From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


So let me tell you that I don't really have a bucket list, but as I live life, and do the things I do, I have begun to realise , that yes, this is part of the bucket list, that I don't yet have ha ha ha .
And its fun to live life like that, in the moment..

I have realised that some plans do not work out, and the life you live on the side , while making these grand plans, is what makes life absolutely interesting.
So I have never really been an athlete but , I fell in love with running when I was in the 6th standard..
I have been running ever since, mostly off than on, but run I do..
My mom always insisted that I have a glass of Bournvita before a ran, but I abhorred milk, so I used to have two tablespoons of yummy Bournvita and leave ha ha ha
Carter road was my space ..
And I ran ,  every morning during my summer holidays brown school tennis shoes..
Despite the fact that they were not the best running shoes,But I still did not know that ha ha ha ..

Every sports day , I used to really look forward  to standing on that podium to receive a medal ..
But I have never ever won a running race in school ever..
I was not the one who the house looked up to for points, when it came to sports day
I was more Hermione of Hogwarts..  and quizzes, elocution, dramatics, debates,singing..
That was my thing ..
So school and college passed and I forgot about sports medals.

Till I found myself standing at a starting line for my kids sports day..
And my school memories just came tumbling back ..
I used to mostly at least fall once .and I remember once , my teachers actually put up the red finish line again and were cheering "run Maria Run" I was last ..

So standing there in line in my kids school..
Something inside me was excited and the other half was really frightened..
Zeke and Zene were screaming , exactly what I say to them , "run like a cheetah is chasing you Mama"
At what point I realised, anything you tell your kids, will at one point of time, be used "for or against" you..
I wanted to do this well and show them that , when you do something you do sometjing with your whole heart and soul and put all your energy into it , it works..
I ran that day like I have never run before..

Ran like the whole forest was chasing me..

Like the whole forest was chasing me ..
All I could see was that finish line ..
It was a 400 meter race and I finished with a huge lead..

I hate competition if you ask me ..
But this was one race, I really wanted to win..
This run was for my kids and me ,for all the times I fell and all the times I never won..
But this was just the start of many things that I now do ..
To inspire my kids..
No I don't like waking up in the morning at 4.45am ..
But I do it, because, Zeke wants to go running with his Coach Firoze, and I want my kids to get hooked to running..

It is my life saver..
It's cheaper than therapy ..
And it's the best thing you can do for yourself ..
It's your me time..

I had never run a marathon..
Though it is something I always wanted to do , with my friend Shayamal..
He is an inspiration to me..

So last year, after I finished my book and the rains eased up, I started running again, and while I was running, I really thought that maybe this year, I should try and run, the Marathon, and not the dream run, but the Half Marathon, the 21k..
Ha ha ha ha , frankly at that point of time, even the thought of the sound of 21k was a joke in my head, but you never know if you can or cannot do something, unless you actually actively are a part of it.
And I really really wanted to run a marathon...
So I called my marathon man Shayamal and I signed up through Salaam Bombay a charity , and that was that.
So then in October , I just started running on the beach like I do , in between the time that Zeke was training
Till Shayamal one day , called and gave me the number of Brinsten (9869394969) and asked me to call him , he is the man I should be working with for the Marathon.
So I did, and I was to meet Brinsten on the beach.
And so as usual I took Zeke for his run and then ran to the spot to meet Brinsten.
He is a tall man , absolutely fit and has the kindest voice.
So we talked for a bit, and he asked me about my training, and I told him , that I just run, that's about it.
And we realised I could not quite train with him all through the week, except on Saturday and Sundays .
And so that's what we did.
We started with some long runs on the beach, interval running and rest , and then, runs I enjoyed the most, long runs in Bandra, from Bandstand to Carter road and back to those who are familiar with Bandra.
Then he made us do , what I mentally termed, {"What the $&(&*%#@!! am I doing ?} run, because it was just 45 minutes of us running up and down , Kane road, which is bloody vertical...
It was horrible , but what can I say , we all enjoyed the torture.
Then he would make us run, from Bandstand right to St Andrews Church, or then Salman Khan's house for all you Filmy's out there ha ha ha ..and from there to Mehboob Studio, then up to Mt.Mary's church , then down the slope, up the next slope that was vertical, then to the Bandra fort and continue from Bandstand again, this was one loop.
As we all ran, or huffed and puffed away,we would meet one another, in various stages of happiness, distress and undress ha ha ha ..
Now when I think of it, I find it all very funny, but practice was not a joke, it was tough, and because Brinsten and his coaches were so awesome, we were all able to run, as well as our bodies allowed us to.

We then started doing long runs, I had to do my 14k alone , as I missed that run, and I just wanted to not be lagging behind, so I did it, on the beach, and every time I ran, I would keep sending Brinsten , photos of all the runs I did and the speed I did it at.
We then did our final 17K on the 3rd of Jan, I had just come back from doing my PADI Certificate and was pretty up and about.
That was a great run, because we did part of the route.
This was not easy at all, and a precursor , to what we were all to be part of in the next two weeks.

But what I realised is that Brinsten from November onwards, very slowly, started changing our mindset to running a long distance.
And by the time we got closer to the Marathon, if he said , so we are going to do a 17 this Sunday, it just felt like normal conversation.
So much so , that when we went to pick up our bibs a week before the Marathon, Shaheen and me were picking of pamphlets from all the cities that are doing various Marathons, around India, from the mountains to sandy beaches ha ha ha
We have calmed down a bit now, and will take an informed call about where we really want to run.

I fell sick a week before the Marathon, Flu like symptoms, I think it was just nerves.
But I did not want to take a risk, so I willingly went and took an injection , so that my immunity gets a boost and I DONT FALL ILL.
What I loved the most was the carb loading, I have a really healthy appetite, and so Jaya took me out for Thali one day, when we were to actually supposed to go buy cool clothes to run in.

My uncool running gear..

Because everyone concerned said that my running gear sucks and I was not smartly dressed to run.
Well, so I did go shopping with Jaya, and came back with a tennis skirt ha ha ha and a stomach full of yummy vegetarian Thaali..

My carb loading week was fun..

Well since the skirt was bought, it had to be worn, and since as a rule, you don't wear new clothes to run in,and neither do you wear a tennis skirt,  the skirt went over my old and very often worn cycling shorts, I could not do any more, I could not be bothered.

So we continued with our carb loading, Shaheen sent me lip-smacking yummy  biryani one day , and I sent her vegetable pasta and baked chicken , on saturday, and we were really happy with all the food that we were eating.
Saturday morning, Zeke wanted to go for a run, and I decided to go for a long walk, on the beach barefoot, which now in hindsight , I feel was really foolish, because our beaches are not really devoid of glass sometimes.

Barefoot and calm..

Anyway, my feet were fine, but I lost my Glasses, and did not know, till I reached home and needed them for some work.
Then the whole drama, of going to the beach, searching, speaking to the police if you please ha ha ha ha , you should have seen their faces, they looked at me , like I was cuckoo..
But I needed my glasses, I had to run the next day, and so I prayed to the Saint of Lost things, St.Anthony and begged of him for a miracle, and I found them , with Zeke's, Running Coach if you please.
All's well that ends well.

Zeke . Zene and me, made a nice big pasta lunch and all was good.

Zeke and Zene helped cook lunch before the BIG day..

I really wanted to sleep early, and so by 8.30, after putting my clothes together, and keeping all the food I had to eat in the morning nicely arranged in the kitchen, I was getting ready to go to sleep, when I realised that Shaheen's kids were coming to watch her run.
Well I made the biggest mistake of mentioning this, and all hell broke loose, Zene sobbed like I was leaving the country for ever, and just wanted to be part of the Marathon.
After trying to figure how to take the kids there for quite some time, by 11 pm, my driver, thankfully agreed to come early morning home, to pick them up.
So my boy Vijay, the nanny Vinita , my driver and kids, would all be meeting Brinsten sir at Churni Road, and would wait there till I passed them and then go home.
I finally went to sleep.

3.05AM my alarm rang, I woke up dressed and then went down to eat, like Brinsten Sir had told us.
So there was raagi roti with Peanut butter, boiled sweet potato , bananas and dates.
I just could not eat a thing.
I packed it all, ate two dates, and drank some water, and carried my coffee with me.
Shaheen picked me up and the first thing we realised, is that we have dabbas of food with us like a picnic, we picked up Sheeba, and proceeded to the Worli, amidst lots of hilarious laughter.

All roads lead to the Marathon 2016

The energy there at Worli at 5 am in the morning, was simply electrical.
Everyone was all geared to run, and so excited
It took us sometime to navigate to where we had to start the Marathon..
But we were soon in line..
Brinsten came to meet us and stretched with us..
I was a bundle of nerves..

And as I had never done this before, I was waiting for a gun to go off, or someone to say ..
On your marks, Get set ....GOOOO..
But nothing like that happened, everyone started setting their watches, and I heard a roar of 5...4...3...2...1...
And everyone just started running..
Exactly at 5-40 am...
So so did I tell you, that my Radio tunes did not start , because network near the Sea link is not the greatest, I just about managed to put my Puma trac on..and I just began to run..
Of course I felt like a tortoise in the middle of a track of galloping horses, who were all whizzing past me.
The deep desire to just try and run fast with them for a bit, was soon slapped into place by, the sensible part of me, where the voice of Brinsten, was giving us instructions on how , we should run at our own pace.
A day before that I spoke to David who is involved in the Marathon, and he said, just listen to your heart, don't stress it, let it feel comfortable..
Well, I really want to apply this theory to my life..(but that is a whole new story)

And so I started running, it was simply bloody alive, that whole strip, with athletes, people who just love to run and first timers..
And as we got onto the bridge..
I realised that I needed music no more..
Everyone's feet running became a beat, and as everyone was running at their own pace, it felt like a Percussion concert
It was fantastic..
So many thousands of feet running together, some in unison, some off-beat but in a beat of their own, and some in harmony..
I had finally found my beat, while I ran on the beautiful Sea link..
My feet , my heart-beat and my breath..
They had started to finally sync..
Though I have run before, this kind of synergy had never happened before, it was dark..
And yet it was the most alive I have felt in a long time...

That Sea Link took forever, I'm so used to drive over it , and so when you get onto it, you just know that this is going to be quick..
But it just took forever, and as we turned on the bridge,there was a full on bhangra dhol playing, that really does lift your spirit..
I just kept on running, I was no longer bothered about the music, I had my beat going on in my  heart and my breath..
By the time, we did the whole sea link and turned back to Worli sea face, there were already people on the streets cheering all the runners on, there were so many stations on the bridge and all over the route, for water and Enerzal, and people clapping ..

This was a party , but only if you could run through it, At the 10 KM marker, my RadioTunes kicked in and I heard my tracker saying you have just finished 10 k in..
And before I heard the timing, I just pulled my ear phones off..
I did not want to know in how much time and at what pace..
I was going to enjoy my run, run according to my heart , not over do anything and finish my 21k without stopping, giving up or collapsing, because David had told me, to be careful of pushing yourself as a first timer, because you get caught up in the whole energy around you, I had that in my head.
Running on the road to HajiAli , someone called out my name and pushed me on, thank you , whoever that was.
Thank you Mumbai for cheering us all on..

Then was that slope to Jaslok Hospital and then the Kemp's corner bridge was coming up next..
I just kept myself hydrated, That's all I did, I had dates in my pouch and sugar, and from time to time, I popped that into my mouth at pre-decided location markers in my head..
I don't know whether this helped me go on, or the energy of everyone running helped me..
But I just went on..
I was like Dory in "Finding Nemo" ..'keep on swimmimg, keep on swimming" ..
But in my case it was 'Keep on running, keeep on running'..
I just did not want to stop, because I was too scared that I would not be able to start again if I did..
And so everytime I came across someone, walking with their head down, I would call out and say , 'c'mon don't stop run, c'mon run"..
It felt good, because it was also like ,I telling myself that..
I did not stop , on the slope to Jaslok , neither on the Kemps corner bridge..
I just remembered what Brinsten Sir had told me, just look to the highest point and keep on running, that's where you need to be..
I finished the slope, and on my way down called Vijay , who was standing on Churni road, with my kid's Zeke and Zene..
I just wanted to know if they had reached, because I really wanted to meet them , if they woke up so early to come cheer their Mama, if they had not yet reached, I would have slowed down, (its not that I was running like a cheetah, I was ok) I was really happy, though I was tired, I still had enough energy to go on, approaching Churni rd station and seeing them there, was just so so awesome,
Vinita didi, Zene, Vijay Bhaiya , Zeke and Ashok Uncle.. all came to cheer me..
 I hugged them tight, took photos of them, Brinsten Sir took a photo of us together, I showed Zene, that I had worn the socks, she gifted me for Christmas, 

The Lucky socks...

they were the lucky socks with lots of love from her for the Marathon, Zeke had given me tips about how I should run on curves and posture, so I told him I followed all his instructions, and in true Mama style, told them to now go home , eat their Breakfast and go on with whatever they had to do for the day,

I had my fill of good energy and continued, this stretch was a bit tough for me, since I took a small break, but I was happy, I did not have much more, I continued running , there were people lining the streets, offering you water, peeled oranges , dates , biscuits and just cheering you on, there was music in some places, and it was just such an energy filled place, as I turned left from Jazz by the Bay, I saw the sun shining up in the sky, not fully out and yet threatening to go ablaze really soon, I knew I needed to finish soon, because I did not want to run with the sun blazing, when my body was anyway heated up, But I also remembered that I should not push it at the end, like Brinsten Sir said, because the Finish line is still a distance off.

I continued at the same pace, listening to my breathing and the beat of all the marathoners feet, When I turned left at Flora fountain..
I could hear the festivity and the cheering of people, I knew I had now come to the end, when I saw the ' 500 meters more to finish" marker, I then started running a wee bit faster ,like Zeke had told me, "Just charge' , he had said, well I could not charge ahead in full steam, but I was really ecstatic and quickened my pace a bit,


Crossing the finishing line , felt like I had just won an all expenses paid trip around the world.

Its the most exhilarating feeling in the world, I met some of the runners I trained with and everyone was asking everyone about their timing, I finished my marathon in 02-12-56...

I was ecstatic...

Ha ha ha ha I was bloody happy, I finished it, without , stopping , or falling or giving up.
But I'm not the giving up kind..
I don't do that easily..
And when I started the marathon at 5.40 am , I knew in my head, that I was finishing this without stopping..

The best ting about it, is .it really tests you, makes you do your best, your body and your heart tell you what you can or cannot do, while you are running, and all you have to do is listen.
And that's why I love running, it gets your head, heart, pulse and body in sync..
It felt like a meditation and a party simultaneously.

Yes it was tough, but because I knew I'm not giving in to anything , I just went on..
From the finish line, everyone walks to Azad Maidaan, to get their medals, there are recovery centers there, music and just marathoners of all ages, size and gender sitting, stretching, talking and laughing.
This is my first ever official hard earned medal..
And I went to collect it, as there were still few women as compared to men, the helpers clapped as I went to pick up my medal..

So tickled pink..

I bloody felt on top of the world..
I walked around like that for some time, in a tired daze , with a big smile on my face, then went and had a huge breakfast.
Medu Vadas, Masala dosa, eggs, and slices of cake.
And then went in search of Shaheen who had also finished.

The sparkly one..Shaheeniiiiiiieeeeee.....

We screamed hugged each others sweaty bodies and sat on the floor and shared excited notes on how we did it..
And then waited for Sheeba, we then went picked up Sheba's medal, put it around her and were just happy.

Sheeba the rock-star..

I now know why people run Marathons..
Its a personal thing, more than running for a charity or an organisation.
its just you and yourself all the way.
Much respect to everyone that runs, and the ones that do the 42..
I just bowed to all of you ..

Its also a great equaliser, it does not matter who you are or what you do, whether you reached the venue in a train, bus , walking or a chauffer driven limosine, once your time starts, its just what you put in , that you get back..
That's as simple as it is...
And the only reason I could run is because you feed off the energy of the runners, its so inspiring.
I ran with thousands technically, but I still ran completely alone.
And I loved each and every moment.

I must say the next day, My thigh muscles were killing me, and sending secret messages to my brain saying, "You have done enough, rest now for the next 6 months, and eat more carbs , you need it " ha ha ha ..
But my heart knows, it needs to run, and so run I will.

The whole "BE FIT" Group, after our last 17k..Thank you Brinsten Sir

Thank you Brinsten Sir, for being such an amazing coach, for so positively reinforcing our insides to believe that we could go this, for building our stamina from strength to strength, for pushing us to do better with each run .

Brinsten sir and moi...

And helping us to find "our happy" as we ran.

Sheeba, Shaheen and me..

Thank you my Shaheenieeeee for all the early morning laughs and banter, and Sheeba for your smiling face and happy positive disposition..

Thaaaaaank Yooooou.....
To all the marathoners on the road, who called out to everyone, and kept the energy high..
To all the volunteers, who stood on the streets giving us water and Enerzal,
To all the people and kids who came out and cheered us, and offered us food and pushed us to go on..
Thank you David and Umang, from the bottom of my heart .
Nikhil Chinnappa ..You are a doll, that's all I want to say , yup a very macho muscular guy, but a doll.

Thank you my Zeke and Zene, thank you for coming to cheer me , so early in the morning, for my lucky socks  and for all the running tips.
And Arshad...For being you ..

At the moment I'm on a high, inspite of all the soreness, and yes I don't want to stop running..
Its the one thing that actually realigns all my chakras and calms my insides ha ha ha ha , makes music and feeds my soul.
I'm just so happy That I was able to start my 2016 with this truly amazing, exhilarating, humbling experience.

Happy New Year 2016 to all .