11 October, 2005


One,Two, Three... go...
were the first three words which meant that I should run during my early days. There was a huge playground called as "Appollo Ground" in front of my house in Perungalathur. It was neither a village nor a town and was called as suburb or semi-urban. Boys of different ages playing Cricket was a common sight in the evenings. Non-availability of players due to exams, Handles of the bat being broken, or Cork balls being broken were the reasons for not playing cricket some days. During those time running around the ground came in handy. Most of us used to run bare feet which I cannot imagine of doing it even while walking from my bed to toilet nowadays. Just before running if I had glasses of water, I used to hear strange sounds from my belly. One of my friend told that his father advised not to drink water before running. After few rounds, the sound used to settle down. Delhi Iyengar an aged gentleman walking along with his pocket transistor and waving at us was a usual routine. We were told by him that running will make our legs stronger.

After few years, on knowing the effects of running we started it in the morning during summer. The lakes used to be dried and it was pleasant during the morning to run across the mild wind blowing on our chest and face. Some of my friends used to promise the previous night that they will join us too, but they hardly joined us. Running in the morning made us to experience few things. Most of the early risers used to walk towards the common tap to fetch Palar water (which is drinkable and tasty water from the Palar River near Chingleput). Energetic stray dogs chasing us was a usual scene. Some of the lazy ones used to just lift their head and put it down back after making a bark or two. Newspaper delivery boys cycling fast, with one of their hand on the handlebar, and the other one on the paper was also usual sight. We never missed their style of throwing papers from the road towards the balcony shouting 'Paper'. I wish they all could play basket ball. Also, the milk man walking half-sleep, road sweepers discussing something were usual. I still remember few names of Milk vendors like Murugesan, Elumalai, Kaveri Amma, Sakunthala, Lakshmi and so on... They used to wonder why these boys are running in the early morning. During winter and foggy days some of them used to be scared on seeing us jogging as a group. Again due to so many reasons my running stopped.

After few years, when we were in mid 20's we started it again. This time few girls in our colonies too joined us. We used to enjoy wonderful scenes, like Sunrise, hear chirping of birds while walking back home. I have never run great distance though I always wished.

Later the habit of running stopped and started when one of my friend Nataraj's elder brother Ramji who was working in a Shipping company returned back to land, on holidays. We used to start running by 4:30 a.m and he used to exchange few of his experiences. It was wonderful to know the outside world from him.

Days rolled by and running became history. After marriage running was one of many things which became history. Now since three years, when the cholesterol level shot up, and after I felt that I could not see my feet because of my big belly, I decided to cut down on my fat, and started running. So, it is the same running, but different land, and people. I always like running for the reason that it is cheap, does not require any equipment to carry with except a pair of good shoes. You can do this cheapest exercise, wherever you go. Running helps you to know more places, meet people, and gives a great feeling. The muscles can be really felt after a run. It is a great experience to walk with those tired muscles. You should experience to know it.

There is a beautiful park near my house now and I run most of the days around the park. One day, I was surprised to know that there was going to be a race. The unique feature of the race I learnt was for raising money for Cancer Relief Fund and only Ladies were allowed to participate. I took my family to see the race. Grandmothers, Mothers, daughters, grand daughters and great grand daughters were there. Some of them working together, participated in same colour track suits. When the whistle blew, and the race started tears started rolling down my cheek. My wife noticed it and I wiped them off before my children could see it. It was very emotional to see some ladies wearing T-shirts with wordings on their back like
" In remembrance of my dearest Mom....."
"Dedicated to my dearest sister...."
"I miss you my friend...."
"Grand ma ..I...Miss you..."

and so on.

It made me to think. Death is inevitable irrespective of Caste, Creed or religion. People are same all over the world. Everyone wants to live. There could have been someone affected by cancer, or lost one of their friend/relative due to cancer, among the participants. Why do they run? To bring awareness among other public, and to raise money for the Cancer Research organisation to help them eradicate Cancer, atleast for the future generation. World is humane. There are still people who live for others, who love others. I explained this to my wife who is very understanding......YES..... YOU GUESSED IT RIGHT..... She is running in this race next year.

We need to carry the torch and give it to the next generation.

I dedicate this post to those millions of people who are fighting with the disease CANCER.

I am sure one day we can live peacefully without the threat of this diesease. Last week I read that they have found a jab for Cervical cancer.

CANCER! Sorry you need to get lost soon.....


Jeevan said...

Thanks to share your young age experience of running, I have a habit of walk every morning, it relaxes my muscles. The last Para of cancer awareness is very nice. Narayana Venkitu Sir is also from Perungalathure. I have sent e-mail to u. about my address and Phone. (Check it).

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Wonderfully written balaji. I got reminded of my days in Perungalathur. Vivid memories of you and the gang coming back from the run..only to see me just wake up and have my coffee..Lazzy...me!!

I am glad your wife is following your footsteps. Good for her. My best wishes.!!

And for a nice cause as well..I can't forget Kishore's death..due to Cancer.!

Balaji S Rajan said...

Jeevan - Nice to know that you are walking every morning. Walking is a very good exercise. Keep walking. Sometimes when I am very tired I like to walk. I have sent you a mail.

Narayanan - It is great to think about our childhood. I wanted to mention about Mohan who used to run on the banks of the lake bare foot. We did have a wonderful childhood which our children are missing. Thanks for your motivation. I was very much moved for the cause CANCER. Last year I ran a 5K race for 'Dreams come true' charity organisation. It was a wonderful experience. Planning to run some more in the future. Hope my knees and hip give me strength.

Prabu Karthik said...


it was like i was reliving those early morning scenes myself.

and what u say abt cancer victims and survivors. no words can describe their grit.

Balaji S Rajan said...

PK yes. Personally I have lost friends and relatives due to cancer. Human being want to kill each other by fighting when we have so many other diseases to fight.

வேதா said...

this post has urged me to run every morning which i have not done till today.the message abt cancer was also good.i lost my aunt due to cancer.cancer awareness is the most urgent thing needed at present

Dubukku said...

Are you participating in Nike run?

Balaji S Rajan said...

Veda happy that it could inspire you. Running is one of those exercise which is difficult to follow. But once you have started it after few days you will never feel like stopping. We are encouraged to jog in the lunch time at work. It is a usual scene of those like minded employees going out of office in track suits, and shorts during lunch break. We have shower facilities at our site, so we can have a shower and get back to run. In fact the productivity increases after a good exercise during Lunch hour.

Dubukku- I have participated in Dreams come True charity sponsored races. I have not participated in Nike race. I try to run for charity purposes. Probably if my knees and hips are strong, I may make it one day in London Marathon. Let me see....