Happyness Marathon

Haven’t been active on the blog for over a month now. This time, i was actually caught up with a lot of things and was not being lazy. Yeah for once that is true. But anyways, I am back and I did end up fulfilling some resolutions. Well at least one, that of redesigning the blog. Will try to manage the others this year:))
This post is going to be a bit lengthy, so do not proceed if you get easily bored:)

Week before last, was the best January week i have had since a long time. It started with a bang with me managing to complete the Mumbai Marathon, the full 42.195km marathon, under six hours. This is one thing towards which i was training since October 2010 and fulfilling the marathon was a dream. Here are the running bib and the medal. Having my name with a number above Tata Consultancy Services (the associate sponsor of the marathon) reminded me of my ID card of TCS. Yeah, for two years, I had worked as an Assistant Systems Engineer in TCS before making a career switch:) (Coincidence #1)

The experience was fabulous and the full marathon is going to be on my itinerary every January. The best part about the run was the challenging terrain (if i can use that word, considering we are talking about a city here). The route takes you through the tony South Mumbai neighbourhoods surrounded by old pre historic buildings, through Marine Drive – the best stretch on the route, the slums in Worli and Mahim and finally on the architectural marvel, the Bandra Worli Sea Link. The whole of Mumbai is out on the streets cheering for you.

The Killer Stretch
The Peddar Road flyover stretch was the killer in the entire route, located at the most strategic point. Just when you are beginning to gain confidence after easily completing the Marine Drive stretch, you are faced with the uphill climb. Similarly, when you are tired and out towards the last 5-6km of the race, the uphill climb of the Peddar road stretch is smiling at you. I was completely drained out by the time i finished the Sea Link and there were about 11 km remaining. Running time had reduced drastically and i kept reminding myself of the Hemkund Sahib trek when the challenging Peddar road stretch was to be covered in the end. Traffic on the road by 11.30am – an hour before it was designated – was a complete letdown specially when we had to cross the roads. Some motorists were kind enough to let us pass, while the others were behaving quite rude.

High points
Seeing senior citizens running alongside you was one experience i will always cherish. I saw two senior citizens who were running without any footwear, was very impressed that at that age, they were still participating and giving their 100 percent. Another group of senior citizens were running together and were constantly motivating each other. I was running alone, and if it wasn’t for random participants egging me on to not rest and finish the race, i would have spent a lot more time completing the marathon.
Another thing i liked about the whole experience was chatting with random strangers, discussing training programs, getting to know about their reason to run. It provided a good break specially for me as i was running alone, but also felt inspired listening to some tales.
Seeing the elite runners zip past you was another moment i will never forget. The elite athletes were like stallions, running at a mind boggling 20kmph or more. It just gives you a reality check. I was not participating for the prize anyways, but you really learn to respect the elite athletes, when you have yourself gone through the grind of training. You have to give it to them for maintaining the discipline in terms of training and eating habits.
The icing on the cake was the medal which i received after completing the race. It was my life’s first ever medal. Everyone who finished the race was rightfully awarded one, and it just made the marathon completion that much more sweeter.

Happyness part deux

Another incident that happened in the same week was two of my photographs getting selected to be displayed at PVR Cinemas, Juhu. Mumbai Weekend Shoot (MWS) – the photography club whose shutterbugs meet every weekend for a photo outing – and Dhobi Ghat – a film by Kiran Rao, had put together an exhibition of the best of Mumbai photographs. Walking Tall and Wanna Race? were on display with a 100 other wonderful photographs. This was in itself thrilling for me as it was the first time that any of my photograph was displayed to a wider public audience.

Dhobi Ghat team along with Kiran Rao were going to come to see the exhibition. I was aware of it but due to prior work committments, could not go there. I was informed by one of my friends who was there that i had won the Best Photo prize. It took some time for that statement to sink in. I mean this really felt like a dream.
Later, the organisers themselves called me to tell me that i had indeed won the prize. Kiran Rao herself had picked it up and said what she liked about the photograph. I will regret not being there personally. But i really was on a high after that.
I remember starting my photo outing journey with MWS with a shoot at Dhobi Ghat itself. I had uploaded that photo essay in 2009 on this blog titled Mumbai washes its clothes here. And my first photography award came from the director of a film Dhobi Ghat:)) (Coincidence #2)
So that is it. A marathon completion, a photography exhibition and my photograph winning. Three major accomplishments in my scheme of things. Hope to achieve many more this year:))

Till then

Take Care


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