Jul 10, 2005

Padayatty on the Run!

Been two years here in Raipur; but never seen what early morning is like. Today I found out... Thank you, Sudeep and Tapan, for helping me fulfil a two-year old wish!

I've been asking Sudeep 'Military' Vijayan to call me also when he goes on his post-nocturnal runs for keeping fit. I mean he can do it without a thought; what with his Military background and all. Not poor me. All my previous attempts at this sort of thing... failures!

Back in Trivandrum, all of us guys used to get bitten by the fitness bug once in a while. Same evening, we would each get a new pair of canvas shoes (the ones with green heels with absolutely no grip). Before night's sleep, the day before 'The Day', the strategically important task of setting alarms, and asking somebody or anybody to make sure we wake up. This is a particularly unpleasant task, what with all the pessimists back home making wisecracks about my previous unsuccessful attempts at the task at hand. After making these arrangements and finalising over the phone for the umpteenth time the finer details of our mission, sleep in the face of excitement, is minimum.

I'd have set 3 alarm clocks with a gap of 30 mins between their set times. The brilliant logic (another of those masterpieces which consistently arise from my intellect) behind this is that, given the human being's inherent unwillingness to obey alarm clocks, the first two alarms would serve as means to satisfy one's ego, and one would need to wake up at the third alarm only. You see, it's a kind of best of three system. You win the first two rounds against the alarms, and lose the third one as a gesture of sportsmanship. Ultimate gain for you! Brilliant me!

'The Day' arrives the next morning, after having slept through three alarms (I guess my ego's too big to be satisfied with two alarms (mental note to increase number of clocks next time)), when Sajjad, who's the closest to being organised in our group (that's because his Umma is very strict), wakes me up with a call, enquiring angrily as to why I have not yet reached the rendezvous point. I explain with a quick lie and get on my way.

The rendezvous is at the Trivandrum Museum-Zoo Park, which is a really beautiful park right in the middle of Trivandrum city, very near to my home. It used to be my stock joke when anybody asked me where I lived to say that I have lion's instincts, because I wake up every morning to the roar of the lion at the Zoo.

Anyway, by about 6:30 all lazy-bones' would finally get to the park. Then the lot of us would start jogging the circular park, the lazier ones at a leisurely pace, taking time to look at the girls in their designer-wear. Maximum of two rounds and then its sitting at the mandapam in the middle of the park, sharing fitness info like pro's. Then disperse, after having chaaya and ullivada from the nearest thattu.

After the first day's jog, the strength of the jogging fraternity would have diminished to null, because of the body-aches consequent to having made the mistake of moving one's lazy body, after having allowed it the luxury of never using it for days at length. That would be end of the mission for the time being. Again a few months later, the bug would bite again, and we would go through the motions again and... you know what!

One time, me and Varun went for about one week at length, and finally we had to stop because I couldn't bear Varun's valippus (you know, jokes that kill you) early in the morning (come on, I bear it the whole day during school, that's enough). Another time, the whole gang decided to go together and went seriously enough for the first few days. After that, one morning everyone was feeling lazy and we decided not to jog for that day and sat chatting in the mandapam. Same thing the next day, and the next... Three days later, everyone was feeling lazy to even talk. So we decided we could all take a nap in the benches at the park. Just for the day. Same thing the next day. And the next day... my Papa who comes to walk daily, saw all of us blissfully napping away on the benches. That was the end of the story... I never got to buy anymore canvas shoes!

I mean, Papa is right and all you know. The thing is while all other people went to the park early to do honorable things... me and friends went there to sleep. That's just not what anybody should be going to parks for, unless you're an animal at the Zoo or something like that! So there.

So, today morning, Tapan came and woke me up. He clarified on my enquiry that, Kariachan who was also supposed to go with us decided not to come. That was inspiration enough not to go. I offered having no shoes as an excuse and was about to get back to sleep when Sudeep Military came back from his jog, and said hi and offered to lend me his running shoes. That blew the excuse, and suddenly some heavenly inspiration made one thing lead to another and there was Padayatty on the Run!


Wish me luck guys. I take this to be the begining of a new chapter in the life of the organised Padayatty. I'll need your prayers and wishes to keep on jogging. For tomorrow and a lifetime of Padayatty on the Run!

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Jul 3, 2005


This vacation was one of the best in years. The trip's lasting images come once more to my mind...
All of us were huddled together, Indian cricket team style and going around in circles when as if by divine inspiration somebody, think it was Anish, started singing Bum Chikku Chikku Bum from the film Hum. And everybody caught on, remembering clearly the lyrics of the old song about being for each other. No well rehearsed choir could match us that night, and we sang with passion, and renewed our friendship with a memory of a lifetime. At the end, everybody embraced each other and promised what we all knew for sure. That we would be friends forever!

"Bum Chikku Chikku Bum,
Chikku Bum Bum,
Bum Chikku Chikku Bum!

Ek Doosre Se... Karte Hain Pyar Hum!
Ek Doosre Ke... Liye Bekaraar Hum!

Ek Doosre Ke Vaaste Agar Marne Bhi Ho...
Hai Thaiyyar Hum!"

Lord Thank you for my friends! I'd be lost without them guys!

The Trip!

Oh! What I would have given for it not to end! The trip to Pondicherry and Yercaud and 'Bangalore'... with friends! And the fun we had both in the run-up and during it. I mean when again, when an encore?

Four days before the trip, we started the campaign for the common funds. That meant visiting all the old acquaintances all of us had, and getting their varied contributions towards the common-good. The female ones were preferred. The boys almost never have any money with them. They're the ones with difficulties and inflation economies. But the girls... their parents load them up with enough money, which they have no way of spending. The only outlet is giving loans to poor boys who want to go on pleasure trips.

So there was the team under the leadership of expert canvassers Umesh and Anish, getting on the phone and that person who by had the bad luck of a sometime acquaitance with the lot of us. The money was borrowed on one pretext or the other, almost always with a promise, but never the intention, to give back the sum. I'm sure they'll get their dues in the Kingdom Come! For their priceless contribution to friendship, for their part in giving us more memories to treasure, of friendship. Three Cheers to all the benefactors who contributed to our trip!

Pondicherry was o.k. You see, we dont go bananas over beaches and that sort of thing because hometown Trivandrum has all the beaches we ever wanted, complete with Madammas lying on the sand in bikinis. Our search for a hotel in Pondi, turned out to be hilarious with people running over themselves to get us to a hotel with Caberet and swimming pool and more night entertainment. You wouldn't belive it, but we chose nay for the Cabaret and the rest and probably saved ourselves from being hauled off to some police station by kepieed policemen in the middle of the night. Nothing more to Pondi, because a bunch of guys dont think the Aurobindo Ashrama is interesting. So we skipped historical interest places, and all other interest places there was to see in Pondi. In fact we dint see much of Pondi, because all of us were bored at the thought of the culturally vibrant setting, and add the hot weather to it, we ended up seeing more of the channels on the TV at the Hotel than Pondicherry.

Gladly bidding Pondi goodbye, we left to the high point of the trip, which turned out to be the unplanned trip to Yercaud, a small hill-station about 20 kms from Salem. We spent two really wonderful days there, practically doing nothing other than making up ghost stories, and scaring each other, when we weren't running around the estate playing war like only small boys do. The team containing Manu, Sabari, Naveed and Umesh, beat us unfair and circular.

We went to the top point and all of us removed our shirts and started dancing semi-nude on the hill top amidst the fog and heavy wind. That coupled with the chill from the ghost stories which really scared Feroze and Ravi (me, I was not scared), made the experience truly wonderful.

I guess I'm not writing anymore beyond... it gives me the blues! Homesick, friendsick!