August 29, Chennai Beach, Marathon run in aid of Give Life Charity.
It was such a treat to be there. We weren’t doing the long 21 km run for serious runners but the short 7km Fun Run. And it wasn’t a Run but a longish Fun Walk. With thousands of people around us, most of them young people with corporate banners, good cheer was in abundance. There was little leeway for serious runners; they must have been out in the front.
We’d invited all the people we knew; family and friends, anyone we thought could walk the 7 km. But the urban middleclass Indian can come up with so many inventive excuses to be up and about at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. The more athletic types felt they hadn’t trained enough; they had to be up there in front with the runners and be there at the finish line in front too, it was a question of image. Some people couldn’t let go of their gym schedules which give them a big high . Some people just couldnt get up after Saturday night.
Finally, it was Sindhu , my sister Kapu, Prashanth’s friend Pratap who sportingly joined this group of females and me. I have cotton in my ears because of an ear infection. Darshini had to stay on the beach eating sundal because she is still throwing up a lot with morning sickness.
And we enjoyed it all. The hoopla with cheerleaders egging us all on, the camradiere which flowed abundantly all around, the fact of being there as a participant in morning exercise and maybe a little more, the sudden whoops from all the groups, the radio jockeys being as mad as only they can be, a little glimpse of celebrities, the rolling drum beats at the start and finish of Sivamani.. the knowledge that we were going to round it all off with a terrific breakfast which I didnt have to cook… it was a morning brilliant with promise and the sun wasnt too brilliant either, making it all more comfortable.
There were as always, little vignettes that made it all more special. A lady leading her little’ Hutch dog’ (Im too lazy right now to look up the breed) that got terribly photographed, one girl who brought a lot of snacks and water in a backpack on wheels, fellows who wore T-shirts saying ‘Free Hug’ who got pondered over, the sad trash and debris left behind by the walkers, traffic waiting patiently on the sideroads to be let free again to go and finally, walking across the lovely Napier bridge where, normally only vehicles are zooming by.
It was a great morning and made me so glad Im in Chennai right now so I could participate. My sis said she was glad too, that I’d come; as otherwise she never would have been there although she’s lived in Chennai for many years. When something is in your neighbourhood, you just never go, it takes an outsider to see the opportunites in your life.