Friday, July 27, 2012

Scribbling away

My laptop crashed three weeks ago. The sloth that I am, I didn't ship it off to the warehouse for service until early this week. I would have delayed further if the warranty wasn't expiring this week. Tardiness turned out to be a virtue for once. With my greatest distraction out of the way, reading reclaimed my time and attention. Nowadays I don't read as much as I would like to and some of that guilt faded away when I finished two travelogues in a week - 'A Walk in the Woods' by my favorite travel writer Bill Bryson and Oran Panumk's  'Istanbul'. Wonderful books, both of them. The surge in reading could also be attributed to the mysterious and painful swelling of my toe that kept me in bed for two weeks. It became so much bloated that for a brief period I must have owned the Mr Biggest Toe In The World title.

When one has to totter ungainly to move about, one would rather not move. You know what happens when one practically spends two weeks in bed, with physical activities being limited to tucking into a variety of heavenly-but-bad-for-health food and sipping aerated drinks. The V-shape turns into O-shape, if you know what I mean. And I didn't have a V to begin with. This evening I when stood before the bathroom mirror, I stared at a guy who looked identical to me but was mildly pregnant. :-| An alarm went off in my head. I put on my running shoes, grabbed my player and made for the park.

The evening was a perfect time to go jogging. The park teemed with young children being coached in soccer, parents basking in the evening light and some kids playing in kids playground. I took the trail that runs along the perimeter of the park and started jogging. The length of the trail is unknown but I once measured the distance in songs - it took me the length of 'And your bird can sing' and 'Annie's song', trotting at a decent pace. A big park, what?

I started off perfectly fine. I remembered to breathe through my nose, instead of gaping as I usually do (a sprinter friend wanted to test on me if breathing through nose while running helps :-|). I remembered to fix my gaze on the track and not let my eyes wander (once I bumped into a low-hanging branch). But I forgot a simple rule of jogging - that jogging does not mean madly sprinting as if a vicious dog is right behind one's ass, determined to grab a bite. I raced as fast as I could. No sooner had I covered about one-sixth of the track than I ran out of steam. Terribly out of shape. And to think only two months ago I used to do five laps at one go.

I slumped into the park chair by the playground, out of breath and spent. A total contrast to the exuberant little kids running about in the playground. None of them looked older than four. As lovely as all kids looked, one little doll of a girl stood out in my eyes. Dressed in pink tracks and white tops, she seemed like a little girl out of a Hollywood movie. When I spotted her, she was trying to climb up seesaw (or teeter-totter) that was too big for her size. She clutched the seat with one hand, positioned her knee on the foot-rest and hoisted herself. And up she went on her tummy on the seat. A few deft movements later, she seated herself on the seat. Apparently sometime during this process a little bit of sand got into her mouth, which she spat out. And she was seized with a brilliant idea. She spat out again, this time a little farther. And again, breaking her previous record the third time. This went on for a while until she grew bored of it.

And then she made for one of those things that children can hang from, twist their way through and perform many other gymnastic stuffs. She stood before a bar that was about one feet above her. She scrutinized it for a few moments and figured out that it was within her reach. Knees bent and arms outstretched,  she leapt with a feeble grunt - the whole act seemed as if she was imitating a frog's leap. She caught the bar at the right time and swung on it, squealing with delight. For a little girl, it was slightly dangerous considering there was no sand below to break her fall if she lost grip while on the upswing. She repeated this performance a few times, pausing between acts only to tuck her golden hair behind her ear. This became an instant hit with other kids. Soon all the kids clustered around her and watched her with curiosity (not the boys though. Their pride didn't allow them to play with girls. They'll regret this two decades later, I tell you). Some wanted to try their hand at it, but it didn't work out. Either they were too short to reach for the bar or too long that they could reach without jumping, which sort of make the whole thing uninteresting. Among those little girls, she was the only Nadia Comenci in the making. And an absolute entertainer as well, for which I can vouch. I couldn't have had a more amusing evening.

I tore myself away from the chair and got back on the track. This time I had no worries that I would sprint by mistake, for I was too exhausted for that. Not even if vicious dogs were after my posterior. "Let them have it," would have been my response if it came to pass. Luckily no such thing happened and I finished my five laps, which was lavishly sprinkled with oh-my-god-i-am-dying-i-need-rest breaks.

And yes! Here's a jogging tip: don't jog yourself out of steam, unless you want to spend the night under the starry sky in the park. Or have sympathetic roommates who would come for your rescue. I called up my roommate asking to come for my rescue and he was sorry he couldn't come and said he'd be grateful if I could drop in at the grocery shop on my way home. :-|

P.S: This post is all over the place. But I had to write this. Writing is as excruciating at the moment as jogging for me. I just wanted to scribble it away and scribbled have I to my heart's content. :-)