The glaring sun trying hard to penetrate through the window of an over chilling air conditioned office.
A girl working, busy, toggles to her emails and finds an HR communication. Reads the email. Excitement travels her body and a Google Chat window open.
Girl: Paresh! I am registering for a marathon. It is happening on April 7.
Paresh: No you are not registering.
Girl: Yes. I am
Paresh: I said no. You are not going to run. Not run on 7th not run on any other day.
Girl: Please Please Please Please Please
Girl: Shut Up. My life. I want to run, I'm running.
Wife, just back from office cooking something up in a jiffy for her child. Setting up dinner for the house before the child wakes up from his siesta.
The husband, returning from office, keys in to the house.
Wife: Hey Paresh! Tea?
Paresh: What you doing? Arrow still sleeping? Are you ready?
Wife: Cooking. Arrow Sleeping. Ready for?
Paresh: Ready for the run?
Wife: What run? I did not register. Thanks for all the support.
Paresh: I am changing you do to. Put on a better shorts and lace up. You need to practice.
Wife: Practice what?
Paresh: You think you can one day wake up from sleep and be able to run the marathon? It isn't as simple.
Wife: What's the point Paresh. You are right. I can not run. I can't take the risk.
Paresh: Risk of...You any way do not have a knee. And if you get into a third surgery, you will be a proven handicap. Imagine the benefits. Free parking, travel concessions...
Wife: Ha ha... Free parking. A luxury to have in Bangalore.
Paresh: You don't worry Baby. You will do okay. And if anything ever happens, you'll always have me..carrying your around, just make sure you don't become heavier than you are.
Brigade Metropolis.The girl, ready to run. Fear of her broken leg lingering. Puts on the mask of bravery. Feels loved by Paresh's gesture. Thanks him in her mind for his faith and encouragement.
Round one. Piece of cake.
Round two. no big deal.
Round 3. I can do it
Round 4: You HAVE to do it.
And then she stops.
Paresh: Come on Baby. Just one more. It is 5K
Girl: Naa.. it's enough for the first day. Let's not over exert. By the way, is one round a KM?
Paresh: Yes. Almost. Let's check.
We take our bike and realize one round in 1.5 KM.
Paresh: Oh! that means, you did 6K.
Girl: Ha ha.. see I can wake up from my sleep and run and be able to finish the Marathon. So...I need no practice.
Girl: So? Can I register. Please?
Paresh: Of course, Babe.
That evening I tell my mother about the Marathon. Other than giving me a look that says, "Do what you want. As if you will ever listen." she says nothing to me. She turns to Paresh and yells yells yells. "Paresh. Get some sense into her. You are the only person who she may listen to."
I have the best husband in the world. Who winks at me.
The D day. Over flowing with confidence yet, a tiny string of fear looming in her mind. What if...? She brushes it off as she combs her hair and instead concentrates on all the swimming she has done. She posses to the mirror to observe her hamstrings. "They have been worked up well" she thinks. "They will look after the knee."
Pre-event. Laughter, dressing up in everything pink and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Go!
The route starts with a steep slope and the fear is back. "Just this stretch", she reminds herself and thinks of Whiskey running with his tongue hanging outside and the graceful steps he would take. In no time the slope is over and there are on lookers everywhere. Photographers busily trying to get a decent snap for the records, men guiding the route, people cheering and everything but the run is forgotten.
I keep up my pace. See girls giving up. Some entirely stopping while, some deciding to walk rather than run. A smile crosses my face as I continue to keep my pace. I think of Paresh. I think of Arrow. "Is he still asleep or, woken up? Hope Pa feeds him on time." and just then, a girl crosses me. "Am I loosing pace?", I wonder and speeden up. I push everyone out of my mind. Paresh, Arrow, Whiskey and just run run run. I try not to think of the knee but, it eventually gets to my mind. I cross the girl who cut me and feel happy. Happy enough to forget the knee for a moment before I see the stadium again. "Just a little more babe. You'll do just fine. And then the deadly slope again. Fear gets to me and just as I decide to give up, I hear Paresh, "I love you baby, go go go" and then I see the photographer I met a couple of days ago trying to get my snap. I forget the fear again and find myself in the running track. I think of school and smile. Hell! I represented entire KV South region. I get on my normal speed. The speed, when I used to actually run. The speed I ran with before my leg gave in. And it feels like bliss. What joy it is to run I remember and hit the finish line. No. 2820 6th position.
I go up to the organizer. 6th?
"2820? Yes 6th. Congrats. You made it in the top 10."
"I made it in the top 10!"
"Paresh. I'm in the top 10! Yay! Aren't you happy?"
"Hah! Big deal. I knew you could do it." "That's my babe."
At home. The girl calls her brother. The best athlete she has ever known.
Girl: Mickey. I ran the marathon!
Mickey: Yeah! They called me. Everyone's pretty angry about it. How's you leg by the way?
Girl: Can't feel any discomfort yet. So long, so good. By the way, I am in top 10! Came over all 6th!
Mickey: Really? Toh all this while the leg was a natak? Very nice. What's the timing?
Girl: 5K 21min + some seconds.
Mickey: Fantastic! Are you going to become an athlete again?
Girl: No. It was just this once and I'm going back to living in fear.
Pa and ma enter and hand over Arrow to me telling me what he ate for breakfast ask me to bathe him.
Papa. I came over all 6th!
"Very nice Baby. Arrow! Did you hear that? Your mumma came 6th?" "Is your knee okay? Any discomfort?"
"Knee fine." "And I came 6th!"
"That's my girl" says, pa as he hugs me.
" A broken leg and a hell load of confidence.""Good girl" says, mum and smiles looking at Paresh.
I love my parents for they built in me a love for sports. Both my Mom and Dad are fantastic athletes. Seeing all their unsaid anger vanish made my day. Their anger too made me happy. For it showed me how much they care.
I'm striking off a thing from my bucket list. For I finally ran the marathon!