Auroville Marathon

It all started with our friend Vanniaperumal asking us to join him for a trip to Pondicherry. He had plans of participating in the Auroville marathon. He has taken up running as hobby for some reason and is spending good amount of time discovering the streets in his village. It was long since we went for a trip together. With the trekking gang disintegrated escaping out of bangalore on some trip was becoming a rare phenomenon. So decided to join him for the trip and for some reason registered for the the marathon as well. We had not given too much of thought on whether it was possible to complete, what sort of training it required etc.

The training started a month before the marathon with a 10K run in lalbagh. 10KM on the first day was not a good idea, we realized it the hard way completing it mostly by walking and taking 1 hour 40 minutes. That day it dawned upon us that 21KM is going to be a daunting task and requires a lot of practice. Tried running in the morning for sometime but sleep is more precious than these stuffs. So hit the gym @ office in the evening for the first time in life. I had decided never to visit a gym but to remain healthy by doing routine activities. But i had no other option this time and started running 3 to 4 KM daily.

Running was fun. Running 21KM was self imposed punishment. Realized that when we decided to try 21KM before the marathon day and tried the same in lalbagh. It took 3 hours 20 minutes, with some running and lot of walking. End result was a lot of pain and walking style like a duck after that. But we knew it was achievable. Few more days at the gym and a week of rest, we were ready for the marathon on Feb 9. Atleast we thought we were.

Went to Pondicherry on Feb 8. Visited Auroville and collected the BIB. Liked the atmosphere in Auroville and how organized they were. After some roaming around Pondicherry and enjoying the TN cuisines in their original taste, visited auroville in the night again as Vanni had registered the pasta dinner. That dinner helps in running better next day it seems 🙂 Mani and myself assumed idly and dosa does the same and had that for dinner. Came back to room and rested. Should say, i did relish the food in pondicherry.

Auroville was bustling with activity when we reached at 5.30AM.  This time there were more than 2000 participants for the half marathon alone so it was crowded. I was supposed to start in the first wave of 600 @ 6:15AM, while vanni and mani were in the wave that started at 6.25AM. The marathon started sharply at 6:15AM and i started running without much plan, with the only intention of finishing it without injuries. Soon i was running a decent pace, overtaking the slow runners and in sight of the leaders. Thanks to the gym, was able to maintain the pace for sometime but soon settled to the speed i am comfortable with, around 8-8.5KMPH. Was excited every time i crossed every KM mark, but as time progressed 1KM looked a little elongated. Could not stop thinking the organizers are playing some cruel trick and increased the distance. Anyway, at the end of an hour, i had completed 8KM. Was able to maintain the pace and completed 10KM in 1 hour 15 minutes.

10KM was a sign of achievement, soon a signal from the cerebrum asked me to slow down. I could see a lot of people from second, third and fourth wave overtaking and disappearing. Since it was expected didn’t care much. But when girls overtook, there was a tight slap on the ego, but body and mind were in unison and made sure there was no increase in the speed. But no sign of Vanni and Mani. At the second hour i completed around 15KM and around here, Vanni crossed me, uttered few words hastily and ran ahead. Mani was nowhere in sight.

After 15KM, succumbed to the pressure of mind and started walking. Tried doing it at a reasonable pace, but dont think i achieved it. It was also turning hot, which was acting as a deterrent. Continued walking till 20KM in the next 50 or so minutes. After 20KM, not sure what motivated me, is that the crowd near the finishing line or the gal who was irritating me by overtaking me and then walking in front and doing the same once i crossed her, i suddenly got some energy to run again. When it was around 300 meters from the finishing line, found that there is a chance to complete the marathon within 3 hours. Was pumped up in seconds and started sprinting. It felt like sprinting, probably was running at a decent pace. Not sure where the energy had vanished after 15KM, and how it returned. Atlast the finish line was in sight, body ached, gasped a little for breath but completed the marathon at last in around 2 hours 59 minutes. Target achieved.

I am still not sure, how running 21KM is fun 🙂 But wont deny getting a medal and posing for a photo, though it is your own camera did give a momentary happiness. A sense of achievement and completion that is missing in this adult life. I was not comparing myself with others, nor did i find think about how will it help  in future, what i had was a childish joy of accomplishing something though it could be worthless. In that way, it was fun indeed.  Now i am running few KMs in gym daily. Looks like there is one marathon on the way, lets see if i run in that as well.

IPL III – CSK vs RCB

IPL III is beautifully poised, with five teams at 12 points after 12 matches. Lalit Modi should be a happy man, since his plan has worked out well. So it is going to be a tough fight from here. Leaving all those stuffs behind, IPL does provide some enjoyment. We had gone for the match here in Bangalore. As usual it was the CSK vs RCB match on March 23, and as usual, we were there as CSK supporters.

After a bit of delay, we got settled there. This time it was a lot different from IPL I. RCB was doing good and there were so many supporters for RCB. We were like an island surrounded by RCB supporters, tough task for us actually. And unfortunately, Dhoni was also missing in the match due to injury. Raina won the toss and called Bangalore to bat, the decision we were not happy with. We still follow the street cricket rules, the team winning the toss should bat first.

Anyway the match started with some CSK domination. CSK bowled well picked up quick wickets and match was in control til the 17th over. So till the 17th over, we got opportunity to shout and keep ourselves happy. After 17th over we were at the receiving end. RCB fans in the row behind us were shouting in our ears when Uthappa’s shot cleared boundary line. But it was still interesting than sitting in home and watching the match alone.

We expected some fun in Chennai batting. Expectation that Hayden would fire, backfired as Hayden just kept switching between normal bat and mongoose bat. And Man of the match Bailey, showed his skill as very good test batsman. Thanks to Shyam, who came up with the idea of calling everything as “Idea batting”, “Idea bowling”, “Idea fielding” for all of CSK’s mistakes. Back row, RCB fans, should have wondered what we are upto. We just wanted some entertainment 🙂 Anyway after some time RRR was too high and wickets were falling. We knew, its time to leave and we left in the 15th over. Soon the celebration of the RCB fan, announced us the results. Thanks to whoever responsible for arranging all the BMTC buses, soon we caught a bus and went home, discussing whether IPL is fixed or not. And most important thing, White mischief, the cheer leaders of RCB were dancing a little away from us and it was good 😛

This time the crowd included DP, Eric, Shyam, Musi and Myself. In IPL, we cant blame a team, because it is not in their hands. It doesn’t matter how a team plays, when it is money that is actually playing. Lets see what Modi has in mind for CSK. My teammate’s prediction was that CSK will reach semis, since both the semis are in Bangalore and CSK has some support here in Bangalore. Lets see how it gos.

“Record Breakers”

“Record Breakers” is how i fondly call the Indian cricket team, the most acclaimed team in India. Do they break records so often ? No, Not at all. So why that name ? They break the dreams of a team which is on the verge of setting a record. AFAIK, i would quote breaking the conitnous wins of Australia in test cricket.

I am thinking about adding Nadal also in the list 🙂 But the difference between, Men in Blue and Nadal is that, Nadal himself is on the path to making history. Atleast thats what i feel as i could not see any other “Record Breaker” grooming. Enough of Nadal, i am not a Nadal Fan. I adore the way Federer play. Since i was at home, i did see the final match between Federer and Nadal. Great match, both played well. Federer was one victory short of making history and he succumbed to that pressure 😦 Other than that his shots were as beautiful as they used to be before few years. Still at 27 he has a long way to go. Hope he comes back strong and wins few more titles and continues to be the king.

An Exciting finale

A truly sensational end to the first season of the IPL T20 season. Could not have expected more excitement. Few misses from chennai and few sixes for Rajasthan royals, taking the match to final ball was simply exciting. For the first time watched match through live streaming and a live cricket match after few months was like a feast to a person dying of hunger. I remained as the supporter of chennai till the last ball of the match and there is nothing to complain about. It was a close contest and Rajasthan snatched it away at the last moment. Anyway here are few things that are to be remembered about the first IPL.

Before start of the season, it was Deccan chargers whom i thought would produce some records and win all matches easily but they failed to fire till the end of the season. Bangalore Royal challengers were  little shaky and failed in all challenges. Mumbai a bit unlucky, and Delhi a lot lucky for a place in semifinal. Kings XI no issues. Knight riders made headlines at times.Rajasthan royals delivered together as a team. My home team, chennai were satisfactory, nothing to blame.

When expected players like Afridi, Gibbs, Ponting, Symonds shattered the expectations, youngs players like asnodkar, badrinath, yomahesh created some. Shaun marsh, Ross taylor, shane watson were outstanding.

Anyway it all ends here this year. IPL had lived upto the hype that was created. Inspite of incidents like Bhajji’s slap, IPL deserves a clap just for the entertainment it has provided for the past six weeks. It had something to talk for the past two months.

Most important thing, it gave me an opportunity to see a cricket match live for the first time.

IPL T20

Yesterday i was there at the chinnaswami stadium to see the IPL T20 match between chennai super kings and Bangalore Royal Challengers as a supporter of the mighty super kings. This is the first national or international i witnessed from the ground. Inside the stadium it was sweating and the view was not that great as that of what you see in television. But those are the only negatives which will vanish when you take the fun factor into account. IPL T20 was a visual treat. Sixes, fours, missed catches, runouts, music and cheerleaders and all in four hours was too great.

We were there in the stadium at 6.00 and were able to see the players practising. Though most of the players were practising seriously Makhaya Ntini and Muralitharan responded to shouts of the fans. After a while the Washington Redskins, cheer leaders of Bangalore Royal challengers, lit up the atmosphere with their presence. They did attract a lot of attention of the crowd. The chennai cheer leaders preferred to stay away from the attention and walked silently to their places. We were also able to catch a glimpse of the Kollywood and Sandalwood heroine and Bangalore Royal challenger’s brand ambassador “Kuthu Ramya” (as she is called  in kollywood). The crowd wave started and continued for a long time.

Once the match started it was pure fun. When Dale Steyn bowled the first over, he did reduce our hopes. The same happened when Hayden and Parthiv Patel returned to pavillion. Once Hussey and Dhoni joined and when the partnership started flourishing, it was fun. When Dhonis started bombarding the stands with his huge six, none of us were in the seat. Though we, the chennai super kings supporters were outnumbered by the Bangalore Royal challenger’s supporters, we had more opportunities to celebrate and we used it fully. Sports brings unity, yeah it was true, soon the chennai supporters were united and responded to shouts and comments of different groups in the stand. Drums sivamani beats took us to TN.

The Bangalore Royal challengers started their batting in style, and looked formidable untill they started losing wickets. Till that the fun was with the Bangalore supporters, they were shouting “Jeetaegaa  Jeetaegaa, Bangalore Jeetaegaa”. Once the wickets started falling it  was for us to enjoy. With Sap leading the group, the  chants continued  in the local language, which most of the people might not have understood.   To mention a few,

“Atho paaru lightu, Chennai na weightu”
“Gummathalakadi Gummavaa, Chennai na summava”
“Sala pula sala pula, gummthalaka” and the famour “O”.

Throats dried up, Legs ached because of dancing but nobody was willing to let tiredness take away the opportunities of enjoyment and the celebration continued. When super kings won eventually we erupted in joy. It was Royal challengers match gifted by them to Chennai superkings. Anyway once the match ended, we  reached home safely in auto fully satisfied of viewing a fantastic match. Anyway that kindled a small desire in the corner of heart, should witness atleast one India-Pakistan match in Chennai.

Crying Babies

Street cricket was one of my favourite game a decade back. A truly interesting game with out slight respect for the rules . A flat stick and a plastic ball or a rubber one was enough. The way in which the game was played is the most interesting part. Balls were thrown at full speed to break the stumps or if possible the players leg. Whether catch is taken or not, the wicket is never given without arguments. Even the stumps are broken into two pieces batsmen refuse to leave the field hoping the umpire may do miracle. At times umpires help them also. Run outs and stumpings were the worst part of the game. Remember matches getting abondoned unable to reach a decision whether the player reached the crease before the ball or not. If there was no way out for a team to win, the last possible attempt was to put the blame on the opposite team player that he used a really really bad word during the game and would usually end in omeone running behind someone to thrash him. They were the crying babies. One thing about the crying babies is that they usually win the match.

The reason why i am talking about this is that i could see all these in the australia-india second test match. After seeing the second test between Australia and India i was convinced that there are crying babies in international cricket arena too 😉 And to see that the world champions crying was really funny. Still clueless why Ponting men resorted to a new technique, may be to continue the winning streak. Indians are always a big PITA for the aussies. Whether they win or lose, they make sure that aussies record is broken. Good to see that Indians have done it once again.  Hats off to Indians.  If you have any doubts why i have posted this without after the whole issues has subsided, the reason is i do not want to miss the opportunity to belittle aussies at any chance.

Things that never change

Today i was left without any work. Tried killing time by lying down on the bed trying to sleep, hearing FM, calling friends, reading book on python. Everthing failed and i was left with a lot of time to think about a lot of things. Was thinking about the Cricket match i saw last week when i visited home. Nothing seems to be changing in Indian cricket. Though youngsters come in, seniors are shown the exit doors but the trend continues.  The intention of this post is not to criticise. Here are few things which i felt has never changed since i started watching cricket.

1) What ever be the score 300 or 200, Indian team always  struggles to win and make sure the match is always interesting.

2) Same way, whether they score 300 or 350 while batting first, they make sure that the opposition come closer to the target.

3) There is atleast one bowler in the indian team who will gift away runs in the final over.

4) Indian bowlers make sure that they don’t bowl yorkers even during the final overs.

5) Even if there is just one fielder in the offside, Ganguly makes sure that the ball goes to him for a catch.

6) Tail enders follow the top order batsmen. If the top order batsmen bat well, the tail enders will become pinch hitters and will blast the bowlers to all corners of the ground. If the top order fail, they collapse altogether.

7) Most of the fans switch off the TV once sachin gets out and if the score is high.

8) Last, how bad they perform in a series, there are always fans like me who still support the team and hope they win the next series.

World Cup Atlast :)

Finally found some time to blog. So many things to blog about but could not find the right time. Finally had to sneak into browsing center near my home to post about the topic that half of India is chanting now. The victory of the Men in Blue against their arch rivals. I did not get an opportunity to see the match as we did not have a TV at home and was looking at my system’s monitor eagerly waiting for the scores to get updated. Finally had to call my friend who managed to settle in a hotel to hear the commentary. He did a fine job indeed in updating ball by ball status and also in describing  the

If i am right this is the first time India and Pak are meeting in final of a great event like the world cup. If it was some other team the fans here might have digested a defeat, i doubt whether it would be the same against Pak. Anyway the end result was great and Men in Blue continued the winning streak against Pak in both the world cup and the T20 World Cup. Hats off to them. I don’t know how the Indian team handled the pressure during the final overs but we were at the edge of our seats when the final over was bowled. When the final wicket fell, crackers lit up the sky. The celebration continued late night.  Finally India has won the world cup.

Twenty20 – Namma Game

Atlast found some time and a topic to blog 🙂

The last time i played some cricket was when i studied Xth standard. The way we played the game was mazing. The match consisted was of maximum of ten overs. The main aim of the batsman was to see the ball and swing the bat with full speed so that it crosses the boundary. Running between the wickets was funny, most of the time no one noticed where the batsmen hit the ball. Wherever it is, they ran and were successfull at times.

When i saw the Twenty20 match last week, it looked to me like there is a striking similarity between the T20 and the street cricket we played. There is nothing to test except for the arm power of the batsmen. Bowlers were always at the receiving end. There is a fair chance for every team to win the match. Seeing the aggressiveness shown by the Bangaladesh batsmen in hitting the ball, looked like even they too had a chance. Looked to me like the match result depends on two or three overs. 20 – 25 runs in a over would change the entire game.

From the normal spectator perspective, T20 is awesome. Who would not like three hours of cricket match filled with sixes and fours with equal probablity of a wicket falling. T20 is absolute fun. I usually forget about the matches till i hear the roar from the nearby hostel or call from my father telling the score.

Chak De India

This post is definitely not about the movie but about the great match between India and England. After a disgusting performance in the world cup by Team India,  i decided not to pay much attention to the matches or the controversies involving cricket. But habits die hard, yesterday in a mess near my home happened to catch glimpse of the match. Soon i found myself focussing on the match more than that of the Chicken in front of me. Sachin’s blistering knocks were visual treats. Though i ate slowly could not delay it beyond a certain level. At home could not sit peacefully and finally called my father at night to know the result. When i called my dad, India needed 4 runs from 3 balls and heard that Uthapa finished it in style. The noise and sound of crackers from the nearby mansion announced the mood of cricket maniacs like me. India seems to be in great form, but i am still doubtfull as India is capable of producing suprises. So i am waiting for the result of the final match with my fingers crossed. Hope they do well and come back home with  both the one day and test cup.