All it takes is a little bit o' faith!

Blog MTR-2014 The 13 Runs
December 18, 2014

Many of us dream of changing the world. And some go about working on those dreams to bring it to fruition.

Bengaluru Runners with Dr. H. Sudarshan

This morning 18th December, circa 2014, a bunch of enthusiasts committed to a cause, assembled at a stadium in Bangalore called the Kanteerava Stadium to flag off Mera Terah RRRun. It was truly an assemblage of yours, mine and ours. People directly connected to the cause through a common network and those separated by 6 degrees of separation came together to run for a cause. While the moot cause was Rejuvenate India Movement, the 80 odd runners this morning, came armed with a cause each  -  belief, goodness, running, friendship, commitment, fitness, camaraderie, showing solidarity, change, fun - and decided to put their best foot forward. Dressed in happy yellow tees with the MTR logo and motto emblazoned across their chests, raring to go, with Dr. H. Sudarshan, the eminent social worker who had come down especially to flag off the event, MTR was off to a fantastic start.

Completing the first loop

Running in 5 kms loops around the Cubbon Park well before daylight broke, this group of enthusiastic foot soldiers were off, beating to the sound of their own heartbeat as they pounded the road, running for the joy of running and for a cause. A band of supporters waited behind at the water station, while some others walked, some talked, some ate, some came back with beads of sweat dotting their foreheads after completing 5 k in about 25 mins., some held their specially crafted mementoes awarded by the great man himself, everyone cocooned by warmth bound by a common thread - doing something meaningful. Day 1 complete. While the world sleeps, the Yatris are slowly stirring, getting ready to pound the earth for a common cause. And there’s the break of a new dawn. Hello Ernakulam.

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Today is the 13th of December exactly three months from when we kicked off the MeraTerahRRRun; I suddenly remembered that I had left the question of “Why 13” unanswered. Many ask me - Why 13, why not 9 or 11? Thirteen is considered unlucky in many cultures and countries and many people suffer from “triskaidekaphobia” or the fear of number 13. (The word itself is quite a mouthful and I am sure is on the list of many spelling bee contests).

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The Flying Ranee & Hoops of Joy! [caption id=“attachment_195” align=“alignright” width=“300”] What I wanted to be when I grew up..[/caption] “Yaaaay! Gayaaaa! Dug-ugg! Dug-ugg!” Sounds, shouts, railway tracks and memories. That’s what my early schooling days in a suburb of Bombay (I can’t still get myself to say Mumbai), Jogeshwari were all about. Come recess time (tiffin break) and we’d rush out to the railway tracks close to our school and place these bottle caps of Fanta bottles, ‘billas’ we’d call them, on the tracks and wait for the big blue mass of metal and smoke and massive metal wheels rumbling past us, going over the billas.

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Why am I so passionate about trains? It is not just a child’s fascination for the locomotive, it goes far beyond that. Growing up near a suburban station in Western Mumbai (Bombay in those days), my life revolved around the railway line and its happenings. The station, the hustle and bustle of the commuters and the railroad, is where I learnt about fragility of life and resilience of us human beings.

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When you travel in a train in India, the journey is always replete with many challenges, events and experiences. The biggest challenge, according to me, remains that of luggage. Indians tend to carry a lot of luggage, unnecessarily so, though an alternate belief is that we carry our town and state wherever we go. It’s a tough task to enter the train when the doors are all stacked with tons of bags and suitcases of those whose journey is coming to an end.