case of murder And lot of robbery.. A bit about my daily routine

It is almost 6:15PM, when theTATA motors bus reaches home. There is still time to do a hill run. I scramble up the dusty stairs to my room for a quick change of clothes. Dressed in a Cotton tennis T-shirt and cotton shorts size 9 Bata Power shoes I ride on my Ind Suzuki, to the Parvati Hillock. Ignoring, the (unofficial) guy who asks for parking ticket, I start with my usual warmup i.e. climb the stairs towards the temple. Snubbing the crowd, I run towards the backside of the temple and start the hill run. It has now been a routine for a month, as I prepare for an expedition.
The parvati watertanks towards my right are leaking water and I do my usual skip on the stones, without wetting my shoes. As I veer to my right, the small stone quarry I start up the slope of the first hillock. People are planting saplings. Few carry cans of water to the top. The hot wind rustles the few grown saplings and I wonder, will these guys keep up. The hill is otherwise just gravel and stones. I come to a slight descend in a col and then bounce up the second hill and then run towards the third. The sun has almost set on my right. The tin roofs of the slums shines in a pale orange, the river, shines, with a bleak claim, that it still has the right to flow through Pune. The hills beyond are darker.
I come to the third hill. There is a young man on the top, around his mid-thirties. I have seen him here often. He does not run or walk, but he sits there alone, observing the sunset. While he relishes on the diminishing light, I am challenged by the thought of running through darkness. At Waghjai temple I take left and scramble into Taljai forest zone. This plateau is bleak but there is a clump of greens higher up. I cut straight through the forest. There is some dirt track that loops but still under construction. I do bit of steeple chase through the trees and branches on this small narrow goat path. Something moves in the bushes by my side. A peacock ‘meaows ‘ deep in the shrubs.
Within the entire month I have noticed hardly 4-5 people in this area. There is no one today. Through this daily run, I trample upon all the negative feelings and focus on my performance. I exist alone and there is no one to beat. I should be very strong, as strong as needed for a climber to be. As I increase my speed up slope, gasping for breath I come to the taljai park. Few kids from the slum are around. I do some quick Swedish exercises and start on my way back through the forest. Something moves in the bushes. It’s a down slope and I gather more speed..Its Waghjai temple again.
Since its dark I cannot do the hillocks again while returning and I run along the shahu college track. Few other runners training for the marathon, give me a chase. I cannot give up to someone from a road race. The climber rises and I sprint to the water tanks and up the Parvati. I am in a BLAH mood. All the people have returned and this is just my time. The wall underneath the temple is virgin. I sneak up to half of it and do some traverse moves. It is a good rock. I get down as soon as I see thee watchman.
Jog back down Parvati to my Bike.
My routine practice can get hampered that even a 10 minute delay in my bus time can ruin my training. The return run is done almost in darkness, with the limited night vision that I possess. But never did I fall or even stumble.
Many years later I revisited Taljai. The place has drastically changed from the barren landscape to a dense shrubbery. A hill run at 7PM inside the loops may be bit risky without a torch. But we have quite a crowd on thiss hill now-a-days.
There have been other hill runs but nothing has ever been the same to my Parvati-Taljai- Ambegaon hill runs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My first coach

"This boy has a terrible handwriting. The horizontal line in "A" is slanted.."H" is inclined"." Complained my Engineering drawing teacher to his supervisor.
I was already miserable, as he would not sign my Engineering drawing sheets for what he thought was not up-to the mark. This was the third time, I redrew the sheets.
The "Provost" was ill famed for his temper and I was one in direct line of fire for being the worst of the Four. M.G.G. looked at my sheets and then looked at the provost. "I do not see anything bad with his sheets. Good job.".
The "Provost" was quick to reply, "It's only because he drew it for the third time.". By doing so opening a gate to further humiliation.
"Why should everyone have a nice handwriting? What does it fetch?"..I had wondered. I remembered my early years in school. "Ram Milan Singh" the teachers cane had delivered the juiciest, for bad handwriting. I had just switched to the fountain pen from my Graphite pencil.
M.G.G. asked, "What do you want to be?". I was dumb.
I muttered, " Draughtsman." If my Handwriting is not that great, it seemed a tall aim.
"And then?", He continued to ask. I mused, " Perhaps, A designer?"
"And Then?", he asked again. I felt very shy and embarassed, "Engineer". I spoke the unthinkable.
"And then" he continued till I had no dreams..I had no answer.
The "Provost" of my prison was confused. As an instructor, he thought that I did not deserve that kind of talk, till my handwriting was good enough for him.
My coach was working on me to ask for a taller goal. Build confidence and give me an ability to dream. One ray of hope kindled in the dark cell for a 16 year old boy, away from his home. There were other unfortunate souls, who did not get M.G.G's guidance.
Or perhaps it is also true, "Not everyone can be coached."
For people like me, its is the power of a question versus an 'instruction'. (Direction). To one who rebels, you could ask questions? The coach invested in me for future. No direct measurements of my performance.
My Instructor directed..Must Do.. or Black sheep.
Are you being an instructive manager?
I wonder; How many lives were ruined for need to improve handwriting and line work. And many such mundane tasks that fetch marks but get you nothing in life.
It seems so ridiculous, today, when you have cad to give you finest output and even drawings can be redundant, the "trade", for which I trained is almost obsolete. Handwriting can be anything..the mind that thinks fast and the hand cannot keep up with..will have weird handwriting. Design is a trade that can never die. My pride is, what I designed, works and can be seen on the roads in many vehicles. The drawings may have been not "upto mark". But they make good things.
The coaching asked me to think, where I want to be. So I may have to dream and answer the question.
You may want to ask the same. Do you feel stuck in a rut? What do you do about it?
Why do you feel the "rut" is a "rut"? Can you do anything better with the "rut"?
Why a "problem" is a "Problem"? Do you not have the power to search for an answer? Or must you ask and get answered back , "Good Question?" and get back a stupid answer which already is in your mind.
Must you seek confirmation for everything? Your talent?
Do you seek a certificate for everything i.e. to be "recorded" as good?
What M.G.G said to me, I still extend to everyday life. I just need to work on problem till I have all possible solutions.
The choice of the solution does not always have to be correct. Few of my friends see as a "failed decision".
I am perfectly fine if I did not get their "Certificate".
However, I am still frustrated with few decisions I make, as I may forget the situations around them.
Also, I have forgotten a bit to Dream. I should tell myself to do it at times.. Then work on it.

P.S: M.G.G. was very innovative, when teaching. He is still loved by his students. ,I perhaps, took one more thing from him i.e. Sketching humans, which I had thought the most difficult thing to do. When students were at work, he used to sketch one of us.