“My race is just about to begin. Where are you?” a middle-aged lady on the phone presumably talking to a friend who had promised to come and encourage her. Nothing else can better sum up the energy that was on show at the Kanteerva Indoor Stadium,
A motley group of Non-Governmental organizations espoused the messages they wanted to get across. They ranged from being very specific to the very generic as a sample few of them that I can remember follow -
“If I can’t learn the way you teach me, will you teach the way I can learn?”
“Let us knock out poverty”.
“I run for a cause bigger than the finish line”
I think this is the biggest achievement of the marathon and the organizers. Apart from emphasizing the importance of fitness, this goes on to show that volunteering is not as alien to the urbane and the young as is widely perceived. While most city folk on a Sunday morning would want to get up late and unwind, an event like this doesn’t happen often.
It was exciting to see many kids running along with their parents and wearing big smiles on their faces. I was initially at the entrance observing the crowd as it poured in. The glimpses of conversations – at times eloquent and at times subdued and private, the acknowledgment of a wave of the hand and the spirit of bonhomie that prevailed in general in a cosmopolitan city, I was like a silent spectator to all these, always listening and never retreating into myself.
As the wheel chair event kicked off, the holding area cheered in unison. Strangers’ cheering one another for the sheer joy of it is a rare sight and hence warrants mention all the more. I had, in a moment of spontaneity, prepared a chart with some messages that I felt, would be relevant to all fellow Bangaloreans. Pinning it on my back, I ran too, one in the sea of humanity that swept me with its rhythm, a tide that knew no class, caste, age and gender.
At the end of it, I felt immensely happy. When I heard a guy frantically asking what time it was, to measure himself against his standard, what more can I say? I salute the spirit of the city and wait for the next such event!