The Yatris in God's Own Country

Blog MTR-2014 The 13 Runs
December 19, 2014

Day 2: The first thing you notice about Cochin after getting down at the Railway station is the humidity,  even at 5 in the morning. We started worrying about hydration. The enerzal packets were emptied into water bottles. The first of the out-stations run of the MeraTerahRRRun looked daunting. We got out of our hotel, a little anxious. That’s when we were welcomed by the Soles of Cochin runners. They had been waiting for us for more than 15 minutes. After some introductions and exchange of pleasantries, we started our run. 30 runners from the Soles of Cochin  accompanied us and more runners joined along the way. People who were strangers a minute ago became our friends. The road towards Wellingdon Island was fantastic. Ramesh, Seema and a few other Cochin runners provided us mobile aid stations by running two cars along the course. Our aid station was filled with cold water, enerzal, bananas and oranges and they constantly helped us to replenish. If humidity was a factor, we hardly felt it. Humidity can sap human energy, not the human spirit and our friends in Cochin were truly a spirited bunch. Our friends gave us a glimpse–historical and geographical– of the city. They literally burnt their soles, as many of them were barefoot runners but their enthusiasm and energy shone thru.  We all finished the run together and had breakfast. It was hard to bid farewell to our friends. We will no longer relate Cochin with humidity. It is going to be all about friends now onwards. Thank you Soles of Cochin for leaving no stone unturned to give unforgettable running experience- a memory we will cherish for a lifetime. -Brijesh (from the 22640: Allepey Express, 19-Dec-2014, 8:40 pm)

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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.

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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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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.

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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.