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Auroville trip report

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments


Saturday, Feb 13, 2010

Saturday morning started with a massage at Ayush. I indulged – Rs 650 – and felt a little guilty, but kept telling myself that having done this ‘over build up’, it would be bloody embarrassing to drop out and just might add an additional thorn to the spur.

Left home at 10:45, picked up Bosco from Mahalingapuram. [Bosco is a electrician from Southern Railways, who got in through the sports quota. Ex-national runner, all of 42 years old – who simply nailed the Auroville Marathon and finished first with a time of 3: 20 or something]

Picked up Ram from his house near Dimensions, KK (after waiting for close to an hour) from Mandaveli and we were off to Pondy. En route, we had lunch at some bizarre roadside hotel called Hotel Kingmoon.

Reached Pondy by around 3 or so, and went straight to Auroville visitor center to collect the bibs. My Bib number – 1142.

Ram had got a box of Chennai Runners t-shirts which was on sale from the boot of my car :-), and so we hung around there till 5:30 or so, when we decided to split. Ram, KK and Bosco were to stay at the Auroville Dorm (Mitra) and me at the Soorya Beach resort (http://www.sooryabeachresort.com/index.html). I persuaded Bosco to come and stay with me since I had booked the only available cottage which supposedly had 2 separate beds.

Bosco and I reached the resort, which was just a 10 min drive away, at around 6 and went to the cottage. It was sick. Repulsive would not be a bad description. Do not get fooled by the pictures in the website. They should have named the hotel as Soorya Beach Brothel. The whole place sucks and reeks of one-hour activities.

One look at it and embarrassment notwithstanding, dumped my bags there and drove Bosco back to the dorms. I had no desire to go back to that shithole and so spent 6:30 to 8:30 at Auroville Visitor center, selling the CR t-shirts (I sold 16 of them, I think) and had the big pasta-dinner. πŸ™‚

I forced myself back to the room, reached around 9, and somehow slept within 15-20 mins of reaching the room.

Sunday, Feb 14, 2010

Woke up even before the alarm at 2 o’clock. Took a dump, changed into my shorts and t-shirt immediately. I didn’t want to spend a minute longer in that place. At 2:15 in the morning, I found my car jammed between 3 other cars and impossible to extricate from the parking. But, there was this really nice Innova driver sleeping at the rear seat in one of them, who not only moved his car but expertly directed the maneuvering of the car out of the parking lot.

I was the first runner, and the 2nd person at the start-finish point: At 2:45 in the morning – the parking volunteer was already there! He had just reached and so I got a good place to park. The start point is called Certitude and it was very well set up – registration point, medical stall, toilets and everything else. My first time and so was taking in everything while the organizers arrived one-by-one setting everything up. I had lots of time to do my warm-up, stretches, small walks and that. The serene quietness was broken when the buses arrived around 4, carrying hordes of runners from the dorms and hotels – and then it was fun and revelry all the way to the start. The announcer especially was great fun.

The run itself was fantastic. We started off in pitch darkness – with each of us provided a small torch to guide us along the trail. It was like a train of fireflies. Very beautiful to look at, not that great to run, but beautiful and extremely fascinating nevertheless.

Subra, Ramani and I teamed up and we were doing a 5:1, a departure from my normal 4:1, but figured that company is better. We anyway got that down to a 4:1, 3:1, 2:1 and 1:1 – at every hour. πŸ™‚

I tripped on a stone and fell headlong around at around the 9 km mark. Thankfully, I just bruised my right palm, elbow and right shin. It was extremely dusty and I had my right side and back covered with red sand – The wound especially was covered in red sand and it was not until the 12k waterpoint that I was able to wash that off. Good thing – it was just flesh/skin bruises and no muscle injury.

But, my superstitious “one bad thing” had passed. πŸ™‚ – in fact, the fall gave me the confidence that the bad part was done and I would finish.

Subra pulled back around at the half-way mark and waved us ahead and then it was Ramani and me all the way.
[Ramani – Thanks a ton! You are amazing. Jokes, stories, anecdotes, tips – hey, you don’t get those off the shelf for a million bucks. Neither can you buy that sense of humor. πŸ™‚ Much of the run rolled under our legs because of you. You are terrific to run with.]

Unbelievably, though tired and exhausted, there was never a single time when I wanted to stop. I have heard/ read stories about the brain asking the body to stop when exhausted, but I guess there is a benefit to being brainless. We were on a 2:1 for the 5th hour and then 1:1 for the last minutes or something – and that certainly helped.

Ramani fagged a little towards the end but asked me to go ahead and catch a bangalore runner with some 200-300 meters left, and I actually sprinted that and finished (though the bangalore runner also sprinted and finished well ahead) at 5:13. πŸ™‚

Then, it was fun again – congratulations, back-slapping, great going and all that. Pongal-vadae never tasted that good before. There was a big, dirty tub to soak our legs – which was great too, but nothing to beat the Auroville Hungarian volunteer who gave me a super massage after that. Wow! They are terrific!

Spoke to Deeps, Momski and Divs! Thank you, thank you again.

Then, Rajamanickam, Ramesh Palani and <someone else> went to my sick room for a quick bath (and all of them agreed on the real motive behind such a “resort”), got back to Mitra around 12:45, but KK had not reached yet. He had a bad groin cramp and finished at 6:40. I took a small nap and it was around 2 when we left Auroville.

Stopped at the Dune resort (this was a proper, the works resort) for a long, elaborate lunch and drove back to Madras. An alert KK averted a potentially disastrous accident when he warned me of an hidden-from-view on-coming car when I was about to overtake a tempo-traveler. But, apart from that, an event less drive back. Dropped Ram, KK, Bosco and reached home by 7:00.

FB1 was there along with Chitra chitti and Pachi – but they left quite soon. I hogged dinner and <plonk> dropped off, fast asleep by 9!

But, I am now a marathoner!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. John
    February 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Nice story.
    Congratulations from Holland.

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