Today, I chanced upon this snap in the archives.
There we were, in Pebble Beach. California. Or thereabouts. Driving through a Californian summer. Now and then, stopping to soak in lung fulls of the Pacific air and indulge in uninhibited visual gluttony, soaking up the scenery and the sights.
I did what other tourists normally do. Click pictures. Eat like a pig. Click more pictures. Make funny noises. Click more pictures. And generally gape.
Which is when, the eye caught the old man running. He was doing a steady pace. Not that I hadn’t seen an old man run. I run with several who, with their enthusiasm and effort, drive shame into me with seemingly no effort at all. But then, it was 2.00 PM in the afternoon and this old man was running. No other runner on the road.
By Mumbai standards, well that is a step higher than ‘weird’! For one, the heat will vaporize you. Another reason could be, no actually, that vapourise threat is reason enough.
But this was California. Here was this man. Running a steady doddering run, with an adorable spirit and a certain incalculable antiquity.
Memories came sprinting back, as I looked at this picture today. Especially so because laziness has been coursing my veins for a while now.
Well, well, it’s a long story. I have formed part of the problem.
Several readers know that I enjoy a good run. These pages have seen how it all started with an innocuous ‘come see what we do’ invitation from a friend who was into running. It took about the time it took for your eyes to come down to reading this line from the line above. That’s all. That’s the time it took for me to commence running. I was running and enjoying it!
This year the problem compounded.
In a fit of demented bluster, I registered to run a full marathon to be run in January. That is 42 kilometers for the uninitiated. To those that have only seen the Kenyans run on TV and make it seem as easy as turning in your bed, I can only say, that running the full marathon, for bloated blokes with a sweet tooth and sorry food cycles, is like aiming for the moon with a Diwali pistol.
But then, like other good things with grand intentions, the registration was made in right earnest. As soon as the registration was done, investments were made. A new watch was bought. A watch http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/accutane_generic.html that displays kilometers run. Speed at which the running is happening, calories burnt etc etc ! By the way, as a bonus and almost as an afterthought, it also shows the time.
So I have all these details on my wrist. These days its not the tail that wags the dog. Details wag the dog! Somewhere, between all the calculations and math, the joy of running slipped. Damn, Numbers !
To exponentially compound matters, I realize that I have dutifully informed anyone who lingered in my company for more than two minutes that I am into running and the marathon will be attempted this year.
Typical responses have followed. Always preceded by a sympathetic look and a shake of a head, that seem to indicate the unspoken words of ‘oh, what has befallen you’.
‘It will be ok’. They say. Accompanied by an arch of an eyebrow and with as much energy that a scintillating bureaucrat puts in his face while dealing with a cyclone victim.
My runs have taken a nosedive over the last couple of months with an elegance of a Olympic diver. Slowly and steadily, lethargy has pitched a tent. Inches in the waist have grown like wild grass at the first sight of rain. These days, I feel the weight of a large earth moving equipment juggle in me, every time I run !
But you see, I haven’t been sitting idle. Ofcourse, I have been busy. Weekends have flown by like aircrafts doing practice sorties. Some have also crashed.
But all that is in the past. Today, this man woke me up. This old man that I caught half a glimpse of on a bright and sunny afternoon in another part of the world, has shaken me up.
There is one goal now. As far as the running, that is! To complete the marathon in January. Whatever time it takes. To run with no ‘time’ in mind. Running for fun. Running to just enjoy the course and see how far two legs can take me. That suddenly seems doable.
For all those, that have a sudden outpouring of love and want to gift me with sweets, payasam and such else, hold on, till January. If you are insistent, well, I will have one bite. Only one. Ok ?
In the mean time, wish me luck and watch this space.