Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Games We Play

Ludwig consented to eat dinner with us last night. We felt so thrilled. I suggested to the monster that I should call a few more young people (one of my cousins was going to come as well). Young people as in, not kids of course. I am not known for my skills in handling kids sans parents, definitely not between the hours of 7 and 10 in the night on a school day. So, young people >18 years of age, and preferably not dependent on mommy for eating purposes. That was my criterion. Monster nicked that one in the bud. I don't think she meant it seriously, sometimes she says the exact opposite of what she wants. Anyway, Perakath could not make it either due to the earliness of the hour, so it was a small tight gathering consisting cosily of ludwig and cousin and me and monster - the husband arrived later in the night by which time everyone was back home, some working, some chatting, and some snoring (meaning, me).

Now this brings me to ludwig. sometimes I think he is like Kevin Bacon, but with a difference. I like Kevin Bacon (no, that is not the difference; minus twenty points for thinking that). My favourite K.Bacon movie of all is called the "AIR UP THERE" - its a basketball movie from a long time ago that has the dude go some place in Africa and kick some basketball ass. Its famous for a dialogue which goes "Read it and weep!" in a context that I will not belabour here.

Six degrees of separation, right. Only, with ludwig, its less. Usually whenever I meet someone, this is what happens.

"Hi, my name is Kenny. Do you know ludwig?"

"Yes, yes, I met him in XYZ in the year RTY"

"Oh! Nice guy no? And Machan, have you noticed his head?"

"How do YOU know him"

"Me? From here and there. We were in college and grad school and cambridge and asha meeting and so on together"

"I see. He does that thing right? (** thing being something absolutely crazy sounding, movie reviews, standing on ones head, eatomania contests, stuff of legend like that **)"

I mean, it could be ANYBODY. Of any of the three genders that abound on this bountiful earth. Sorry, I meant two. They invariably, inexplicably, know ludwig. Some refer to his love of animals. Some claim they like him because he swears like a sailor. Some say they worked (!) with him. Some were his roommates. Some are his running buddies. Some have participated in Eatomania with him (and lost). Some are his shopping mates.

Now coming to the monster. Last night, when I told her he is coming over, she expressed her happiness by completely ignoring my statement. She was hanging out in a corner of the kitchen reading 'Ramayana for children' behind the fridge because she felt shy of my cousin. Then once ludwig showed up she sprinted up the stairs, forced me to go with her to her cupboard (I do wish, that some cupboard in my house, old mother hubbard, would be bare, most are overflowing with stuff usually this one surely was). I suggested puzzle X Y & Z. She dissed it all. Searched hard for the Unicorn Jigsaw Puzzle and brought it down. No words were initially exchanged. But soon enough everyone was solving the Unicorn Puzzle. Ludwig was at his abusive best and the monster was abusive back with 'knobs on' in her words.

Some twenty years hence I guess the monster will be a person who will say

"I know ludwig, we used to solve puzzles together"

Its something, I guess. And me? I was just happy to eat dinner with people that don't need to be fed... And who eat heartily and like food and don't dislike Green Peas.

Monday, 18 January 2010

How many ways do I love thee?


The sealink. Fucking awesome. Really. It was so absolutely wonderful to run on it. I am not sure it would be likewise to drive on it, after all Mumbai traffic is Mumbai traffic even if I am all sad and missing and loving Mumbai all at once.

The junta came out in droves. I think the Half Marathon was almost as crowded as the Dream Run. At least it felt like it. I was pretty irritated for the first 1-2 km , mostly with people walking five-abreast and pretty much blocking the entire road. Especially those people that tend to walk pendulum fashion, tilting their bodies left to right all the time. And boy! What a profusion of yellow tshirts!

I wore pink. Seriously. It has become my favourite running tee now. Its a dark pink (maybe Fuchsia) asics dryfit thing.

The one thing though with the new Half Marathon route is that its a bit lonely and quiet in stretches. Every year I complain that its too noisy but now I realise that the noise is at times beneficial!

Peddar Road - I conquered her (!). I managed to run through; sipped water just before and just after. And was singing as I did that. Of course my pace did get compromised there, but not as much as usual. I think I finally get the hang of Peddar Road, with its interminable uphill climb and totally unsatisfactory downhill. Its in my head.

My calves cramped up for a few seconds; thankfully after I finished the race. Most likely it was because of my sprinting in the last few meters to the finish line.

Energy-wise, I did real well yesterday. After the race, I came back to Powai, showered, met with two students, drank coffee (and gallons of orange juice), went to Dadar, met the Srgntpepper's adorable little daughter, drank two beers and partook of some fabulous food for lunch, Meru to airport, Indian airlines, back home, Curd Rice, pickle, Bengay for the knees which had started to complain a bit, and passed out through the night, and back at the helm, now. No pain. Not much. A touch of sun, a bit of tan, a bit of tiredness.

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon really rocks. And my friends, Orcaella, Srgntpepper, Sivey, my Mumbai running gang, and yes, even the Chennai running gang who unfortunately could not come to the SCMM this year, well, you all make it special for me, sea-link or no sea-link. (not to mention my homies, who went to Hyderabad together just so I could peacefully gallivant off to Mumbai). I hope to be back next year!! And meanwhile, its onward to the Auroville Half in February.


Thursday, 14 January 2010


Recently, I rediscovered a lost love.

Yo Yo Check this out Check this out:
I pulled up to a house about seven or eight
& Yelled to the cabbie, Yo Homes Smell Ya Later!
Looked at my kingdom I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the WHAT??

You know, right, The Absolutely Fabulous (wait, thats another show I used to like to watch), the one and only, Will Smith, my lost love, as The Fresh Prince of BelAir!!

So anyway, I remembered it and sang it for the half-pint (or pint, as the case might be). She LOVED it. She called up her father and said Yo Homes Smell Ya Later. I know, we are very respectful like that around this household of late. So, stories involving pongs became popular for a day or two. I went for a run and returned smelling deliciously, well, delicious, and received my Smell Ya Later promptly.

But Pong reminded me also of the fact that today is Pongal. Which means its a holiday. WooHoo! Which is the reason I could sleep late. Well, that, and the fact that the husband caught a flight in the morning and so of course I could not get up and go run or anything. And the fact that I am SUPER DEPRESSED because my laptop died. It made some preparatory squeaky noises, of ear-splitting decibels, and then proceeded to die. I have handed it over to unreliable looking service professional (ha! that word as applied to them is sort of too funny) in Adyar. Meanwhile its the bat-cave and the deKStop at home. As it is, I don't house a desktop at office because I find it much more convenient to use the laptop everywhere. The laptop which probably has something very serious wrong with it.

Oh well.

It could be worse I suppose. Holiday today. Mumbai Marathon over weekend. Made some species of data backup end of November. Managed to get squared away for tomorrow by working hard and redoing things yesterday itself. Just have to photocopy today and will be all set. Might as well use this opportunity to cancel the Early AM class on Monday and move it to afternoon, right? Who knows?

In the best case:

* Laptop will be repaired.
* Data will be restored.
* Global Warming will be reversed (not too much, not to IceAge levels, but just....enough..)
* Aliens will be formless thought-waves.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Vacation Shmacation

We went to Srilanka. Still is a beautiful place, I remembered that part right. The last time we went, we had a wonderful time, just the two of us. We went with two backpacks. By the end of the week that we spent there we had
* knotted calves from climbing down Adam's Peak too fast
* nasty dirty clothes filling the backpacks
* a wonderful feeling of satisfaction in our bellies...
We took local transport except for one place where Pere, a friendly young fellow, insisted on driving us in his (rental) car. Buses. Trains. Standing in line at the train station. Exclaiming at the quaint-ness of it all. A gorgeous, slow, train ride through the hills. A bus to the Seetha Temple. The botanical gardens in pouring rain. Tea tasting. Arrack tasting. Bednbreakfast inns that were the cutest things ever. Watching in fascination at the shooting of a Sinhalese movie - all the ladies dressed in pink frilled frocks. All this was in early 2000. The last time we went there.

This time we had a planned itinerary. We went with friends. Of course the monster. It was much more organized. We did what was definitely a sensible route. We went to Horton's Plain (which I ran through of course, a wonderful 9 km trail). Guns & I ran on country roads and were chased by dogs. We ran on city roads and were hounded by buses. The gyms were fantastic. I did weights after eons. We hit the beaches too. We drank some poisonous tasting local stout beer. We stayed in at least two spectacularly magnificent hotels. All close to nature and rocks inside the hotel complex and a dude playing the flute sitting on top of rocks and everything. Food was great too, we nosed out several local places serving yummy veggie food. It was all wonderful, but in such a different way.

But, But, But. On day three or so, the monster rolled off the bed in the middle of the night. How? Why? No one knows. She injured herself pretty badly. We spend three hours in a hospital in Kandy. Getting her X-ray. Waiting in line for the very popular orthopedist. She is fine. It was a hairline crack. I would have expired of guilt if left to myself. But she recovered real fast too. She climbed rocks and played in the ocean just as if there was nothing wrong with her. And when she cried in pain, I was strong and held her (loosely, so as not to hurt her further). She lost weight. Her father took over the task of coaxing her to eat (May I say he did a wonderful job of it, its the most painful job ever).

I did not wallow and rue the ruination of vacation. Heck, it was NOT ruined. On hind-sight, it was just great. Children are that way such cool creatures. She wore this nasty clavicle brace happily with no acknowledgment of the stares she was receiving. We possibly relaxed a little more than we would have normally - I mean in terms of pushing ourselves physically, the gymming and running which are a good part of our vacation usually, was reduced, just so we could hang out together. For myself, I did not climb Adam's Peak as originally intended. But aside from that, we had quality family time. We met other friends (who were also there) - albeit briefly. We hung out drinking beers and listening to the IPOD several nights in our hotel rooms. The other child (who is a good eater) could be heard trying to teach mine to eat well. They were so cute together, those two girls! We have a billion pictures taken.

You learn from every experience. I learned to appreciate what a trooper my little monster is, over this vacation.