A Jog through Ettimadai….
I woke up at 5. I stumbled out of my room with my toothbrush. It was cold and chilly, a hint of rain in the air, a typical July morning at Etti. I pulled on my tracks and trainers and switch on my ipod. What would I do without this device? I chose an old Eagles track and went out. I walked out on to the gate of our hostel and as always, immediately looked up to Anamalai and raised my hand to run my fingers through my hair, but there wasn’t any! It still hasn’t registered fully that I have shaved off my head and the hair will take another month or two to grow back. Why do I go along with Mom to her temples (Groan)!
I set off, warming up for my routine. Several guys are on already, running on the asphalt. I nod at a few regulars, smile at a few others and go on at a brisk walk. As usual, the security guy at the gate of the girl’s hostel frowns at me as if my only aim in life is to run past him inside and his only aim in life is to stop me from doing that. I have been seeing him for a whole year now and he knows me very well, but the guy is such a stickler for appearances. He never lets his guard down. Once he has assured himself that I have gone past and have no intention of jumping the barbed wire fence, he gets back to his newspaper.
The garden outside the central library is inviting as always, the flowers blooming and the leaves fresh with dew. Sometimes I wonder if I do this every morning just to enjoy all this. ASB stands at the turn to the road and I keep going till I reach the gym and the ground.
It’s possibly the most beautiful playground I have ever seen and played in. Surrounded by hills and clothed by clouds, it’s a treat just to stand there and look around in the morning. I go through my routine, the sights of the early morning raising my spirits and getting my mind tuned for the day ahead. The ground gradually fills up, more joggers coming in and then the footballers arrive. They play really well, and I spend a few minutes watching them every day.
The ball comes up to me from a stray shot, and I kick it back to him. He accepts it and runs away to take the corner, shouting instructions to his teammates in a flurry of Malayalam. It’s time for me to get back and get ready for class, and I head back to hostel, this time through the longer route, going past the main gate, the recycling plant and the store.
My hostel still remains ridiculously silent, given the normal decibel levels that prevail here. Our warden is a great human being with a tiring job, he has to put up with so many eccentricities, for example, sudden earth shattering noises at 12 in the night, howling boys running at breakneck speed through the corridors, and of course the universal warden killers – those who knock his door in the dead of night and run off. But it’s always quiet and deserted this time of the morning, another reason why I consider mornings as the best time of day.
I hobble up to my second floor room, but take a second to go the balcony and look out back at the mountain range, stretching out to places far away. There have been times when I wish I could go up there, away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet, something that I only get in the wee hours of the morning here. Keep dreaming, Sai !
Sanjay brings me coffee and goes back to his long distance phone call. And when I say long distance, I mean long distance. I shudder to think how he and Tinku manage call costs between here and the US. I have been having my balance at 23 paise for the last two weeks! That’s called contrast.
I sip my coffee slowly; enjoying the aroma of the hot beverage as the Scorpions play in my ears –
“The wise man said just walk this way
To the dawn of the light
The wind will blow into your face
As the years pass you by
Hear this voice from deep inside
It’s the call of your heart
Close your eyes and you will find
The passage out of the dark
Here I am
Will you send me an angel
Here I am
In the land of the morning star”
I have an International Business reading to complete…. See ya guys… !!