Update for January 18, 2010
I almost thought that I would not make it in time for the run. No, I did not wake up late, nor was I delayed in my morning ablutions. The taxi-drivers behaved normally, they refused to ply me to the nearest railway station in the morning with no particular excuse. Typical Black and yellow taxi driver behaviour! So I started my walk to the station that was 1.5 kms from home. That was the dampener at the start, and then when I reached the large assembly ground, I was surprised to see that all participants were still waiting outside the holding area, not being let in. That was dampener #2. Then the dampener #3 – the literal herding of all the crowds through the narrow bamboo turnstiles, with friskers who looked like bouncers at a local night-club, while I felt like a cow forced through a cattle dip – narrow walkway with bamboo sides and forced to go through only in one way. And after a 25 minute wait, the crowds surged ahead as we hit the road to the staring point of the Dream Run. The dream run was a 7 km circuit that started from the VT station and passed famous highlights of South Mumbai until it found its way to the waterfront Marine Drive before returning back through the narrow Princess Street and finally to the Assembly Ground. The initial euphoria and loud chants had all of us pumped up to start running, but the sheer number of people in the run made it difficult to even brisk-walk without bumping into another. But the energy was amazing, with everyone trying to edge past the other to get ahead and then have clear way to finally jog, sprint or run as one chose. Within the first kilometer, I faced my first hurdle, a posse of policemen in full uniform, standing in a circle, bang in the middle of the road that we had to run on. I was initially worried that it could perhaps be some danger or some hurt person, but as I neared the cops, I just saw that some Police Commissioner was have a morning meeting with his team and such a strange place to have it. Perhaps, the TV cameras nearby attracted them. I shouted out, asking them to clear the road, and started my jog – not too fast. (I gather that the police did clear the road thereafter, since some of my fellow runners who followed, did not see them). Thereafter, the mid morning sun was crisp, the air slightly sultry, but the enthusiastic crowd just cheered us on and we kept pounding the streets all the way onto the Marine Drive. The calm bay and the mild breeze were welcome and the low flying airforce helicopter with a TV crew added to the excitement. It was also nice to see friends cheering us, even as many strangers clapped to egg us on. The final stretch over a flyover and onto the Princess street was the most picturesque – as one ran up the slope, and reached the top, one could see the sea of runners below making their way to the flyover, and then as you ran forward, you could see the dropping slope which hastened your step and got you close to your goal of the finish line. At the finish line, I stopped and grabbed a few bottles of water to sip and stretched my muscles. I was feeling on top of the world – no records, nor trophies, but personal satisfaction.
The Dream Run of 17 January, found its way onto D Street today. So the D Boyz who initially started off on a false note, with one or two speed-breakers, broke through the clutter and other Asian market trends and stayed on course of a strong SENSEX day. There were moments during the day when energy levels sagged, and refreshments sought, but that did not deter the Boyz from reaching their goal of staying green and ending up 86 points (0.5% up) at 17641. The rupee too followed suit and gained 0.33% today, against the dollar.
There were around 20,000 people at the dream run yesterday, and all had some messages to convey; some came to celebrate their little victories, while others were in a thanksgiving mood, some wanted to raise awareness, while a few wanted to make a statement. Whatever, their cause; everyone came to run and also have some fun.