In a moment of weakness the husband and I signed up for a half marathon together. The fact that it was on my birthday was the clincher. Every time I participate in a running event, I love to see the placards that the folks use to encourage the runners. This time did not disappoint either. In fact, given that the course hugged the coastline for the most part, we had a fun run on the whole. There was music throughout the course. African drums, a senior citizen band, piano, bagpipes – you name it. Every mile there was something to look forward to. The Big Sur half marathon was truly a gift for the ears, eyes, heart and mind.
Image Courtesy: http://www.bigsurhalfmarathon.org/
The incident I am about to relate happened after the Mt. Whitney hike but before the half marathon. It is important to get the chronological order right for what I am about to relate stalled the half-marathon practice for a good three weeks. It was about the time that Indian families around the globe were navigating chaos in their kitchens while celebrating Diwali. But there was a chaos of another kind in our household. The little fellow had fallen ill and was kept home from school. As the fever subsided, he started complaining of stomach pains. He was ill and his pain induced sympathy in the onlooker (there was probably about 86% pain and 14% drama, but all the same).
One day after a stern morning at the Doctors and a particularly lethargic pharmacy visit, I walked into the house dazed and stopped in my tracks. I must also mention that I had not really slept well in days. At first, I thought it was a hallucination I was having. There, in front of me were two grown men (father and grandfather) and a lady (grandma) baring their stomachs and massaging castor oil into it. Not only that, they were smacking their lips like it was tasty business and rolling their heads like they were in a spa and getting a first rate massage from a fantastic masseuse. “Err..” I managed to say after a moment of stunned silence, when the tummy-rubbing adults turned to me, nodded and went about their belly business again. A moment later, I think the husband realized that the scene before me was not normal, and told me that they had decided to try the placebo effect with the toddler in pain. They told him that if he rubbed a little bit of castor oil on his stomach, he would feel much better, and the fellow was resisting – great big tears rolling down his cheeks, looking miserable. So, they decided to go in for a demonstration of sorts.
The daughter sometimes shows wisdom beyond her years and had refused flat. She was peeking at the scene from a safe distance, lest she be pulled in. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. Our laughing was so infectious that the son forgot his misery for a shining few minutes and reluctantly smiled too. It was beautiful to see.
Let me yank you back to the half-marathon now. It was around the eighth mile that I began having misgivings about the race. Till then, it was music, running, and coastal views. But around 8th or maybe the 9th mile, the mind started playing its little tricks on me. What was I thinking? Music? I could have listened to some of that at home. Running: wouldn’t a 3 mile run have done the trick? Coastal views? I could have driven here with a picnic basket and so on. The husband, who was running with me, was his usual effervescent self and I urged him to go ahead because I was developing a knee grind. I ran on a little slower than usual when I saw a person with a board that said,
What seemed like a good idea 4 months ago, doesn’t seem so brilliant now, does it?
That placard did for me what castor oil did to the tummy ache. I burst out laughing, and suddenly, there was a certain energy in my stride, a determination in my gaze. The husband slowed down to join me and we ran on together determined to make the best of it.
Happy Thanksgiving Folks and Laugh. Laugh as heartily as you can.
P.S: The son is fine now