Go Marathoners!!!

This time Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, has Sriks marathon achievement to thank for 24 modak entrees. The pot bellied Indian God is my mother’s favourite, and everytime she is concerned about something she has little control over – she feeds him tasty modaks! (How can this poor God ever reduce?!)

As the marathoner’s wife, I had well-fed butterflies in my stomach. Citing the sole participant in the car, the entire pack of us tucked in liberally on the carbs! So far Sriks had managed to train without any major injuries, and I was desperately hoping that he would not injure himself at the marathon.

The plan was for Manu/Meera (these sweet folks shall henceforth be referred to as M&M) and self to go and drop Sriks at the start line, and then meet him at the 5th and 10th mile points before heading back to the hotel to pick the rest of the support team, comprising Kittens and my parents. Thanks to M’s persistence, we spent the previous evening poring over maps, drawing up checklists and the like. Strategic plans are made to go awry. That night Kittens did not sleep a wink. Four hours and eight minutes after continuously singing “Old McDonald had a farm…” in the night, I felt like I had run a marathon, and I was in no position to accompany Sriks to the startline.

So M&M and my father braved the biting cold to wish him victory. The start was nothing like they had expected – men and women on the riper side of 70 mingled enthusiastically with teens and middle-aged. My father took it upon himself to encourage all the senior citizens, and was cheerleading them with gusto! He was screaming himself hoarse – “Go Sir”, “Excellent Job Madam!” Since then, he has vowed to walk at least 2.6 miles regularly!!!

After the first few miles (which according to Sriks is a little difficult considering the body yearns for the warmer comforts of a bed!), he settled into a smooth pace! With M&M’s encouragement and presence, he sailed through till the 10th mile. His half run timing was very good and showed he was keeping a good pace.

At the 20th mile, the whole gang was waiting with placards and our little one cheering – “Up Up Appa!”. The air was vibrant with music, lots of people cheering the competitors on, and a band playing nearby. The road was done up like a wall, to symbolize the runner’s wall (the approximate distance at which the body begins to run out of Glycogen, and the mind works against the runner).

We scoured the crowd waiting for Sriks. Running socks or no, every marathoner has to endure a rough patch: an unexpected blister had considerably slowed him down. We finally spotted Sriks – in spite of the blister his spirits seemed high, as we ran towards him! Keerthana was tremendously pleased to see him, and started clapping hands and saying “Up, up appa” once again.

The atmosphere was almost festive, and we were thrilled to see the aged and the young compete in a true spirit of sportsmanship. As we cheered people on, I could not help admiring the sportsman behind each of these people. What made them tick? Where did they get the motivation and drive to accomplish so great a feat? I will never know – all I know is that my respect for these tenacious people increased exponentially. Ardous hours of training, sore muscles, bad weather, and yet they smiled and acknowledged our encouragement. Go Marathoners!!!

The 24th mile was yet another rendezvous, and by now several runners recognized us, as we waited for Sriks. The mascot for the Senior citizen i.e my father, and the youngest cheerleader present, must have made their marks! Now, a visibly tired Sriks came prodding on. He said he finally knew what it was to experience the runner’s wall. As a person watching him train for this feat, I have never seen him low during or after runs. Though I encouraged him that he was almost there – the worry that his spirits were dipping crept into my mind. (I know a problem cannot be solved by worrying, but what else can one do? ) As a spectator, I could make a half-baked attempt at explaining the runners wall phenomenon, but I shall leave that to people who have actually experienced this(Http://srikris.blogspot.com)

We promised to see him at the finish line, and took leave. M&M did a remarkable job of tirelessly getting us from Spot A to Spot B, in spite of all the road blocks and one-way streets. Words cannot quite quantify how much their presence and help meant – so, I shall not even try! We managed to park around half a mile away, and dashed just in time to catch our man sprinting toward the finish line.


The head held high, firm, long strides and the sudden burst of speed as he neared the finish line echoed his achievement to the world. The man who had shied away from any distance more than a mile less than 3 months ago, had just finished a 26 miler, and proved that the mind is truly the greatest power in the world. With the right attitude, nothing seems like an unachievable altitude!

As we were admiring his medal – the air crackled with the news of an 83 year old woman, making it to the Guiness book of World Records, by completing the marathon on 5 hours and 10 minutes! And that, is the beauty of the human spirit. Just when you think, it can’t be done – somebody does it!!!

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The Countdown begins……..

Months of preparation are finally coming close to fruition – the marathoner in our home, is gearing up to a run coming Sunday.

Meanwhile, the marathoner’s wife is busy preparing for the trip. A formidable list is already in place – months of procurement for the marathon are finally being put to use.

1) Running socks and running shoes!

2) The foot pod, the heart rate monitor and the watch to go with it

3) The Camel Pak

4) The ubiquitous energy gel packets that are strewn all over my house, thanks to my baby’s interest in these packets – there are orange packets, brown packets and orange/brown packets!

5) The large GU20 box (Sriks you may do well to know that my mother has had her eye on that container to store her pickles. So December 5th evening, it may no longer contain what you think!)

6) The Gatorade bottles enough for a team of marathoners!
The Non-Marathoner’s Guide to a Marathon (For last minute revision before the exam – *wink wink*)

7) Running Shorts and running t-shirt (Somebody please enlighten me why these running attires are always in a shiny, bright hue)

8) Sleeveless Jacket (The D-Day promises to be a cold morning)

9) Medical supplies – pain relievers, balms and the like

10) Walking shoes and Walking socks (Can one walk in Running shoes??)

One thing is for certain – my dear marathoner husband is going to miss all the food pampering that has been happening lately thanks to the Marathon. The specially prepared Potato fries and the extra dollop of lentils over steaming rice with ghee!! Enjoy on dear fellow!

Waiting to see you cruise through the marathon,

The Marathoner’s Family

To Eat or Not to Eat?

A delicious box of cashew laddus lies innocently on the dining table. My heart wants to eat, but my brain calculates the calories. There is salad with lots of broccoli nearby, and it is definitely delicious, so I settle for that saying the sweet is reserved for after the meal.

To further my chagrin, my parents proclaim how in the old days, ghee was served in “dhonnai” cups, and nobody was any the wiser! Of course, these ghee drinking tummies have provided us with hours of glee! Under my wise tutelage, my cousins and brother all aged between 9 and 2, would eye-ball the said tummies from the side, and swing from the loft above for an aerial survey. The owners of the tummies were too sleepy to take notice – how couldn’t they be after wolfing down a meal consisting of vada^, payasam, 8 different kinds of vegetables, pacchidi, platefuls of rice, kesari, dhals, lentils, rasam, sambhar and curd?

Total calorie intake of 1 meal approximately = (Total calories required per day) * 3!

The tummy game was played as follows. Once the surveys were completed, each member would provide a “guess-timate” of the size.

Unit of Measurement used: palm lengths

So, I could say 6 palm lengths, and quietly measure the tummy with my palm to see how far off the mark I was! Occasionally, the tummies would begin to turn midway through the measurement process (the owner trying to shift positions during the nap!) Then, we had to change strategy slightly and measure from the base of the tummy to the belly button and multiply the result by 2.

Thank god, these meals were not a regular affair! I cannot imagine the effect it would have had on people’s health!

The other day, while shopping at Costco, we lingered longer than necessary at the dessert section. There were 4 different flavors of icecreams packaged together (competitively priced), a large box of Tiramusu (also competitively priced) and a box of sugary mini puffs (also competitively priced) to choose from. My brain unwillingly looked at the nutrional content on those containers and my hand put them back!

My heart stopped at a smaller store on the way back to obtain a smaller pack of icecream.

To use the most hackneyed expression of all time – ignorance really is bliss. Maybe, we too would have been wolfing down cartons of delicacies, had we not read about obesity, calories and cholesterol levels. And maybe, teams of brats led by nephews and neices would have been measuring our tummies!!!

^ Indian delicacies made with no regard to calorific content, but pays the best compliments to the tongue!

Itch Itch..Brain Itch!

Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!
A “Moo Moo” here and a “Moo Moo” there
Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!

Hey…..wait a minute, I have been singing this song incessantly in my mind for the past 2 days. I have to push this song out of my mind. So, I embark loudly on a slower melody

“Govardhana Giridhara Govinda, Gokula ….”

The minute I stop, the itching continues.

“Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!”

Maybe, I should try reading a book. Concentrate dear mind, I prod myself – I am reading, but my brain is going “Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!” in the background!

Drastic measures have to be taken now. I get up, and embark on a cleaning spree. After all, if you are busy doing something, Old MacDonald can’t get you – Ha!

Clean clean scrub scrub

“Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!”

More vigorously – CLEAN CLEAN SCRUB SCRUB

“Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!”

The house is sparkling now, and Old MacDonald still has his farm!

A nap maybe? I wake up singing “Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!”

If you can’t beat them, plead with them. So, I plead with my brain – “Oh please – please stop singing this damn song!”

“Old Mac Donald had a farm – eiya eiya yo!” it taunts me further.

I try to uproot this menace at the source. I had picked it up while watching a Baby Einstein DVD, singing along with my baby. Maybe, I could try another DVD – that should stop it!

YES!!!! It worked – I am no longer bothered about Mac Donald and his silly farm. I am now thinking about the sea turtle enjoying the swim in the sea.

“Ohh yeah – I am having fun swimming in the deep blue sea”

Maybe, it will be easier to stop this one from getting to me………

“Ohh yeah – I am having fun swimming in the deep blue sea”

The Namaskaram Account

As children, my brother and I maintained a burgeoning account titled “Namaskaram Account”.

There were diaries galore and every year, I would religiously carry over the latest cash flow statement over to the next year. My brother and I were joint account holders, and our names were mentioned prominently on the page.

Funds for this account were procured from the following avenues:

(a) Money obtained as blessings

The process involves falling at the feet of uncles and aunts who would gush at what a lovely thing it is to do in today’s world, and dole out the cash. We would mill around for the right opportunity, and “Thud!” (another inflow into the account) Once done, I would signal my brother to do the same and dutifully stand around to collect my brother’s share as well.

(b) Secratarial work for my father

My father invested in shares. He had the luxury of having a career with loads of time to spare. He even had the time to apply for new equities. The chances of getting an allotment for heavily over-subscribed shares were a little less than winning the state lottery. He had the able assistance of an able secretary in me. Every share application filed would fetch me Rs 10, while every allotment would fetch me Rs. 20. To improve cash flow, I would innocently place every application near God, and seek his blessings before posting it!

(c) Money won as Prizes

Contribution from this source was a little late in the game, when I started winning scholarships and the like, but it was money all the same.

I also remember gallantly offering money from our account, if something was denied us by virtue of its cost. Thank God there was no overdraft facility. I must have asked for goods worth 10 times the amount in the “account” over the years!

For years, it provided my brother and I with work to do, and my father got what he needed – the devils were kept busy filing out applications!

I wonder what happened to that “account”. Maybe my father used it up for my wedding!!

PS: I must admire my father for the innovative method of getting work done from me!

Some things never change

In the pre-digital era, the more useless pictures in our album at home were usually attributed to me. There you see my then kid brother measuring 4ft 3inches looking a grand 6 ft 4 inches, and somewhere else a touch of scenery gone all awry when taken from the moving train. From then on, I have always admired good photographers. Although, their talk of focal length, camera exposure and lens speed goes above my head, I love looking at the end result – a good picture!

I still remember the camera we had. It was a Yashica, and my father had paid a family friend to buy it for us from the Gulf. Photographs were reserved for special occasions, and the poses were standard too. The kids would be in front of our parents and there would be as many people as possible in every photograph (especially the earlier ones!) So, come any major festival, and you would find my sister and I dressed in clothes tailored from the same material and my brother, posing in front of my parents. (One of these days, I shall blog the economics behind the clothing in the same material, but for now – yes, we would be wearing the same shiny pink, or the same spotted blue!)

In all photos my father would be standing stark erect, and posing with a serious face. I have tried time and again to get him to smile in a photograph. He would smile, even grin or laugh before the flash comes on. But FLASH!!! Boom – there comes his serious face once again!

Yesterday, I was trying to get my father to pose for a photograph, and guess what? My father is standing erect with a serious face!!! The digital era may have swooped in with revolutionary changes, but I am glad some things never change.

Words don’t speak

When I reminisce about my School and College days, one thing I remember vividly was the “Parting diary culture”.

There were pink diaries, blue diaries, heart-shaped diaries, and of course those tiresome diaries with lots of questions:
Name:
Favorite Actor: **I am pretty sure my favorite actor then is not my favorite actor now**
Favourite Director:
Favorite Colour: ** What would one do with this piece of info?!**
Birth Date:
Zodiac: ** Derive from above – DUHHH! **
Interests:

These diaries are handed out with gay abandon to pen your “good-byes” in. People one shared a smile with, would thrust a diary into your hand. For most diaries, I had a standard quote on life, a word of praise and a reminder to stay in touch.

I chose not to write in my closest friends diary, because I had too many things to share, too many things to hold onto. The sentimental side of my brain cried that “Keep in touch!” meant people would not keep in touch, and hence the request to “Keep in touch”!

On one of my recent cleaning sprees, I chanced upon my own college diary. My college diary just contained the addresses and phone numbers of all my friends, with small notes to “Keep in Touch” Ironically, the people I am still in touch with, are the ones who had not asked me to keep in touch with them!

I thumbed through the diary, and I chanced upon one tattered piece of paper, that I had taped to the very last page. I still remember a close friend of mine thrusting this note in my hand as my train was chugging away from Coimbatore station. I was leaving my friends and family to take up my first job in Bangalore. I was too pre-occupied to notice the letter. I was scouring the station to see where another one of my closest friends, mentor and senior was. She had promised to come and see me off, and I was upset that she had not come. As the train chugged on, and I could no longer see my friends, I crawled my way back to my seat, still upset that she had not come. I opened the letter to see the shortest note of all time. The essence of the communique was:

I am really bad with words Saumya,so I shall try my best… Please don’t be upset with me for not coming to the station to see you off. But, I cannot bear to say “Bye” to you.
Love and prayers for your continued success,
———

And that, my friend, is powerful communication!