Running Roundup

Number of runs in April: 7

Total Kms : 29.59

Total time spent: 4.45 hrs

Hmm… not  a post that I’d like to boast about, but something is better than nothing…. Sometimes I wonder if I should set a goal for this – but I’d rather see if I exceed the April score this month, then only I’d be up for a goal!!


‘The one with all the laughter and fun’

An episode with all the laughter and fun and hysteria and gossip and flashbacks and hilarity!! Friends! arent friends like episodes?? well, if they really are, then I’d have preferred a daily soap – so that the good times continue into eternity 🙂

I have always thought about this (not as a blogpost 🙂 of course)  – what friendship means, especially since the contexts have changed, times have changed, lifestyles have changed. How do you become friends with anybody… there are many reasons – ‘habit friend/s’ as in people who you end up hanging out with due to reasons such as being neighbours / classmates etc, ‘aspirational value friends ‘ as in people whose personalities / qualities  hold a sort of attraction and you feel they are cool, you want to be like them and you might hang out with them, many other reasons perhaps, but the one I value a lot is connection.

For example,  when I recall my childhood, can conclude that as a child, my only friends were the neighbouring kids/ classmates sitting next to me/my cousins because those people were ‘given’ in my life. Everyone begins with such friends. They are ‘habit’ friends – they have different nature than yours, you might realise that (though not as articulately as that – you will just not like them and pick fights with them) but you still play with them. All of the friends of my childhood were as such ‘habit’ friends, and I dont have a particular memory about any of them. I remember random things like a classmate sitting next to me in class 1 broke all my crayons, a boy had once run away from school – he was my friend  – and I think they never found him etc… I mean, those were totally non-descript years. atleast in my life 🙂 anyways, this is digression from the topic at hand….

Coming back to what I want to say : In my adult life – I take that back. I’d say, ever since I began to really understand that world did not feel the same way as I did , I met only a handful people outside of my family who I thought ‘got me’ – spoke the exact language I spoke. I really admire people who can instantly connect with anybody and everybody, but deep down, I am skeptical. I believe such connections are not as cheap and easy. Nevertheless, I have been privy to the absolute joy that is afforded by having such friends, such connections and I can totally testify to the fact that age, financial status, education etc need not be a common ground to make such a friendship. One such friend is now 51!! She and I dont share many things in common, we are mostly not in touch with each other, but when we meet, we can chat for hours and hours, pick up from where we left it like 2/3/5/7 months ago!! And I cannot explain it. Her concerns, opinions etc are entirely different from mine, given her age and yet, when I speak to her, I do feel we are equals – that she understands me perfectly. Perhaps it is her nature – unlike other people of her age she doesnt release a barrage of advices and can laugh at my jokes. Whatever it is, I’m grateful, I met her.

For most of the people, the best years of life are college years, when many people do experience such a connection with several people at a time and that is really an amazing feeling. Thereafter the work begins and colleagues are supposed to be your competitors and habit – friends. It is very rare to make friends for real within formal and official conditions though I am fortunate enough to make a handful of them and it is something that sometimes I cannot believe myself….

It is a truth universally acknowledged (I like to quote Jane Austen now and then 🙂 ) that the good times last only for short while… Life is changing too fast – jobs/ education/ marriage makes it rather impossible for the ‘connection’ to last over two different countries/ cities etc. And that’s why I said friends are like episodes nowadays. So one can only hope to make many more such connections in their lifetime and of course hope that the old connections are not given up that easily….

Pic of the week

Testing template

New template

Too many things are changing too fast around me… I’m not sure I like all these changes, but apart from accepting those, I can do nothing…. Well, probably I can change myself…but I’m not sure that’s a topic I want to explore… Anyways, bored with my previous theme, I thought of making a change here in the template, since I kept on looking for a better template than my previous one. I am using Mystique now and I like it very much, its customizable to a great extent. Header is just the collage of some of the pics I captured on mobile phone. In essence, the mundane oddities my life is filled with…

I remember in my earlier blogs, I had tweaked around with html code quite a bit. Years have gone by and I’ve forgotten most of the HTML commands, plus nowadays the CSS stylesheets that the templates support are too complicated to understand for someone like me. Still, I’d like to explore around with this template a bit and try changing it

A Run for Some Fun – Trail Note of my WWWP5K

I ran 5K today, along with several other bloggers from the world over! I’m happy, ecstatic rather, and absolutely exhausted!! My legs are sore by now, and my face is still semi-reddish from the sun burn, but I’m loving it!! 🙂

Running is probably the only form of exercise that interests me. Its more free styled than any other form of sport,perhaps that’s why. It can never get boring. You can change route, time, distance, time of the day etc. Running on roads/ trails sets you free, without the enclosed environment of a gym where the personal trainer allows you limited time on treadmill and where on a treadmill, you stare at a fixed point, day after day. Or like my earlier gym, if yours too had the entire wall in front of treadmills covered in mirror, you’d stare at your reflection in the mirror in front of the treadmill and keep checking whether you continued to look unflattering while diligently avoiding (and convincing your mind against) staring at (or sometimes checking out even 😉 ) your fellow ‘gymmers’ on your both sides, through the same full length mirror. At some point within couple of days, you’d be tired looking at yourselves not getting any better and just give up, like I had…but then, somehow, 3-4 years back, I got interested in running. I ran in and around my area, usually early in the mornings, taking in the scenery and enjoying myself thoroughly. I always ran alone, and realised that when I reach an optimum speed (optimum for myself), I’d just forget myself and everything else for that matter. It was a great feeling. I’d like to think that it would have been ‘runners’ high’ – though I never ran long distances. Well, months passed and work and laziness crept in. Waking up that early became a serious issue with me and I just gave up on one of the greatest source of pleasure in my life…

A month ago, when I suddenly remembered my run-happy days, I began to miss terribly, the feeling of power/victory that I’d experience on completing a run, sometimes exceeding my target… and I wanted to get back to running. As usual, I resumed my C25K program with Ullreys’ podcasts – and started with week 3 since I felt that week 1 and 2 had too less running in them to excite me into continuing running. It seems week 3 had less running too by now for me…I must have ran a couple of times last month, that’s all. My motivation to run was then suppressed by my monthly work related deadlines and other random events it seems. I guess, WWWP5K was THE trigger that I was waiting for. I think I read the WP blog on April 2. With so many other participants and fellow runners, I felt this could work as that final push to make me get back to running, so I signed up. Well, you just had to blog about it and put up a pic of yourselves on the blog!  Now that was nice. Not only you got to participate in a worldwide event, but also gloat about it!! 🙂

Since I hadn’t run much since long, I ran a couple of times last week, to assess my stamina levels. Using mapmyrun, I discovered that I had done much better than I thought, both the times. That helped me into thinking that 5K at this point was an achievable target. Sunday was to be D-day and I had already mapped my route. I decided at that point that since I was able to do 3.5 – 4 K in 35 mins, I should just let go on the time part for now. Doing 5K within 35-40 mins would have been difficult, since I found myself exhausted after my 4K run. I knew I had to finish 5K because that would be such a psychological milestone and propel me futher. I had decided to wake up at 5 am and go running, hoping that cool weather and deserted roads would make everything easy. Anything later than 7.00 am in Mumbai (Thane) nowadays means hot, humid and sunny – which I had experienced on my earlier 2 runs and wanted to avoid since it would be longer distance and time too.

Due to activity-filled Saturday, I slept late and of course woke up really late despite my setting various alarms in my cell phone. It was 8.00 am!! I did a double take and had this sagging feeling… 8.00 am meant hot weather, and 5K meant more than 40 mins. By the time, I’d return, I reckoned, it’d be so sunny and I’d be so exhausted that I better leave this run for some other day. But then I reminded myself, that it was Sunday and atleast there would be less human activity on the road at this time than any other weekday. Sooner or later, I had to overcome this psychological barrier and why not today…, so I was up and ready in 15 minutes. I drank quite a bit of water before heading out  – I dont carry water bottle in hand, nor do I have a strap to tie it to my waist since I feel it’d be uncomfortable.

I began at 8.20 am.As expected, it was sunny. There were people, but most of them were returning from their morning walks/ heading out to grocery stores etc. I was using Ullrey’s week 5 podcast, day 3. I’d decided that I’d run for 20 mins at stretch after the 5 mins brisk walk and complete the rest of the distance doing a cool-down brisk walk. Traffic was definitely less. Summer in Mumbai means lot of road-digging activities to finish repairs in advance of monsoon. So the road stretch was dusty at times and terrain wasn’t exactly smooth. A run here also means company of countless stray dogs. Though many people do complain of hounding on their runs, I always have a handy strategy, when I notice a dog from a distance, I slow down to a jog! Till now, this has been a foolproof (dog-proof) strategy. Anyway, such several dug-out points and dog run-ins later, when I was into 13th minute of my run, I felt terribly thirsty, sweaty and weak from the heat and sun. I felt I should have carried some water and worn a cap. Besides, my face was all heating up. I have oily-reddish skin that reddens, tans and sunburns easily. I realised, I wasn’t wearing any sunscreen either. I didnt want to stop, but moment by moment, it was getting harder not to. So I decided to push myself only upto the next big tree, and then, the next and so on. I actually ran for 21 minutes at a stretch and that was little past 4K mark. The next 5 minutes of podcast were brisk cool – down walk. I knew, I couldnt cover remaining almost 1 K within those 5 mins and I was absolutely exhausted.I decided to walk at my own pace – that wasnt really brisk. So it must’ve taken me more than 12 mins to complete the remaining distance. By the time, I returned home, I checked it was 9.10 am. I checked myself in the mirror, My face was most unbecoming shade of red – though it was from exhaustion, exertion and pride of having crossed that mental barrier of 5K. I have consciously refrained from posting my own pics on this blog and I would stick to it, even with the glory of 5K. I could have taken images of the trail, but it wasnt really a picturesque and I was busy trying to complete my goal!

What can I say about the whole experience…I’m feeling great. Ran a total of 12.75 Kms within these 3 runs. More than I ran for past 7-8 months together. That is saying something! It removed my psychological resistance to resuming running. Yes, I am tired indeed and need a day or two off from running, but this time, I’m gonna resume it soon.

Random things that puzzle me (currently)

  1. Soft toys on peoples’ desk at work – W-H-Y !!!Cannot imagine what makes people do this! Why are tiny teddys and heart shapes hung like festoons on whiteboards / stationed on the desk at some strategic point which an approaching colleague will not miss. These soft things are of various varieties – mugs (yes, there ARE some mugs made out of synthetic furs), spiders and bugs, tiny dolls etc. Not to typecast, especially since I am a girl myself, but fortunately, I havent seen these things on a male colleague’s desk yet. Why women must be fascinated with a soft toy spider I cannot understand. They cannot stand a real spider for sure. Though the whole concept of soft toy at work is difficult to digest! it is O-F-F-I-C-E for God’s sake, not a kindergarten. What can people mean by keeping soft toy on desk? That you’re like a child who needs to be excused for all the laxity in your work? that if someone shouts at you for not meeting a deadline, you need that teddy to hold and cry?? For that matter many people leave tinsel things on their desk for decoration. What is it? is it to bring glamour and joy where there is none? or to convince oneself that even work can be all bright and shining? Sure, I have a laughing buddha on my desk as well. A colleague gifted it to me on her last working day…for good luck. If she had gifted a soft toy instead, I’d have passed it on to my nephews and nieces instead…
  2. Pink cars – What might seem as paradox, I have always seen these cars driven by men. WHY do people buy PINK cars?After all, I’m a girl. How can I not like pink? But on a car?? that’s too much! Its a shock to my senses to watch a fuchsia/ purple/bubblegum pink car pass by. Seriously?? I know, its a car. It can be of any colour that the owner wants. So I’m shutting up. But pink cars should be banned!! period!
  3. People who play songs on their mobile phones at public places – (Loudly, NOT USING EARPHONES) WHAT are these people thinking? that they know what we would like to hear?? either that, or perhaps they imagine themselves alone! Either ways you suffer. On a day when you’re happy (that day is usually Friday – Fri evening to be precise), you’ll ignore and occasionally even enjoy that song…but on a day when you’re tired after work and want to just sit and stare into nothingness in a train compartment, woman next to you loudly plays – ‘Volume kam kar Pappa Jag Jayega’  – a paradox. You want to slap such people!!!
  4. People who buy identical set of clothes/accessories for their twins – I wonder especially because I feel that parents would want to be able to tell one kid from the other. Wherever I go however, I notice that they always dress their kids identically – though colour combinations may occasionally vary. I don’t have a twin, but if I had and my parents had done such a thing to us, I dont think I’d have been able to forgive  them…all childhood memories – pics would have this other similar looking person with similar dress / hairdo  / toys and steal my thunder. Arent I supposed to be exclusive? I’m sure, the kids do feel this…

Alone Again, Naturally

I love both these songs, obviously for separate reasons 🙂

The original is a sad song, which touches right chords almost instantaneously and the modern version is supposed to make you laugh,laugh you do, but the animation and whole mood towards the end of movie leaves you with some bittersweet feelings…

The Original

The Gen-Y/Z song

Weekend Photography

These are from a recent trip to a nondescript part of North Karnataka. Hot sunny weather and the fall had left much to be desired for. I think, I like nature photography the most – the camera just captures what is already beautiful- no props, no nothing required…

Now Reading

I’m reading a novella called ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray‘ – By Oscar Wilde. I haven’t yet reached even the middle of this book, but am in love with the prose – which is sometimes as lovely as poetry. I loved the description of human nature and I wish I could remember every 2nd line from this book. Till now, this book seems to be promoting hedonism, but in most beautiful language ever imaginable!! I’m reading it on basic kindle , so while I do try to highlight, it gets a bit tedious. If I had a hardbound copy of this book, I’d probably not underline the text and spoil the paper. I read a very interesting para today,  in chapter 4:

– “Human life–that appeared to him the one thing worth investigating.  Compared to it there was nothing else of anyvalue.  It was true that as one watched life in its curious crucible of pain and pleasure, one could not wear over one’s face a mask of glass,nor keep the sulphurous fumes from troubling the brain and making the imagination turbid with monstrous fancies and misshapen dreams.  There were poisons so subtle that to know their properties one had to sicken of them.  There were maladies so strange that one had to pass through them if one sought to understand their nature.  And, yet, what a great reward one received!  How wonderful the whole world became to one!  To note the curious hard logic of passion, and the emotional coloured life of the intellect–to observe where they met, and where they separated, at what point they were in unison, and at what point they were at discord–there was a delight in that!  What matter what the cost was? One could never pay too high a price for any sensation.

Wholeheartedness, Vulnerability and such other emotional matters

Ted Talks is probably THE coolest movement / initiative I have come across in many months. I watched one video – I think it was Kiran Bedi’s talk that I stumbled upon and then just downloaded episodes after episodes like a madwoman. This is a forum which invites contemporary thought leaders from various fields to talk about their work – and within 18 minutes. These talks are usually sprinkled with anecdotes and humor. And from various fields too – microbiology, space technology, mathematics, psychology, sociology, music, you name it!  There are more than 800 such talks and so far I have watched about 10 of them. Of which, I particularly liked Maz Jobrani’s stand up comedy about anti-Muslim sentiment in the Western world , Jason Fried’s ‘Why work doesnt happen at work ‘ (I LOVED this) , Salman Khan’s (not the actor of course)  talk on reinventing education …. and R A Mashelkar’s talk on low cost innovations in India

Today, I watched Brene Brown’s ted talk on  the power of vulnerability .

I loved it! She is a seasoned speaker and her self deprecating humour is refreshing. She concluded in nutshell, through in depth research that while all of us strive to belong / to connect, the only ones that can feel the connection are the ones who live wholeheartedly. Wholeheartedly meant accepting who you are and then making attempts to let others see who you really are.  It also meant taking that first step, making yourself vulnerable by investing emotionally in people, situations, actions when the end result may or may not be favourable / reciprocated in kind with the action. The people who CAN do so are the ones who have a sense of self-worth and that such people are the ones who can empathise and hence, CAN make themselves vulnerable in front of the world….in a nutshell, I believe this means wearing your heart on your sleeve and experiencing the highs and lows that come with it.

Deep down, I believe this. Probably experiencing every emotion in fullest sense must involve making yourself vulnerable to a thought / an action in relation to other people / events etc. That if you numb your fears and pains so that you are less vulnerable to any external impact (others’ thoughts/actions/external event etc). But then, the joys and the highs that you experience will also have a ceiling…since you never really allowed yourself to plunge low, you never bounced very high… in a way, this controlled response can lead to emotional isolation – being unable to experience life fully…living only in pieces…

On the other hand, I believe, there is nothing more difficult than letting go …of oneself, one’s ego and letting others in, all the while knowing that they may shun you even after that. While you made yourself transparent, it might or might not have been that convincing/ engaging  or even beneficial for the others. Still, I would almost call it ‘giving’ – emotional investment without expecting anything in return….. I can think of only 2 such individuals in my life – my parents. And I think most of us would be able to think of our parents in such all-giving mode. I believe that as parents, that sense of connect/ belonging is already nature-given. That we BELONG to them and that is why they can love us wholeheartedly, without expecting anything in return…

While I am yet to read further on Brene Brown’s study and conclusions, I believe that she has presented through her data, what the poets had been saying since the aeons.