Wednesday, 18 September 2013

On Certain Kind of Men

When you are walking down a quiet road in deep conversation with your cousin on eve teasing, and a biker suddenly gropes your breast as he passes by, you'd think its a notorious city to live in, right? But to be fair on Bangalore, it was the first time this happened to me today. Of course, I keep reading about it in the papers, so I guess till now I was just plain lucky.
Was I shocked? Angry? Violated? Frankly, I found myself continuing to seethe over some of the things we were discussing, rather than thinking about what just happened to me.
And what were we talking about? This:
So there are these two young men just out of a B school who work with me. We recently drove to Mysore together for an official event, and we had with us a guest - a young lady journalist who had come along to cover the event.
It got really late getting back to Bangalore - almost midnight - and the girl, who stays in Indiranagar (pretty far from our drop off point) began to get nervous. She subtly brought up the subject, but to my complete disbelief, none of the two guys came forward to drop her home. I mean, aren't they reading the newspapers and realizing how unsafe our cities have become? Shouldn't they take some responsibility to ensure comfort and safety of an official guest? Come on, shouldn't they at least be chivalrous and try charming the girl by dropping her home? No, none!
So the girl arranged to stay over with a friend who lived closeby, and  I had to rudely instruct them to escort the girl to her friend's place. Yes, even this didn't strike these men!
Since then I have been wondering a lot about them.
- They are smart, they are educated, they are well read (though one is terribly dumb - and you must read the PS for details) - then what makes them so insipid, insensitive? Is there a way to change them?
- As a senior at the workplace, what can I do to make them sensitive about these things? If it had been a bigger company, a policy like 'The girl should not be dropped home last' would have kept their stupidity in check. But ours is a small company, and these guys don't even report to me. So how do I influence them?
- I wish this young, sweet, polite girl had raised a fuss, threatening to call up her boss or ours to complain. Personally, I think we should be brought to book for this lack of concern and responsibility towards an official guest. We women should stop being nice and understanding and grateful all the time, and start throwing tantrums more often.
What do you think? What should be done? What can I do?

PS: So this journalist works for an online media publication focused on development and sustainable living. They are being guided by some leading mentors, have partnerships with respectable non-profits and have won national level awards for their stories. But our dear man is not impressed. "I have seen the stories you all do...they are good but quite a waste," he says.
"Why?" she asks.
"Because your stories hardly get any Likes," he replies.
Such a clown!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Running along the Kaveri

Was at the Kaveri Trail Marathon this weekend, where we did a 10k. The run started at Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary early Saturday morning and ended in the Balmuri falls (a piddly little fall, but quite pretty).

The starting point at Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary
The finishing line at Balmuri Falls
We left Bangalore the previous evening so that we could camp near Mysore and get a good night’s sleep. Found a lodge that called itself a resort – White Orchid Resort – and had to adjust with a smelly room and stained bedcovers for the night. But it did help us get to the starting point early. A crowd had already gathered by the time we got there around 6 am. It was much smaller than the Bangalore marathon (of course) and more unfriendly than the  Ananda Yana 10K – people didn’t smile at you easily - but definitely more intense and competitive.
The initial few kms were easy but a stop at the first water point disrupted my pace. The next few kms felt too long, and to make it worse I started having heartburn. I decided to avoid water and walking as much as possible, and therefore focused on Orange Shorts, Pink Top and Another Pink Top who helped me pace myself till the end. The last two kms were easy but I didn’t – couldn’t – break into a sprint till the last 200 metres.
As soon as I crossed the finishing line, I got my timimg SMS – and this is what  I see:
00:58:45 *swoons*

Of course, with guilty pleasure, I allowed greatness to be thrust upon me – even though I knew that it was an error: 58 mins is an impossible timing for me. OP had reached a few minutes before me, and his timing was 71 minutes. SC had a fall in the 6th km (his fancy shoes saved him from bad injuries) and that slowed his run; he finished in 79 mins.
I was soon put in place. 
Let's get REAL!

74.55 mins is worse than my average but the trail was tough, so it was okay. I was exactly mid-point in the race - 421 out of 844 runners. 38/220 women, which is not bad either.  
Incidentally, a woman runner – Rachel Carter – won the full marathon the next day. I hear she was awesome – glided through the 42 km trail effortlessly and gracefully. I cannot imagine how that would be like – I huff and puff and look quite annoyed by the fifth kilometre. But I am glad to have a new role model – actually a couple! Though Google didn’t throw up anything on Rachel, it did lots on Vaishali Kasture, Goldman Sachs MD, mother and consistent winner of half marathons. Read a few articles on her – it is amazing how she manages to succeed in all three fronts. I am now inspired to run less, run faster, get some ‘me’ time and prioritize.
Immediately after the run, I signed up for the Mumbai half-marathon. Right now, I cannot imagine running the 11th km, but I am sure we will get there. I am continuing with my 16-week training plan for the half marathon (though it must have already stretched to 20 weeks – my 5mi-5mi-6mi week has been going on for weeks!).
Two other goals for the next few months: 1. Reduce weight and shed the 5kgs I have gained in the past months, so diet it is (yesterday was Onam Sadhya followed by pasta for dinner. Today is lunch at MTR #JustSaying). 2. Get back to yoga (recommended for cross training).
Hoping to test myself in the Whitefield Midnight Marathon in December – my fingers are crossed!