Saturday, 28 July 2012

Sad Movies...

Sad movies aways make me cry. No doubt. But a lot of other things make me cry as well. At times I am in a highly strung state and pretty much anything can make me all teary. Not loud crying with gasping for air and a pile of snot or anything but a gentle one that nevertheless requires tissues.

Anything Olympics now. Suffice to say that I am a big fan of the olympics, especially the athletics. In deference to the child's interest, swimming as well. Thanks to (possibly misguided) nationalistic pride, badminton as well. Since I know nothing about archery and boxing, those, not so much. Anyhow all the '10 greatest moments' type news items have really been tear-jerkers in Kenny land.

The Mint Lounge is generally the most popular newspaper in these parts. I diligently read large parts of that paper. Today as I was glancing through their travel section, I saw the words 'Talakkad' and had to stop to go blow my nose. Admittedly I have not been to Talakkad in ages. But I would like to go. Take the child. Tell her the fascinating story of Alamellamma.

We were discussing about different renditions of Indian history. The 'learnt history' the guys said - meaning the stuff we hear in school. I have been seriously remiss of course. Every few months I take out this big folder into which I have shoved photocopied pages of my grandfather's book 'India Through the Ages.' The 'learnt' subject was not interesting, but now, it sounds so amazing, and I can almost hear him (though I have forgotten his voice, to be truthful). I should stop admiring it and do more, its time.

My grandmother (not the corresponding one - the other one) is with mum now. I think of her and I know I could be headed there. If one is objective, the equality sign between her and mum and me is very obvious. All of us are very keen on keeping busy as beavers. My eyes and our hands especially. Reading is common. Paati knits and crochets obsessively. Mum cleans and wipes, equally obsessively. My hearing is already a little faulty. I calculated that she must have been born in 1927. The stories she must have in her head! Who will inherit those?

This is why I like words. I like writing. In the day job there is the big advantage words provide, of documentation, or dissemination of facts, our discoveries, driving stakes into the ground and putting our flag on it. And of a weekend morning, I embrace words again. To express my feelings, to capture for my own future reference, that twinge of sadness. That tug, that is not undesirable in the least... It tells me something.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fade out

"You recover fast" my cook said to me yesterday. I felt super proud. In typical 80s ish-tyle, I would have pulled my collar up, if I had one. Like one time one of my college friends said I look "muscular" - she was clearly on dope - but I strutted around feeling all proud about that too. This is why you see me try hard to convince you with photographic evidence that I am strong and muscular and all that.

"I like your squishy arms" says the child and quickly bursts my bubble. She is a bit of a show-off and actually has better biceps than me thanks to the swimming (and the fact that I am on a hiatus from all upper body workouts thanks to mysterious shoulder and wrist pains), and doesn't hesitate to rub it in my face often.

Yeah I been sick. Not the mysterious shoulder and wrist pain. Some mysterious overall illness which started with what seemed like an upset stomach (possibly caused by milkmaid. Not a lady who milks cows but the condensed milk I love), which proceeded to a headache, eye burning, back ache, overall body ache and finally, a stuffy nose and itchy throat.

I treated it like I treat these things. "I am dying" I said and divvied up my material possessions among near and dear ones quickly. Blog readers got nothing - so ha. I walked around looking like a pale ghost with an infinitely suffering, martyr-like look on my face. I desultorily popped a couple of crocins. I slept through workouts. I substituted my coffee with tea.

"You look awful" everyone said. Oh yeah. Its a good trick. At the merest hint of illness I start to look distinctly seedy and evoke a lot of pity. So much so that when I went yesterday to perform my duties as a responsible volunteer at the convocation, my colleagues said, "Go home". I hung on with a misguided sense of loyalty or whatever.

After about 3 hours of (possibly unwashed) bodies of a large number of students in (definitely unwashed) convocation robes filed past me, pushed me to the wall, breathed fetid breath in my general direction, I couldn't take it any more. I make my excuses and left before I did something awful like faint. Ugh.

This morning I took the beaten up body out for a "Shake Out" run - a merest 5 k. It has survived. I am not dying. Yet. I hope when I do, that I go out, like a light switched off. No dragging around ghost-like, please. A quick decline and a quicker fade-out. Yes. But thats scheduled for later. For now, I declare myself "recovered, with remnants of a cold."

Monday, 16 July 2012

PB Conditions

I have been bequeathed the title of Drama Queen by my buddies. My innate sense of fairness doesn't allow me to protest this tag too loudly right now. So this is how it happened. There was a race (half marathon) yesterday. I brought the following excuses:
  • My feet are moving slowly and I am breathing heavily if I run fast.
  • My feet are definitely moving slowly, here see my splits in the past month from my garmin stats.
  • My poor baby child hurt her knee and I spent all Saturday evening being afraid and meeting the doc.
  • Although the doc said its fine and the x-ray revealed no cracks I still feel very drained from it all
  • I have had a lot of #fml type days in the near past - mid life crisis, moving, new place woes, carpentry uncles, this sub-list is itself very long
After much discussion we settled on the following bet: Each of us would predict our finish time. The slimy person who came in much earlier or much later than the predicted time, would have to treat everyone else to drinks. I declared rather grandly that I would of course not be that person, as I was going for 9 min miles and planning to finish therefore in 1:57. "Lets see" they said.

I went on to speak a lot after that (at 4:45 am, obviously I am at an advantage over others, like normal people are at 9:30 pm, which is my bed-time). We were at the race venue. My list got beefed up by the fact that at that point, my garmin died an ignoble death. "So how will I pace myself? Plus there are so many turns in this route, I suck at turning" I wailed. "Drama" they said.

My friend Sudha, sponsored my loo trip. My friend the Quizzer grandly gave me his garmin. Lots of people said Hi. Then we were off. Krishna zoomed off and I saw that the pace was in the 7s - too much - and tried to slow myself down. Mani passed me from behind and surely that pace was too high, Mani being the type of running partner who beats passing cars and trucks during his recovery runs. 

Comrade Shahid and I settled into a rhythm. Shahid ran the Comrades, obviously his legs look super strong. Not to mention quietly Galloway Run Walking the Mumbai Marathon (and finishing ahead of me). I just kept my head down and continued trying to slow down. "This is too fast if your goal is 1:57" he said. "Yeah I ought to slow down" I told him. He was going for 2:00 he said, but continued at that 8:30 pace nevertheless. So I stuck to him.

After about 5 miles we started to overtake various folks. I tried to not be a jerk throughout, thanking all the volunteers and police who helped us out with the route. I said "No, thanks" to all offers of water & gatorade. In my long runs now, I avoid all food up to 21km, and usually have a sip or two of electrolyte at best. 

They had oranges though! I love oranges. I smelled them a few meters before I encountered them. I picked one up greedily but soon it slipped out of my hand and I didn't dare to do anything about it. "Obviously I am going to slow down in the next mile" I told myself as I continued. It started raining a bit. I caught up with Krishna and settled into a good pace with him. 

Since the bet was specifically with Krishna, I was wondering what to do, strategy-wise. My legs were telling me to go on, not slow down. Wearing the quizzer's watch and being a bit distracted overall, I was unable to properly predict my finish time, so gave up and just let my legs do whatever they wanted. Suddenly, I was alone again, but managed to eat an orange and drink some gatorade.

And also slow down a bit, finally. Quickly, I found myself overtaken by a lady. Damn! I valiantly tried to keep up with her but couldn't. We were in the last few miles at that point and she was pacing well and evenly. I stuck to her back, though I was at least 0.5 mins behind her. The quizzer strongly encourages keeping the splits even, and I owed it to his watch to get over the slump and get to the pace I had in the first few miles.

The last two miles, I wanted to make sure to push. I usually cannot do this and it frustrates me no end when I slow down after starting well. I forgot about the bet. I still couldn't estimate finish time too well, but was sure that it was going to be well under 2 hours (my usual, sometimes seemingly unattainable, goal). 

Managed to up-shift a gear and finish strong in 1:51. I lost my bet but won a beautiful second place (women) trophy! On yes, it was also a Personal Best by far. The last time I raced a HM, I did it in 1:55. That course was a fair bit short. This one was also short, but by not as much, thankfully. That muscular person all wet and bedraggled in all-black is me, incidentally.

"Drama Queen" they said. I owe drinks to the guys now for sure! It was ideal PB conditions though. Slightly cool. Slight rain. Flat course. Good organisation by the super enthu Dreamrunners group. Lots of familiar, happy faces. Legs smooth from Saturday's gentle treadmill run at Mahabs. Mind determined thanks to thoughts of a husband who sacrificed his 10k race to stay home with the injured child, and the injured child, who always says I am crazy to run but nevertheless feels proud when I do well; carbo-loading with a Woodlands South Indian Thali; this list is also fairly long!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Blank Slate

I have been away too long. I know. It is not necessarily the actual number of days. Its the mental state of being away from something and completely not thinking about it. Of course, as I often say, it all happens for the best. Everything. That means even my little break.

I have been going around saying that I have been living in the dark ages. It sure feels that way. Thinking back to two weeks ago, or three, rather, I would have said that the thing I need foremost in my new place is internet. Screw the rest of the things. I can manage without. But internet, I need, like I need air.

But guess what? I did NOT manage to arrange that little thing till yesterday. Yes. 12 whole days without access to the net. And I did just fine. For the first few days it was really complete denial. Then I requested a quick shot, I mean slot, on the ipad. Which looks beautiful and is real handy when we are going somewhere and are desperate for directions, but totally sucked for me.

I feel like the whole thing has been therapeutic in some way. Like I should now be starting on a brand new thing, a blank slate of some sort. Even though home internet seems far away still, as they are figuring out 'feasibility.' In a fit of desperation, I procured a Reliance-whatchammacallit which explains how I am here. And I am happy. Though I must now run and figure out some business about homework. Fourth standard, after all. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

New place same old person

It has been a surreal experience, for sure. We are all moved in to our new place. I haven't solved the Internet yet. In my defense it is the first thing I tried to do. But the damned airtel service is so very poor that I got caught in a whole bunch of loops that I couldn't disentangle, and left it at that. The iPad, which my husband has kindly let me borrow, is not the most convenient thing, for anything, really. But it is definitely beautiful, this I admit. And in this moment of my life, when there seems to be this line of things stacked against me, it is a saving grace for me. A chance to get away, albeit virtually. I wish I could muster some enthusiasm to share about our new home. Maybe it will come, in some time. For now, all I am able to do is be practical. And do what I need to do, and hope against hope that the washing machine doesn't flood the place (again). I have set up houses several times before. This is also not the first home we have owned. I have a system, I know the priority items. I of course have my obsessions, some of which are watered down versions of my mothers obsessions. Still, even armed with this knowledge, it has been, and continues to be, trying times here. Not that I care much about people, but I sense that to my acquaintances, the person I am is a false one. Even to my friends. The one I am inside, this person, is hard for anyone to know. Despite the fact that I am an open, frank, honest being who can never play poker. So I bite back my words. I listen. I learn to speak less, to retreat within myself, further. I lie to my mum, I make jokes. I talk in circles, I try hard not to address my feelings, to not acknowledge them,even to myself. When I break, then too I have learnt, to not regret too much, to just move on... For now I sit and watch the washing machine, and hope it doesn't flood (again)...