19 April 2017

Today, On this day...how much I have changed

The 19th of April has been printed deep in my mind, naturally because 4 years ago, I met an road accident on this day. Today I re-read my Post about that incident, and thought to write this blog post about the changes I have gone through within these 4 years and what I have learnt in dealing with them.

"Some strengths we would get to witness only in the time of despair": While getting dragged on the road along with the scooter, I also saw myself getting the strength to bear that pain. So now I am not worried about how painful it would be to be the accident victim. But still plz avoid accidents as more than the broken parts, cost to fix them might kill you :)

"Find humour in every situation, and you can actually turn a tragedy into comedy.": I kept myself getting entertained on the site of the accident, whether it was the crowd watching me, the police who were questioning me, or my own stupid jokes I was making up in my mind to distract from the broken tibia.

"Pampering broken parts does not help much": I pampered my broken tibia almost for 3 years. After all it has been through 3 operations. I am not even afraid of operations anymore, but it is the physiotherapy I am scared of now. Being a super lazy, I would not exercise, gain weight and was feeling lucky with being able to walk. Gradually I observed that I had developed a phobia of falling on my left knee. I pampered my left knee so much that my right knee had to support and handle all alone and it also sometimes appeared to give up and asks me are you trying to break me as well.

"Convince your mind with evidences":  I joined the society gym and in the same month I saw a fb invitation from a friend to join in a half marathon. I asked my instructor if I can run 5km race, to which he said No, keeping my broken tibia in mind. But this time I wanted to participate to get rid of the knee phobia. So I went for a checkup and asked my doctor if I can run. He surprisingly told me that I can do whatever I want to, but I have to build up the stamina gradually and judge how much would be okay for me. See it is not easy to convince mind, but getting more information helped and I got myself registered. Started a run/walk approach as suggested by a friend and finished the 5k race.

"Make New friends": You don't actually select or make friends but nobody is going to visit you home and say how are you doing? I think after I left my last job I had not made any new friends as working from home does not create that opportunity. Being an introvert it's even hard for me to meet and greet new people. But without thinking much this time I choose to join a running group when a friend asked to. Running thrice in a week gave the opportunity to meet new people and slowly the circle expanded and at least now I know many people (most of them are crazy though) and have chance to learn from each of them.

"Sport Activities help beyond our imagination": Physical activities like running, cycling, swimming has power to recreate us. I have not researched or gathered any data on this fact, but with experience I can tell that if I keep myself engaged in any kind of sport activities, it would not only help me remain fit physically or mentally, but also my outlook to see and perceive the surrounding changes. Mainly because if our physical energies get the right outlet, it would leave us active and light through out the day.

"Live in the moment": I experienced this while trekking in mountains that you can not plan certain days or months to fill with waves of peace or happiness. You get that in a small packet called "moment". It depends on us how much we observe and care to live.

"Finishing thing builds up the self confidence": I don't have right words to describe the happiness I felt when I finished my 5k race. It was something I thought I would never be able to do with my knee phobia. Gradually finishing 10k, 21k, 30k runs and cycling 55 and 76km have helped me a lot with how I tackle my mind to finish the things. Slowly you get the confidence in yourself that you too can think of something as big as it sounds and finish it as well. Even I have taken trekking into my bag and after HamtaPass, now it is PinParvati trek I have set my eyes on. Also I want to see myself finishing triathlon as well this December. But I am not gonna overdo anything and misuse body's strength. My strategy is to build up the stamina and do something upto a length I can enjoy.

I would end this post by thanking three friends because of whom I started and continued running, cycling and swimming. Having their company I would also register for the event and so slowly I also started enjoying running and cycling.

Gopi: I used to work with Gopi in the past. So he made me join the group. Even while running his eyes would keep scanning the people on the road who can run and be the part of our group. May be most of us have joined because of him. He has tips for everybody. If he knows it, he says it.

Viren: It was Viren who used to pack us in his car and drive us all to the running site on Sundays. I might have not joined long runs if I had to drive that long on scooter. But it was his enthusiasm and helping nature that we would go to a distant site and run. I have not seen anybody crazy like him when it comes to running. He actually runs on a run command and would not stop until he finishes his target.

Santosh: He does not know how to run slow. He was the fastest one when I joined the group. Even when he walks he is faster than me. I think 5-10kms are now peanuts for him. 

So this is it, for how and how much I have changed. May be the next year when I would witness this date again, I would have something more to cherish and remember apart from the accident story.

14 April 2017

The acceptance of the calculated Freedom

I didn't want to write this case particularly, specially when one does not want to remember something which brings disappointments in own-self. But to get rid of such things and thoughts, the best way is to write them down. Not because somebody, will read it someday, and can sympathise with you, but writing for me is liberating. It helps me getting liberated over getting suffocated by keeping it all inside.

Last year I had volunteered for an ultra run event, where participants ran for 12 hours. I never imagined myself running for that long, so at least witnessing such events, brings sense of joy. This year also they announced the same event, and so I thought to run this time for the partial distance, at least 30 kms at minimum. I was not running since more than a month and felt out of practice, so I decided to cycle the whole distance of more than 70 kms after the evening. I had asked few running fellows if they can come along, but they might have other plans so I was all on my own. I choose the evening time, as it could resemble the actual event, and I also wanted to check the visibility along the route and the quality of the road as well. Most importantly I knew that, chances of me getting left behind on the running day, would be high as I run very slow specially when I have a broken leg.  So being a tester I created a whole set of test environment to check if it would be feasible and okay to run all on my own.

The moment I told this idea to my sister, she immediately denied me the permission. As we two only live here, I had nobody else but her to convince, and that made my task more easier. I have not yet told my mother about my adventurous ride. Initial 5kms ride, were like look at the route, no of bridges, the quality of the road and so. After 10kms passed, I was like a happy bee flying on the cycle. After 15kms, it turned into dark but as it was a highway, there was a full traffic going on both ways, which lend me enough light to see the road ahead. I was anyways equipped with batteries on my cycle so I had nothing to worry about. The only thought which I was worried about, was if the cycle gets punctured, I might have to cancel the plan in between. But anyways I could take cab anytime, anywhere these days so I had a back up plan as well.

After 25 kms suddenly a car stopped by myside and I found a friend passing by with his family. So I stopped, chatted for sometime and clicked a picture of us and I started back as I had got 50 more kms to ride. I was really enjoying my ride so much. After around 45kms I stopped by a road side restaurant to get water for a few minutes and then started back again. From this point I felt like I had no energy to ride as I am not used to ride for so long, almost 2.5 hours had been passed, and this was my third longest ride as of yet. But I gathered the strength and will to continue thinking about the ultra event I am going to run in.

Just after few kms from this point, I found an auto rickshaw driving behind. Initially I took it casually as another vehicle passing by. But later I got to notice it because of its unusual slow speed. I slowed down and still it didn't cross me. So I got more suspicious. Ladies in general get the instinct when something is not right around them. I looked back a few times to check and gave a hard look to the auto driver. Upon figuring out that now I am aware of him following me, he drove to my next and told me that he is doing so just to protect me and for my safety on the highway road. I scolded him 3-4 times, and directed him to get away, but he kept following me in a slow speed. The one thing by this time I made sure, is to keep paddling though I had no great energy, but if I might have stopped ,I would have not been able to walk properly. It was almost 5-6 kms, the auto driver was following me.

For a moment I thought it could be that he is genuinely following me for my safety. But I didn't have a good reason to believe him based on his body language. I finally told him that I will call police and I acted like I am calling the one, still doing all this I didn't stop anywhere and kept paddling as fast as I can. By this time he lost his polite language and started talking badly. I could not hear everything he said, as I was riding on the cycle and his auto too was making a noise. But I could read his body language and I kept myself alert from this point. The passing vehicles were so big and fast that they would not notice us. I tried to stop a few two wheelers but they didn't stop. This guy was still following me with his continuous murmuring, and by this time I too lost my anger and told him so angrily to go away. He then started calling bad names and I am not sure but all I could hear had either of two meanings, he was threatening me to use a rod like thing either to break my cycle or insert it in my body to show me what he can do.

Naturally I understood the mess I got myself in, and there were no people walking by nor the vehicles which would stop. Suddenly he overtook and stopped a few meters before my cycle. Luckily he stopped on the sides and there were no other vehicles coming by and I had a full road to change the course. He came out of the rickshaw, but by the time I changed the direction on the other side and paddled as fast as possible to run away from the spot. He still started following but I was now about to reach the circle full of people and buildings. He overtook again and stooped by the circle, may be to read my next direction. But instead of going ahead, this time I drove down to the service road and reached to the building security personnel who was sitting outside. I told him about the guy and by the time they would see him, he flew away from the spot.

Naturally, the first question of them were why was I riding cycle so late and alone. They helped me to cross few meters so that the guy does not follow me and they made sure that he is not around now. It was around 9:30 pm and the auto guy almost followed me for half an hour. I still had 20+ kms to ride to reach home. I had not only lost the physical energy but the mental energy as well. Whether to call home or not, whether to take cab from here or what, would it be okay now to ride for next hour and two, what if he comes again. I was not in a position to take a decision and I didn't take any. I kept paddling on the road. I lost the sense of people and vehicles passing by, though I kept scanning them as they passed by.

The remaining distance I rode that night with thinking about what the girls who face the worse of the situations would have gone through, how terrible it feels in the situations where you can not save your own self. I have grew up in a family where my father had never questioned me or restricted me to do something, nor he ever lectured on what girls should do and when. He was always okay and chilled out person who always encouraged me to do whatever I like to do. He himself was so adventurous that he would go anywhere anytime and sometimes we would know when he returns from the journey. The freedom which has been given to women/taken by women, is very dynamic in nature. There are situations, and there are timings women should be aware of. A woman can not just go on her own will or should not take decision on the spur of the moment, because then there are consequences to face. If you don't have to, you might be the lucky one, but all days are not same. Understand that as a woman, one has to be ready to negotiate freedom at each level. Keep calculating how much freedom is good at which point of time. If a man runs at night, he is cool, but woman would be fool in doing so. For men, it's training, for women it's risk.

I consider my freedom the most richest thing, I never have had a calculated freedom. If I felt doing something I have done it. But this time when I saw myself running from the spot while sensing the danger and the consequence of the situation I was in, even in those fraction of seconds I might have asked myself thousand questions like What did you think of yourself, Could you been able to fight and save yourself, Why the hell no vehicle stopped to help, What could have happened, if the security guys have not helped you, Would you ride again like this, and and take risks. I reached home after riding for almost 4.5+ hours. Have not had hunger to eat but drank milk and went to sleep weeping silently.
Next morning I told my sister that I would not participate in the ultra event explaining her everything. She told me that she would come along but I was firm in my decision not to run.

Two-three days passed but I was weeping the whole day and night, and I could not understand why and what is bothering me so much, that, I am crying unpredictably at random times? That is when I realised that it is not the incident that is bothering me, but the disappointments in myself. I guess it was hard for inner me to accept the fact that I had to run away from the spot. Technically it was right and was not the time to show off hollow bravery. But somehow my inner being was not happy with me running away instead of fighting. I tried to make peace with myself and make her understand that you can't win all battles by fighting, and to save yourself, the best you could have done was to just run away and that's what you did. But I was like talking to myself with "You disappointed me, you just accepted the thought of the calculated freedom and your acceptance is what bothering me. You have never disappointed me so much"

Now it was high time for me to get over this, as I could not continue like this and also have my everyday training to go on. So I decided to run the event again and strangely the day I changed my decision, those thoughts left my mind and I didn't cry thereafter. I did run 30 kms in the ultra event. I would not stop doing adventures, but certainly one more safety check has been added to my checklist. This is what life is, you try, you learn and you move on. The moment you stop, you are dead. Keep paddling.