Monday, January 19, 2015

RUNNING OUR FULL MARATHONS





Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
So, the long-awaited - and  a lot-hyped-up - Mumbai Marathon, finally, got over, yesterday. “More than 40,000 took part,” today’s TOI headlines say, proudly…  Well, some ran full, some ran half, some quarter… and, some a little at least… Yes, there was a lot of buzz around it, a lot of life… The preparation for it, itself, was a huge thing… The participants, their families and friends were proud… 
as if, it was something extra-ordinary - like a great sacrifice or martyrdom… that deserved 21-gun-salutes from the rest of us, the bystanders… yes, those who did not or could not run…

Someone from our Society had been practicing for it along with his little girl for some time. He completed half, it seems. I did not know this. “We should honor them during the flag-hoisting ceremony in our colony,” a lady suggested to me, last evening, very excitedly. I am the Hon. Chairman of our Society, you see…
I smiled…
On the same day, that is on the Republic Day, a friend of mine has organized a special function to honor some of his loyal and dedicated staff. Incidentally, he has requested me to do the honors. When he came with a request, my friend was extremely delighted to speak about one senior employee – a peon. “He has been responsible to keep our entire office spic and span,” he told me proudly about his staff, “He is the first to arrive here and he is the last to leave… Come rain, come storm, he would never compromise on that… and, for years and years he has been doing that.”
When I first heard it from my friend, I smiled and said, “It would be my privilege to honor him on the RD day… He is a hero!”
Now, this elderly man has been running the full marathon, and he has been doing it for years…
Why is TOI not covering it?
Why is there no buzz around it?
Why are there no bystanders to cheer this hero?
Let me tell you this: the watchmen of our society, who do 12-hour duty – day or night – take home only peanuts. They are like us – have their homes to run, children to be educated, bills to be paid, young girls to be married, sick parents to be treated… Yes, all with those peanuts.
I feel guilty… that I cannot do much about it…
But, if I am asked to do honors for running a full marathon, I would happily and proudly do it for one of them, who really deserve it… Whose names don’t flash on headlines, nor their faces on TV…
Their entire life is a preparation and event… And, they cannot afford to run it half, quarter or a bit… Only full!

So, now, that the buzz is over…
Thought, I would say something about this hoopla called Mumbai Marathon…
We all were running our-own marathons, yesterday, as 40,000 did it on our streets…
I am happy, I ran my full marathon… and, I would do so, always.

GERALD D’CUNHA

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