Ramblings of a Marathon Support Group Member

I do not wish to belittle the achievement by stating it as another marathon. Nevertheless, yesterday my husband finished another marathon along with 2 of our close friends.

The arduous hours of training, the “interesting” pain(Yes – he does state that the wrenching pain is interesting!), the accompanying medal were all taken in the spirit of a true sportsman. While volumes get written about the marathoners, nothing gets written about the support groups (in this case, a sturdy troupe comprising of the 3 wives, 1 toddler and a teenager). So, I have decided to pen the support experience.

Through the training sessions and the carb-loading phase prior to the Marathon, the support group has no mean task. There you are, with your unswerving loyalty to your loved ones, dishing out all the wonderful dishes. There is the potato fry (just the right shade of golden with the crispy texture), the fluffy rice and the creamy soups. On the subject of potatoes, I could swear they mock you from the frying pan, and just would not stop enticing you till the darn dish is over. I could feel the extra burden during the carb-loading phase. The only thing I can thank God for, is that the carb-loading is a short span of time. I ran a pantry in the kitchen serving hot dishes every 3 hours. You could judge by the loose pajamas I wore that day to make room for the extra carbs.

All the carbs safely tucked in, the marathon day arrived. While the runners braved the early morning weather to venture into the first part of their marathon, we, the supporters braved the roads and got together with bananas, apples and baked potatoes at the Mile 18 touch-point. I had mild butterflies in my stomach, just hoping that they will be fine and running sans injuries. Already, we knew one of them had an injury and had slowed down. At this point I could tell you that no amount of carb-loading prepares you for the elated sensation you get when you see one of your close friends running towards you in steady strides. You want to tuck into some baked potatoes for support, but you refrain. One must have self-control!

We stood watching groups of people run by. The plan was for us to give the runners a boost at Mile 18 with baked potatoes and bananas, and then head to Starbucks to get a boost for our hoarse throats and proceed onto Mile 21 and then to the finish line. It turns out that there was a mis-reading, and that the Mile-18 point was indeed Mile-15, and we had missed 2 of the 3 guys.

We are a sacrificial lot, as mentioned earlier, and we decided to forgo the Starbucks visit, and dash it to Mile-21. We checked our watches, and sped away as fast as our cars would take us without drawing the attention of cops. During this particular ride, my toddler decided to fall asleep. So now, we parked at the 21-mile point, lugged a 2-year old on my shoulder and legged it across a Farmer’s market cum bakery exhibition (I swear the temptation never stops!) to cheer the boys on. Guess what, they just left!

We now had the dubious reputation of chasing the marathon runners by car, and they were leading!

This was no time for dilly-dallying. Decisions had to be made, and fast. We decided to look askance at the wafting smells of baked products, and got back into the car, determined to get to the finish line before they did, and guess what?

WE DID! HA!

We reached the finish line ahead of the runners, and managed a decent photo shoot at the very end at least!

Great job guys: No mean feat. I am proud of you all!
Good job support group: No mean f(e)at.

Football Shoes

I may have to acknowledge my brother-in-law’s prophetic powers here. Last year, during their visit to the US, I had blogged a post called ‘Children of Heaven’. The blog drew attention to the shoes my nephew purchased. They were football shoes for heaven’s sake. Of course, we all tried rationalising with him that football shoes may never be used by him. He enlisted my brother-in-law’s support and got himself Nike football shoes.

A whole year has lapsed since. Here is what my sister had to report from Dubai:

You know Siddarth is not ‘into cricket’ these days ‘coz it stinks’! The ‘cool dudes’ are ‘more into football these days’ ! I think the ‘these days’ started soon after the World Cup…the Ronaldo…Ronaldino types started with all those appalling hair styles. Siddarth only wears sleeveless T-shirts nowadays to show off his ‘biceps’ and he eats every meal only for his ‘biceps’!!!

Yesterday, he was making lists in every scrap of paper in the house….he called it ‘Team Planning’. There were phone calls being made and received from all the ‘dudes’ the whole afternoon and heated discussions were on. I usually do my best to ignore all this unless it gets out of hand and I find it difficult to live in the house..! Then I called and enquired…all hell had broken loose!

Here is the narrative :
Siddu : Amma,you know Pranith? Okay…he is the football hunk of our class and he was the captain of our team!
Me : What ‘team’ are you talking about? I thought athletics practice is going on in school now for the Sports Day?
Siddu : Yeah…that’s going on, Maaa- that’s the first thing we do every morning before class! These are football matches…are you going to listen to me?
Me : Oh…I will listen…go on.
Siddu : Can you believe what Pranith did yesterday? Something real daft!! He went and scored a goal for the opposite team!! He actually ‘sent the ball into the goalpost for 6B’ !! Isn’t that real dumb?
Me : Yeah…I guess it is quite dumb!!! So what happened?
Siddu : The whole team said ‘ Down Down Pranith’ and pooed him out of being the captain! Dumb Pranith!
Me : Ummmm….then…
Siddu : Usually whichever dude is the VC ( Vice Captain!!) gets to be the captain,right??
Me : Yeah right.
Siddu : This silly dude is Pranith’s pal and turned the post down! So all the guys voted me to be the Captain! So the great Siddarth is the Captain of 6A!!!!
Me : Oh! Good. That’s why you are so busy, is it?
Siddu : Yeah…I need to plan the team before tomorrow’s match, right! The Centre Forward,Mid Forward the Defender, Goal Keeper…do you know all this at all??
Me : No da…I don’t know much about football!Siddu : You are such a bore, maa! One day when I have time…I will teach you!
Me : BTW, Siddu when is the match?
Siddu : Everyday,Maa..we play 6B every day during the break!
Me : Oh…who conducts these matches?
Siddu : Us! But ‘football sir’ gave us a ‘thums up’ so that the school team gets stronger!

She then reports that this whole match thing is the break time play of these dumsies, and that there is a big gang mafia going on in the break time!

I wish I were around to see some of these “matches”!

Background Music

Did you know I was a radio star? I have performed a few times on the All India Radio (I meant that to sound pompous) Before you go and start searching for my name in the halls of fame, let me put it in context. There is only 1 important characteristic in all those programs. Nobody can make out that it was me. The only way one could have guessed is by listening to the announcement prior to the program proclaiming my name in the list of students performing.

To be fair to my father, he recorded one event. When he rewound the tape and listened to the program again, he figured it would be enough to just retain the announcement section, since the rest of the program could have been performed by anybody. So, he promptly used the tape to record M.S.Subbulakshmi songs when he got a chance. It would have been nice to have the announcement proclaiming my performance followed by MS singing. Tut Tut….That was not to be: the announcement got over-written too.

So my claim to fame is solely by word of mouth. It goes like this: List of students in today’s program: Subashini, Venkat, …………., Saumya,……!

I was a versatile performer. I sang at times(never solo lest you start bad-mouthing AIR), and some other times performed in skits. The school stationery manager stepped forward gallantly and mentioned that he had left an illustrious career in the theatrical industry to serve the school, and therefore he should be the person who provided the background music skits. We nodded and the practice sessions started.

To state it as mildly as possible, the background music was HORRENDOUS. Every place in the play where you think some quiet would do, there was music blaring. Some other places where mild music would have done the trick, we had garish music making us shout out every line in order to be heard over the music. I would not call the program a fiasco, but there were no folks waiting outside for autographs. The highlight of all this drama was the lunch we ate at Annapoorna restaurant in Coimbatore (Plus: the day-off from School to drive down to Coimbatore, perform and get back)

There are times in my life when I envision my life as a movie, and there is background music. So I see myself cooking *Sax playing mildly indicating a chef’s beauty being developed* Never mind that I am making Rasam and vendakkai curry. It provides spice in my life! The washing clothes, folding them section gets a banal harmonium. Playing with my daughter and taking her on walks gets melodious flute accompaniment.

I have worked hard at directing my life, so why not revel in my role as music director?!

Wars

I know why the US starts wars in far-off lands.

It is a place to groom future presidents.

X: I am going to contest the presidency
X’s much older opponent Y: Which wars did you fight in huh? Come on you! Tell me which war you fought in?
X: None
Y: NONE!!!!
X: But…but there were no wars for me to go to.
Y: Well..too bad. There is no metric to measure your patriotism. I went for the War in Dracola Land. I know the pain and suffering and I would like to use this office to make the world a better place to live in. So you’re out!

Tag-Phew!

Archana made me think. Now when you get an email stating your head will blow up in a thousand pieces if it is not forwarded to all your friends, I belong to the class of people who test the limits of the email, and co-erces my friends into collecting the shards of my fractured skull if that email were true, and promptly deletes it.

That said, I will say some things about myself only because it made me think. But please respect my opinion that I do not want to tag other folks.

! I admire creativity. Any job done with a flair of creativity gets a mental pat on the back from me. For the same reason, I love to read, dance and sing. I am…well was…..a Bharatnatyam dancer in my “hey-days” as I like to call it (Said with a jaunty look and a look of the glazed one looking fondly upon their past with a nostalgic tinge.) As for the singing, I am very creative with lyrics, and have found on several occasions that the latest Tamil movie songs have my lyrics in them. I should be a little more guarded while singing in public I guess. Too many copyright violations of late (Kunju kutty – dam-pu-chik, pattu kutty dam-pu-chik. Amma kutty – thanga laalee! My daughter loves these songs of mine, and looks like Kollywood is lapping it up too!)

@ My folks tell me I am very determined (Well… their words are not exactly these, but I am an optimistic soul, and so “determined” I am!)

# I reminisce about pleasant memories, and thank my stars for the wonderful life I have (family and friends) I adore to spend time with my family and friends.

$ I am passionate about anything I take up, and from there stems point (@) I guess.

% Travelling is great fun, and I have my father to thank for making me love people and places. Every school holiday, off we went gallivanting around the country. I see now that he really did think it an important aspect of education, and therefore, did not hesitate to spend for vacations. I can think back about every vacation we had (well almost all – if you discount those we went when I was too young to remember)

^ I was brought up in the beautiful Nilgiris with bountiful nature for company. My parents were both teachers, and we grew up inside the school campus. The most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is a tiny place (the School nestles in 800 acres of its own land), and every vacation was spent in adventure trips exploring the hillsides! College in Coimbatore, and thereafter the software industry it is for me. I now work as an analyst in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

& I love to learn new things, and believe that the more you learn, the more exciting life becomes.

* I detest hypocrisy. So when I look at hypocrites, I play the fun game of guessing their actual thoughts, and then process their thoughts through a very defective prism, and imagine how distorted the image must be in order for them to say what they did. So, if I were to hear about the great beauty of a garbage can, I spend precious moments trying to figure out the various adverbs they might have used…and well…you get the drift!

( I was hoping that use of the special symbols would make it easier to say 9 things about me. Seriously, it is not helping! It really is too much to say 9 things about yourself!

Now that I have shed the burden of responding to the tag behind me, I shall continue on with my posts without procrastinating!

The author lives in California with her husband and 2-year old, both of whom she loves way beyond words can say.