Friday, January 4, 2013

Run Mumbai Run

“Xavy! Ameet! Mukesh! I’m excited & infact nervous about completing 21 kms of run tomorrow morning.” – I tell my friend, also my flat-mate, while setting up an alarm of 03:00 AM.
“Dude. Chuck that. All possible ONLY if you wake up on time, which I’m sure you won’t. “– replied Xavy.
“We will see. Ka-Chow!” – I snub back before the shutters of my eyes roll  down slowly and in peace.

Ringggg.. “Throw that phone out of the window someone.” The alarm doesn’t, but my other flat-mates voice wakes me up for the day, which was to witness an awesome proceedings.
Gradually, I start receiving calls from everyone I know who are participating in the Marathon to check if I was awake or not. It's Marathon mania!

Marathons are usually long running events, where runners participate to run on roads for 40 - 42 kms. There are of course different categories for running the Marathon. You can run just 6 kms or run a half marathon!

I’m at the starting point in Bandra, where this early morning, there is a huge crowd of runners far and by. I have my BIB number on my company’s T-shirt, especially designed for the Marathon participants, which lists down all the NGOs that we have been associated with.

I stand in the queue with my friends and colleagues amidst this big stream of people all around us. Man is always more important than the things that exists around. This was proved by the waves of people who have shown up  well before the Sun lord  on this pleasant Sunday morning, in a city where a peace sleep after a tiring day is the biggest spiritual feeling. They made this event the most count as the most successful Marathon in India, and am sure, soon the globe will look up to it. 

And, you can never take the credit away from the beautiful city of Mumbai. Mumbai, is the city of dreams, and ask many souls who have come to this city, how it has always nurtured their true dedication. It does test you, but if you pass, it never shies away from giving you what you deserve.

Mumbai never complains. It holds many dreams, many aspirations, and many stories every day, every hour. It has seen some of the horrifying days, sometimes from it's own people, it has fed. But then, she never bows, down, she looks into the eyes of people who aspire her, and stands back on her knees, no matter how wounded she may be. Mumbai is an example to our man-kind, of how without demanding even a passing recognition, she gives us a lot. Shouldn’t it be our duty as well, in return, to respect her, keep it CLEAN atleast? Is that too much to ask for?

My legs could feel what my hands were talking, and vice-a-versa. Half Marathon.

“Dude, it’s our time to start soon. Best of Luck!”
“Thanks ya!” – I can feel my vain. “Hope I don’t sleep midway. 21 kms is way too much! Hah!”

I see the wave of people in front of us start running. The fourth last row to me vanishes on the sea-link, third-last, second last, and then it’s us!

I pass the starting tracker with some red beams, and I’m in the air. I run with my full strength and find myself charged up with some kind of spiritual feeling.  It was phenomenal.
“Run Mumbai Run” – shouts someone ahead of us.

I see reporters on the side lanes clicking us. It’s Mumbai on the run. I soon let lose my nervousness, and find myself in the pool of people cheering, merry. There is some guy with the Team India’s jersey, there’s someone, with Gandhi-topi, then there’s some girl with I-pod on. Colourful people, colourful lives running. Even spot a physically challenged lad in his teens, surpass me quick. I feel like going and patting him, but I feel I shouldn’t remind this young lad of something, and let him run free. Someone needs to pat me, as he was way quicker than I was.

The mighty Bandra-Worli Sea-Link was lit-up with aspirants, cheerful voices, joyful street-lights. Many flaunting the camera clicks. It was an experience that doesn’t fade away from memory so easily. 

I speed up and finish the sea-link and on the main, land, next to the curve is the loo. Okay Break!

After a break, I’m on the run again, seeing a lot of people covering the streets, the neighborhoods all out with the Sun Lord slowly blinking his eye lids. These are the Mumbaikars, cheering each one runner, bucking up the one puffing his breathes, clapping and roaring. This electrifies the already puffing me. The spirit is lively.
Crossing Worli was so easy, now at Mahalaxmi, where the Sun lord is already smiling and majestic Haji Ali dargah is a splendid watch early morning, my feet feel the heat. Heat, in the real sense. Blisters on my leg, and I feel like some pebbles are into my shoes.
(Picture: Mahalaxmi Circle - Imagine the picturesque with humans and not cars on 20th Jan'2013)
I don’t stop, I run up the little hilly terrain, where music is played with little kids dancing to encourage us all. Cookies, glucose distributed by the neighborhoods, the spirit is amazing. Familiar colleagues, friends cheering us all up, and yeah they get the return too, when I’m kind of charged. I was witnessing the festivity and lost deep forgetting everything. A day before, I was lost in brain-storming the exciting idea. I would be lost tomorrow too, but then, this is the time to set myself loose and run in the spirit. Many like me would be, someone for some examination or result, someone for somebody’s health or wealth, someone for finding a way to marrying his girl-friend, some net-addict would have forgotten what tweets or posts mean. Run was the only LIKE button to press.  

At the Marine Drive, Lord Sun’s meditation seemed kind of intensified, subtly expressing the nature of the day.  I targeted 3 hours to finish the Half-Marathon. I was around Churchgate station when the clock hit three hours from the time I started.  The loud of people around us is wild. When I was finally at the finish area at CST Terminus, I see some African athletes finishing the lines. These are the winners of Full Marathon. Okay embarrassing that they finishing double the kilometers when I managed to finish half, but then cheers to them. After all it’s cheese, Bikaneri bhujias, pastry shops in & around Bandra that win. Not to forget, the Ahmedabadi brunches & the royal Rajasthani feasts!

I managed to finish the Marathon of 21 kilometers in 03Hours 07 minutes. A 55+ colleague I knew finished way before me, by only brisking his way. A 40+ another fellow I knew was minutes ahead of me. Honestly, you can finish too. If you think you not the part of Marathon this year, honestly you still can be. Everyone here was running for cause.

I liked an idea where the friends of each running the Marathon had decided to donate some amount if his friend finishes in some given time. For ex, A & B are pals. A is the runner, and B tells him – ‘Hey! I’m a student, what..I contribute $x if you finish the race in this given time.” Or “I encourage your spirit, $y for you to finish the race”. They aren’t poking, they aren’t doubting, but they are trying to find a classy way to contribute to some NGO, he may be running for. As they say, a drop makes an ocean, a penny by 100 people a runner knows make what? Imagine the same for each runner. 

Again, I don’t wana sound like am asking people to do charity, that’s not my style of writing. I want you to be in the spirit. The spirit of this city, it’s roads warming up like burning tyres with the runners paddling their way towards CST on 20th January. You can stand anywhere from Bandra to CST to boost the morale. You never know a Parle-G a runner pops in from your plate, is worth an effort. Even your presence to cheer the puffin ones is worth a memory. I hardly remember the faces smiling and cheering, but I remember the affectionate energy those little kids, those aunts, and ladies were out greeting us, cheering us with.

Beauty about atleast this Marathon, no one is left-out. You still can be a part, and that’s what is spiritual about it. I could have used the word ‘sexy’ for some sane readers, but honestly, am sure that doesn’t gives out the expression which this ‘spiritual’ word surely does, despite how ‘anti-spiritual’ we think you may be. For those running, the Marathon, I never practiced to run the last Marathon. For me, planning for practicing with pals, was only about waking up & feeling the pleasant morning, which I usually fail to. After-all, it is the best time of the day! 

And, you need to credit the way it was organized by the sponsors,  organizations. Waiting for this year’s Marathon bag full of goodies.

Again, you still can be a part of this race, where everyone is the winner. Bus, spirit chaiye! I don’t know if they play the Kolaveri remix at the start of the race this time, but whosoeva is running or cheering, do greet out loud the electrifying ‘Run Mumbai Run’ chant. So, to brighten up someone’s future, to lighten up someone’s life...........................Run Mumbai Run!

(P.S. - Ignore typos, if any. I post, once jotted :-P)


Neha said...

Loved the description of Mumbai. Especially the spirit of Mumbai. Making a blind-eye too the grammar mistakes in the write up I guess I can look forward to being a part of this year's marathon. Nice! :)

Prabhakar said...

A marathon blog abt the marathon....ohh

MIHIR said...

Cool Shashi....nicely put the Mumbai's spirit!!

navneet raghuram said...

nice description :)

aakash singh said...

good read,,especially the paragraph after the photgraph,,putting different situations nd different people in to a common realm finally,,good evolution as a writer... :)

Ajay Kumar said...

Shashi, Why don't you write a book...

pooja vashi said...

Inspiring... I am participating in the next marathon.