As I walk up the stairs, my knees start protesting. If they could, they would hold placards saying, “Unfair Treatment,” or “You’re Killing Us.”
And they would be justified in their allegations and demands. Their claims would not be baseless. (Just to make sure we’re on the same page, we’re still talking about my knees).
Yesterday, I subjected the offended party to 10 kilometers of running (okay, more like a really really slow jog) for the TCS World 10K in Bangalore. Evidently, 18,000 other people decided on the same course of action.
Here’s my deep, insightful take away from the run.
- I love the terminology
I love how in India, the term “10K” is easily interchangeable with “marathon.” I got a few “Best of luck for the marathon” messages from well-wishers. After all, the difference was between a 10K and a marathon is only about 32 extra kilometers. Yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Now people see me as a marathon runner. And who am I to correct them?
- I love the tamasha
Like every good Indian occasion, the 10K came with refreshments. We’re talking candy, juice, and oranges. I mean, by kilometer six I was wondering if an entire thali meal was headed my way. I had taken part in the Portland Marathon a few years ago. (Okay, if we absolutely had to get technical, in the 10K segment of the Marathon. But it’s almost the same thing, remember?). There was no buffet laid out for us runners/ joggers. Gatorade was as good as it got. They really got to come to India and see how to throw a party.
Speaking of parties, only in India can you run from one kilometer to the next with “Shape of you” playing one minute and “Ek, do, Teen” playing the next. All at decibels that make your eardrums explode. You want to run from those speakers so bad, you’ll break a record without even trying.
- I love the city
Bangalore without traffic is like the moonwalk without Michael Jackson. You can’t think of one without the other.
But last morning, the impossible became a reality. No honks, no Ubers, no weaving motorcycles, no smoke. It was Bangalore as it was meant to be. We got to run past the stately Vidhan Soudha and the High Court, under Gulmohars and Palm trees, in Bangalore’s after-the-rains weather. It was perfect. No, you’re not missing the sarcasm. It really was.
- I love the people
Speaking of after-the-rain weather, MG Road was flooded in parts. But no one made a fuss. Everyone slowed to a snail’s pace to walk along the sidewalk. This was Bangalore’s adjust maadi at its best. If you wanted to beat a previous personal record, you just had to wait for the part of run with the ear-splitting music. You would then have every incentive in the world. See, they have it all figured out.
Also, a shout out to all the cheerleaders along the way. Loved the posters and clapping and woots of encouragement. Really made my day. Again, this is a snark-free statement. Imagine that!
- I love the husband
In high school this man was nicknamed ‘The Gazelle’ for how fast he could fly along the race track. Yet, the man who coulda beaten ‘em all, stayed in step with his tired, out-of-breath wife for all ten kilometers.
Only the best part of the run for me. After twelve years together, the Narjalas still got game. So, thank you almost 40-year-old knees. You did good. Until next year!
P.S.: If you want to know more about who we ran for, check out www.uandi.org.in.