This weekend on Feb 6th, employees from several companies located on the Outer ring road in Bangalore (of which INTEL is one) came together under ORRCA (Outer ring road companies' association) to participate in a marathon that had the objective - "Create awareness amongst public to follow traffic rules and safety regulations and emphasize on BMTC Transport”.
IT Potential apart, Bangalore is becoming infamous for its traffic woes mostly owing to the profusion of numerous private vehicles when the infrastructure is not able to keep pace. There is little that the Government can do except perhaps build flyovers and pitching for public transport through events like this. IT Professionals should also realize that they have a part to play in making Bangalore roads less congested. As influential members of the civil society, awareness of a problem should first lead to contemplation about potential solutions instead of wringing hands and frustration.
So, at 7.30 AM on a chilly Saturday morning, 300 + people gathered at ECOSPACE on the outer ring road for the run. This lends credence to the fact that people do come together for reasons that don't necessarily influence their self-interest or serve to advance their self-love. Adam Smith is supposed to have believed that public spirit is one such driver. There is also a piquancy that makes events like this appealing. That would, perhaps also be, one of the reasons for the good participation.
I had earlier participated in the Sunfeast Marathon but even then I had taken part only in the fun run - a distance of 5kms. But here thanks to my friend and colleague Jayakumar, I was ready to go for the 10 km long run. As we started running, there was a gentle cool breeze that caressed us and kept us going. At the half way mark, I was elated when our effort was acknowledged with a mark on our hands with a 'L' for Long Run (see the pic).
As we took a U turn to complete the run, thirst and exhaustion appeared to be winning over my Will. However, the sight of others persistently running ahead of me beckoned unknown reservoirs of energy and kept me moving. Meeting fellow employees during the course of the run in their casual selves walking/jogging/sharing a joke was an aspect that somehow made me feel less individual and more, a part of a huge collective.
After the run, there was a reiteration of the objective so that the focus is not lost. People came together to share the experience of the run and I could see a lot of beaming faces - a measure of the joy of the participants in running for a cause as well as an indicator of achievement. There was a performance by a band from CISCO after the prize distribution.
I feel that events like this go a long way in mobilizing people together to rally for a cause. We need more of them especially in a place like Bangalore with its cosmopolitan diversity and civic problems. They are a good platform to goad people into action. I sincerely hope that more people embrace BMTC in Bangalore - the numerous volvos are definitely a success here - and the roads become less of a nightmare soon.