In my remotest dream also I never thought I would ever be running seriously. It happened that my boss introduced his couch to us in the office. My boss loves running, 21KM to be precise in marathon events. So, he introduced Marathon world to us. What happened next, is a series of beautiful stories and I can go on and on... Juhu beach... Rakesh... Runner wave... morning 530... JW Marriot... Citizen... half beach... full beach... power exercise... mat..., a dream, which was never seen, just happened...;)
17th January 2010 was the marathon day. I got up early, took an autorikshaw to borivali. As I reached there I could see lot of enthusiast with "Marathon", "Bank of Baroda", "TCS", etc corporate names printed on their T-Shirts. My excitment level increased. Thoughout the stations, participants kept flooding into the local train till I reached Marine Line station. It was almost a mob, by the time I reach there. I was accompanied by my office friends. We headed towards Azad Maidan, the holding area. Lot of participants were dressed as "Ram-Sita-Laxman", "Gandhiji", "Netaji Bose", it reminded me of the fancy dress competition that use to happen in school time. It was a fantastic feeling.
We started with our dream run, basically for fun, supporting cause, displaying the true spirit. The atmosphere was completely charged up. As we headed, people were shouting slogans in support of Anti-AIDS, Animal rights, Save girl Child, Save trees, etc. Companies made it a point to gather attention and mave their brands visible. I spotted stars like Ritesh Deshmukh, Poonam Dhillon, John Abrahm-who pulled maximum crowd, corporate honchos and people from political world. Poonam Dhillon herself came to me and chatted, I could not believe myself because you normally dont expect such things. I clicked with Ramadorai, Vice Chairman of TCS, and other celebrities. We crossed Churchgate station and reached Pizzaria square at marine drive. The TCS band was performing there. At various places bands were performing, StanChart, RadioMirchi, etc. All the way, people were standing, cheering up the participants. Volunters were distributing water and other food supplements.
As we reached marine drive, Oh! what a beautiful view that was. The mumbai skyline was so perfect and mesmerizing, I thought of staying there, spending more time. It is always beautiful at night time but the morning view was far more amazing. As we moved, the Navy band was performing, we stopped there, "Summer of 69" number. It was a rare occasion to get to hear the navy band, I managed to make a video too. We climbed the flyover and reached back to the Azad maidan, finishing the dream run. What an amazing feeling that was! I can not describe it in words!
Nearly 40000 people participated from various parts of the world. Prior to the event, we were supposed to collect goodie bags from World Trade Centre, Fort. I thought so many people will be there, it might take an hour or two, to get through. What an arrangement, boy, it took straight 10 mins for me, to get my things done. Appreciable arrangement!
Kudos to the organisers, Sponsorers, participants and the true Mumbai spirit!