I have taken up running lately. Not as much for vanity but more because I have been feeling high strung lately and I think I have more energy than I burn on a daily level. Besides, exercise in general releases happy hormones and we all could use a good dose of that every now and then.
Given these reasons on alternate days, I lace up and head out (in full length slacks and a loose t-shirt because though urban this is still India and a woman running is more than a few Indian men can handle) and the encounters that follow have inspired this post.
Sunday morning. 8 a.m. I was taking it slow because I hadn’t exercised in almost a year and dying from exhaustion (or limping after a muscle pull) didn’t really fit my idea of a nice Sunday Morning. Then I saw them. The gaping mouths of groggy from sleep hawkers and shopkeepers. Looking at me as if I am an alien in sports shoes. Staring with their mouth open so even the squiggly little thing that hangs in the back of their mouth can register me in all my detail. (note: It is hard to roll one’s eyes and run without tripping o the gazillion stray rocks on the road. Just saying)
I managed to live through Day 1. Gaping mouths and all.
Tuesday evening. 8 p.m. I had spent the previous two days groaning with every slight movement due to the soreness in my muscles. (I have become quite stiff in the past year) But it was important to run today or the next time the whole ordeal would have to be repeated. And I had a disco nap after returning from work and when I woke, I was pretty much a cranky infant so before anyone was massacred in the cross fire between me and my swinging moods, I decided to run it off.
The roads close to my house were crowded with evening shoppers and folks returning home from work so I decided to hit the expressway. I was running along, listening to my music, lost in runner nirvana when I realized to my chagrin that an autorickshaw was trailing me.
I ignored it for the next few minutes and then he pulled over and asked me of I wanted a ride. It seemed to him that I was in a hurry (SmartAlec A*#hole) I had to control hard to not show him my middle finger and just asked him to leave in a rather loud voice. (When I am running late by a bazilllion minutes or all the rain the sky can hold has decided to pour in the short few minutes that I commute from work to home, at such times I could never find a autorickshaw, and then there is this guy A*#%^&e)
When I finished my run and got to my building, I stood waiting for the lift (I should have just run up the stairs, like seriously) An old Sardar uncle (Read my thoughts on them here) looked at me rather rudely and asked my in all seriousness with a straight face, “Is it raining outside?” (It is summer with NO TRACE of rain) Apparently, he was referring to my profuse sweating. *rolls eyes* And then proceeded to laugh at his own joke and asked me patronizingly if I went ‘jogging’ and I politely nodded. I just wanted to go home, curl up on my bed and die.
Mental Note: Being a woman, especially one that likes to run occasionally on the streets of Mumbai, can attract unwanted attention.
Anyway, time for another run.
(P.S.: I am using this app RunKeeper for my running adventures and I must say it is extremely useful. It tracks speed, times and alerts every five minutes.
This app is a good one and gets my thumbs up )