Bengaluru Marathon 2014: First Home Run

Ten thousand footfalls and slowly the dust settles over the Kanteerava. Ten thousand stirred souls, a cauldron of emotions. Joyous, euphoria, pride, relief, loathe, sadness. Some tear smeared faces, mascaras that run long after the race has finished. Tears of joy. Tears of pain. Ten thousand runners. Some have risen, some have fallen, personal bests broken, some agonizing finishes, many for whom the weight of the medal on their chest is a new surreal feeling and as the floodlights dim and switch off one at a time, it’s time to reset the clock, to countdown another year before we have the second edition of the Bengaluru Marathon. With the first we’ve taken off and given India a world class event, with the second we are gonna soar.


Bengu Superpowers [pic: Facebook Bengu Community]

But you look at the clock that’s been ticking away, the hands spinning endlessly in reverse now and you can’t help but marvel at the precision and effort to keep the clock ticking, the vision to execute at clockwork a race unlike any that Bangalore has seen. If you lift the glass off the face of the clock, move aside the hands, what you’ll see layered below are countless promo runs and runner parties. Nandi Hills, Decathalon, Kanteerva, Pipeline. The brashness of the 12 hour run at Kanteerva. No organizer across India has attempted that, attempt it as a promo run at least. A 6am to 6pm run. Big names, celebrities, ultra-distance behemoths, some young, some bare- feet, some topless, all runners alike, running on the 400 meters in an endless blur. It was just epic to stand on the sidelines, watching alone made one dizzy. The traffic commissioner flagged that run and ran a few laps himself, that reconfirmed what an epic race the Bengaluru Marathon was in the making and he returned in the evening to speak and give away medals to the twelve hour crazies.

12hr Run

Twelve Hour run. A twelve hour fest [pic: Raghu Mohan]

Continue reading

Haider: A short review

Haider: This movie has definitely captured the viewers imagination this season and with Bang Bang being released the same weekend, an apt yardstick has been thrown in. While Bang Bang truly epitomizes the soul of what is Bollywood, Haider goes on to show what Bollywood could aspire to be. Aspire to move from being lame, repetitive, copied-borrowed-stolen to being brilliant, gripping and passionate.
Should we dissect a movie like Haider into good, bad and conjured ratings? We shouldn’t. We shouldn’t because the movie wasn’t made in that spirit. It’s a labour of love, and when someone like Gulzar, Vishal, Kay Kay, Tabu, Irfan have laboured and toiled, the outcome is splendid and gripping. Every actor justifies their screen time. Kay Kay and Tabu blaze throughout and there are scenes where Shahid looks pale in comparison. Pale, when this is easily his greatest portrayal. That’s the impact his fellow actors have on screen.
There are questions of whether Haider portraits Kashmir accurately. Why should it? The snow capped mountains, bubbling rivers and the intense army presence is pinpoint accurate. Photography takes care of that. If that doesn’t suffice, the background score kicks in and Kashmir has never been so poetically portrayed. That brings us to the issue. Is the production obligated to showcase a majority’s or likewise a minority’s point of view just because the movie is set in Kashmir. No, they are not obligated. What the movie does showcase is enough dialogue between the two. Both making their individual points. It should be left at that. If Haider, the movie’s treatment of Kashmir is to be dissected and called accurate or inaccurate then going with the same blinded tunnel-vision, Haider’s treatment of Salman Khan via the Salmans could be accurate slash inaccurate.

Haider and Ghazala talk about sharing [pic : Internet]

Is it an easy task to adapt Hamlet? Vishal ventures out to stick his head out and adapt an play that has been staged, adapted, filmed and studied for the past two hundred years. Adding his own contribution for the world to see. He ventures out by adding his own subtle plots, subtly portrays an idea sticking within Indian social restraints. When Tabu kisses Haider on the forehead after an intense exchange of words, the movie hall is rapt in silence and attention, including the toddler, then she kisses him on his cheeks and ever so lightly, in the passing brushes Haider on the lips. The hall is suddenly noisy. Loud laughter from one corner, sniffled giggling and cat calls. It just shows the audience is not mature enough to deal with an artist’s or director’s speech. For an audience that has been dished out atrocious screenplays and themes for decades, been sold to brain drain repeatedly, the scene of a lip brush makes for squeamish hand wringing.
I’ll not rate the movie here out of some cornered yellow stars, but Haider is a must watch for the pure passionate story telling, poetry and screenplay. It’s a movie that hopefully spawns better movies in the future.

Kaveri Trail Marathon 2014: Fear, Running and Audaryaa

I have these long extended conversations in my head. Made up conversations most of the time. Making up quirky replies to prying questions that someone might ask. Sometimes, I talk to my other self in my head. Is it only me or does everyone have a different image of themselves up there in the vastness of their mind. An image of themselves that they covet or an image to come undone. An image cut and pieced together by looking at some trait they liked or disliked in someone else, a nice bouncy haircut, a well-rounded deltoid or bosom, the drawl in someone’s speech, the energy in someone’s stride or just a make believe character that they have conjured up in their heads.. Is it true when Chuck says ““Nothing of me is original, I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.” It’s a scary realization isn’t it, to realize​ that​  everything about you could be fake. Coming back to the conversations that I have, I feel it stems from the primal emotion of fear. The fear of rebuttal by someone if you put your true thoughts across to them. Fear of ​non​-acceptance, fear of success, fear of loss, fear of the unknown; I would drop other words and just say Fear​. For fear manifests in every imaginable possible way, fear makes us crave buffer, to soften the fall when we really drop, to make the worst of that we fear seem manageable and survivable. Money is a buffer, that high rise pocket-burning apartment is a buffer, that four wheel drive SUV to drive to a corner office is a buffer, those endless conversations in your mind are a buffer to keep the fear at bay, unveiled and to keep you sane.

Then, there are experiences that wedge into you ​a double edged burning flint of fear  KTM 2013, did exactly that. Forget about the timing – I was battered so hard, timing was the last thing on my mind. Crawling gnawing self-doubt took top shelf; ​the brightest spot in my mind. Conversations revolved around it. Can you ever pull off a full marathon again? I needed reassurance but SCMM 2014 just added more fuel to that self-doubt. A limping, walking finish adds no mileage to your soul, it just kicks away the crutch of hope you were resting on. I pulled out of Auroville though it’s a favorite race, I do a scratchy and scattered summer season to keep my legs alive and sign up for a full at KTM, the way I saw it, the decent way to move forward was to disconnect from what happened the last edition and give it another go. Disconnect, leave it behind, burn the bridges, water down the burning embers, and watch the ashes of the bridge flow away down the blue river in a grey blur.


Thirty Km into the race, running head-on into cramps and walls [pic: Sandy]

Continue reading