Sunday, January 28, 2007

And the stork brought ...

9 books for Rs. 18/- !!!

The following members joined the now prosperous D company, courtesy some generosity by a bookshop, some hyperenthusiasm from a new team mate and one cute kid and of course, thanks to the good lord above.

Norwegian Wood by Murakami
Hardboiled Wonderland and the end of the World by Murakami
Param Vir by Maj. Ian Cardoso
Dubliners by James Joyce
India: A Million Mutinies by VS Naipaul
India: A Wounded Civilization by VS Naipaul
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Football's Strangest Matches by Andrew Ward
Something like an autobiography by Kurosawa

The 3rd book above is perhaps my pick of the lot. It describes the story of all the Param vir Chakra awardees since the inception of the award. I remembered the stories of Albert Ekka and Maj. Somnath Sharma from the TV programme, but the rest are not so fresh in my memory. This book shall serve its purpose.

As always, any Sunday which begins with a long run must end well. So did y'day after a rather tepid outing at the Odyssey on Republic Day. Of course, the deal for Rs. 18 above would have been impossible w/o the coupons ;)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mumbai Marathon 2007

4:53 mins and some agonizing seconds.

The theme this year was Pay it Forward (only partial allusion to the Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment movie).

My most awaited event for the last one year in my running calendar proved to be a huge test of character. I did most of the right things. Mostly rested. Watched "Chariots of Fire" in continuation of the custom that Sweety & Co. started. Went to sleep reasonably early. Got up in time, had some breakfast. Stretched before the run, warmed up, etc.

But still, I was way off my initial target of anywhere between 4 hrs to 4:15. The race was lost much earlier than expected at around 23 km itself on the turn back from Bandra Reclamation. Although my time till even Worli seaface was respectable being around 3 hrs or so, for 30 km, I had no energy left to go the distance in my planned time.

I started reasonably steady, going at the pace of a km every 5 mins till about 12 km or so, holding myself much against my inclinations (as per my strategy in the last 6 months). Much of the pace was set by Deepak ('the man' from my race last year, who actually sacrificed his timing to ensure I finished well). Then inevitably we had to separate as Deepak could maintain his pace for even the 2nd hr and I couldn't. Also I didn't want to run more than 23 km in my 2 hrs. I eventually ran 23.1 km in 2 hrs 8 mins as per the timing chip.

But then the Bandra Reclamation claimed everything I had. I wilted under the heat and couldn't hold up. I was miserable and hurting all over. The concrete roads became perceptible for once. (Essentially when you are off-target, you start seeing all sorts of nonsense).

I decided at the point I crossed 30 km that there was no way, I was hitting 4 hrs and hence decided that I would just finish the race in whatever time without hurting myself.

And then I met Sanjay who seemed in some distress due to cramps. I applied what limited knowledge I have gathered, of getting rid of cramps in the past and we got rid of his cramps. Although after 36 km, my muscles suddenly woke up and said, "Hello we can run!" (Maybe all the Power bar and Electral decided to finally work!) I decided that I would be better off, running and walking with Sanjay, than running off to finish in about a min better than my timing last year. Sanjay also did his best to console me, saying this was his 4th. I meekly replied that this was my 3rd. And then further down, we met another guy from RFL who was also in some pain due to cramps. I did try my stuff here too, to good effect.

Further down, a good friend was nearly tottering on the road due to a cruel case of "hitting the wall." And this was at the 40 km mark! That is when I realized the heat was perhaps worse than last year. He eventually pulled out, despite recovering from the wall.

Finally, did complete the race, running for the last 0.5 km as I didn't want to finish walking.

Was extremely disheartened with my performance since my body didn't live up to my mind. And then all the reasons for the variance sunk in bit by bit - Maybe I shouldn't have run the 30km last weekend so close to the final run. Maybe I shouldn't have run the full marathon itself if I am so bad under heat. Maybe I should have run even slower in the 1st two hours. Maybe I should have washed my new socks and hence avoided blisters on the soles of my feet. Maybe I should have watched my diet in the last week. I added 1.5 kg by virtue of eating at home (And I used to have only breakfast!)

I was in bad shape when I finished and thought I might puke all the Electral and water I had had. My muscles don't ache so much, but my knees have crumbled. I was quite upset with my timing. I barely noticed Amar, who was waiting cheerfully at the finish line, and did not even bother to say "thank you" to
him. (Amar, if you are reading this, Sorry)

And then to add to one's frustration, there was this ridiculous queue of about 100 people standing in line to collect certificates after nearly 5 hours of running. I blew my top. Not that it mattered to the organizers.

The good stuff: reasonable no. of water stops. nice crowds as usual incl. what appeared to the whole of Peddar Road cheering Sanjay! And a police inspector near Siddhi Vinayak who made my day, when I asked him where the nearest toilet - While another person with him pointed somewhere further up, the inspector said, "Today, you are a special person. Please use the toilet in the station!" That I guess also made my day. Being made to feel special is best done frankly.

But then, there's New Jersey in the next 3 months and there's no time to lose or brood. And then there was Sanjay telling his family that I saved his life - (Even if it is untrue and all I gave him was company for about 10 km). And then I met Rajiv's mom who said it was nice meeting me :) I love mums.

Maybe, what didn't kill me will make me stronger. Time will tell.

Vetcha boy wanted a plug for Panchavati who have fantastic Gujju thalis whose unlimited nature, we utilized to the fullest extent.

Last year, I was 143rd. This year, I was 179th. I guess that sums up how the race went. Finally, when I called my mum to narrate all this, she said that she did watch the race on TV and the Kenyans won this year too!!! Big surprise

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mumbai Marathon 2007 & Manju

The defence in the hearing of Manju's case begins on Jan 19th. As during last year, I will be running in Mumbai on Sunday, the 21st of Jan, with a bandanna in Manju's memory. I hope this will serve to draw attention to Manju's case.

As with last year, I continue to hope that justice will prevail and the wrongdoers punished.

Here is a thought for that brave friend who lost his life while doing his job.

Dear Manju,
May your soul rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mumbai Marathon 2007 & Parivaar

In about 100 hrs or so, I shall be lined up up at the Azad Maidan in Bombay for yet another edtion of the Mumbai Marathon.

I am using this occasion to raise funds for Parivaar just like I did last year.You could also read a post I wrote last year, here.

Parivaar is an institution for underprivileged children started by Vinayak Lohani, a friend of mine from my days at Infosys. Click on the hyperlink to know more about them.
For those of you who wish to contribute to Parivaar, please click here.

Send a mail to vinayak@parivaar.org with your full residential address and amount contributed so that he can check the status and send you your receipt. Please send me a blank mail with "transfer done" in the subject line.

Thank you

And now wish me luck for the run...

Monday, January 15, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Actually, I get a lot of help from my friends, but then the popular song by the fab four sounds better...

Last year, almost to the day, my friend Sweety and myself set a goal for ourselves that we would try and read a book a week. With that aim, I ended up reading about 30 books in the last year - mostly fiction, but some non fiction as well. Also in the pipeline are half a dozen books which I didn't quite manage to finish, but will strive to, in this year :) So this toast is for you Sweety,... Hic, Hic, Hurray...

And a month after Sweety and me made that resolution, my running buddies from Bangalore - Vetcha boy, Bhasker and Vijay gave me that cool book on running as a parting gift since I left Bangalore. Now, we are on the verge of another Bombay Marathon and all of us are running this year too. This toast is for this terrific trio - Thanks guys. Lets hope we crack the scene on Sunday,...As the Japanese say, Sante...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guru

Mani Ratnam’s much awaited movie tells the story of a villager, visionary and winner as the much repeated tagline says. It is quite a damp one in my opinion. If you haven’t still seen it, stop reading this post as there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

Guru is a loosely disguised version of the story of the founder of one of India’s largest private sector companies – Reliance, and Dhirubhai. The references are all there and in some cases, the real references are used too – Burmah Shell, etc. The locations are changed a bit – Turkey instead of the Gulf, etc,… But the polyester bit, etc remain. Aishwarya’s role in the beginning is quite cool, but towards the end of the movie, she is mostly a part of the scenery. Mithun Chakraborty essays the role of what was perhaps Goenka and the Indian Express as opposed to Manickdas Gupta and the Independent in the movie. Mithun da essays a decent , small but important role whereas Vidhya Balan is thoroughly wasted. Madhavan looks trim. That is the most I can say of his role.

The music by Rahman is as good as it usually is by Rahman. Mani Ratnam’s regular team of Sreeram, Rajiv Menon, etc return to produce great work although most of the good cinematic work is in the initial reels when Guru is in Turkey. Mallika Sherawat does what is expected – an item no. Abhishek Bachan is good in parts – For some reason, he is smiling good heartedly in the initial reels, while his smile almost disappears post the interval – Is that supposed to signify some change of personality?

Just like the Indian cricket team, I want everything and more from our good film makers – to that aim, Guru is well short. In fact except for the soundtrack, which could have perhaps done with less of the percussion and the chants of Gurubhai, Gurubhai, etc in Gujarati, nothing else is in the Mani Rathnam class.

I had seen Mani explain to someone on TV that it would be a crowd pleaser. Not sure about that, but Guru does have some one liners which are delivered in style, mostly by Abhishek and mostly in the first half. As someone from my family said, the movie loses steam after the interval. See it, even if you wanted to see it just because everyone else will. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Long run and other things to do on a Sunday

Ran circles around MG Road in the morning as part of my longest run before next Sunday. Ran about 30 km (29.7, to be precise) in the company of one of the docs in our club. Discovered several interesting aspects of his life. Must have been around the most comfortable runs I have had at this distance. Next Sunday will tell.

Next stop, tickets to Guru (separate post on that)

And some reading gets done as well.
And then sit and ponder over whether I will be posted to Jabalpur or Bombay.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ahoy! Bangalore Ahead. next stop, Madras, Bombay?

For a day or two, we shall be back in our favourite city yet again.
Its becoming a little difficult to keep up with the blog due to work.

But then again, Bombay beckons in 2 weeks. So practice shall happen t'row onwards. Maybe, I can still salvage some training.

And some much missed reading can get completed. Read a nice quote today, "If you are getting bored, you might be boring."

And then again, c'est la vie.

Monday, January 01, 2007

On a Day like today... Happy New Year...

How do you celebrate your new year...?

Since I was working y'day I decided to take it out,...

Went to bed early after a few shots of our favourite Absolut Citron,...

Woke up early and ran to NDA and some distance back (about 25 km) to usher in the new year. Actually, I am short of training for Jan 21st. And what better excuse than the 1st day of the new year.

Clean slate.

Lets see what my tally is on 31st Dec...