Running in Mumbai – Marine Drive (Nariman Point)
(I wrote this while in Mumbai about two weeks back..)
It had been dream for quite a long time now. To run from my house at Byculla (did you know the name comes from the Portuguese ruler – King Byculla – Awesome no?) all the way to Nariman Point (wikipedia claims people call it the Manhattan of Mumbai. Wtf?).
And so, on this trip to Mumbai, I finally did it.
My flight from the US landed at about 3 am (local time) and I reached home at four. Since there was some Christmas celebration in the building the previous evening, a lot of my cousins (five) were at home and awake playing some PSP games. My grandma usually wakes up at this time and she seemed happy to see me. We went through the customary inspection phase – I go through this every time I come home – cousins wanted to know what new gadgets I had brought, Dad wanted to know how much more American I had become (measured by how much I prayed everyday – never in this case = 100% American in his book) and grandma wanted to know what I was doing about my marriage.
After a couple of cups of Chai and bringing everyone up-to-date, I decided that I might as well get this run out of the way, since I had been sitting on a flight for 29 hours and was eager to go and see how this Mumbai of mine had changed.
So, I set off. After about twenty minutes, I reached Nariman point, and was amazed to see a gazillion people running on the Promenade. I could barely count the number of “serious” runners on one hand – the rest were aunties in sari’s or salwar kameez with sneakers and uncles in their knee high socks and sneakers doing some kind of jog/crawl.
I found it quite difficult to run fast as it seemed people were there more for the socializing aspect and would walk in flanks of eight or so and block the entire path or would be talking on their cellphones and flailing their arms all over the place.
I did about sixish miles along Marine Drive up to Chowpatty Beach and back. By the time I was done, it was about 7 am and the sun was rising above the Arabian Sea. I stretched for a bit and enjoyed the view and the warm breeze and took a cab and came home.
In retrospect, the run wasn’t as awesome as I had thought it would be. En route to Marine Drive, I got harassed by couple of guys on bikes who called me Chikna and Hero – am guessing it was amusing to them to see some dude running through a bazaar early in the morning on shorts. Hard as I tried to ignore all the stares and comments, I’m definitely not enthused about running through the streets of Mumbai anymore.
Training for upcoming race (Mumbai marathon) is going on well. One of the perks of living with Pee. With her, you run, come rain or shine. Literally.