Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How a Joker, a Monkey & a Ladder may get me a Blue Label

Once there was a great circus in a town, which was the sole source of entertainment for decades. But as ownership changed generations, the circus started deteriorating. Dwindling crowds not only meant reduced revenues but also falling respect in the society. But the owners were not really bothered about this state of affairs (how many actually are).

When they could not take this any longer, some performers broke away from the circus under the leadership of the Joker. Now, this Joker was actually a smart chap who knew the pulse of the people. He took his break-away troupe to an old banyan tree on the outskirts of the town & began performing there. The crowds returned & our guys were back in business. The banyan tree, with a wide girth, had an advantage over the tented circus. Multiple acts could be conducted around the tree & people had a choice to watch what they liked. Business boomed.

With booming business, the Joker was on top of his form. And gone were his egalitarian ways. No longer was there an equal sharing of the spoils. The Joker started appropriating more than his share. Obviously, this gave rise to dissatisfaction in the troupe.

One of the star performers was a shrewd Monkey. Despite being a crowd puller, he carried on his antics without any obvious airs. But he did not take kindly to this change in Joker’s style of functioning. He broke off from the Joker and, along with the Ringmaster, carried on his show from the high branch he had latched on to. The Monkey & the Ringmaster had a great time together and the crowds loved them.

http://www.omahazoo.com/exhibits/other/lagoon-island/The new partnership flourished. The Joker’s following began dwindling rapidly & he was soon left with just a few other performers. The Monkey was getting old now & he needed a ladder to climb his branch. But once he was on his branch, he was the master of the show & the crowds’ adulation. The Monkey-Ringmaster combination was doing well, beyond even their own expectations. To cash in on this popularity, the Ringmaster brought in a young Lion to the show.

Now, the Monkey took an instant dislike to this younger Lion. The other older Lions were with the Monkey on this one (actually there were all envious), but the Ringmaster was adamant & they fell in line. But not our Monkey. It was a take it or leave it offer that he made to the Ringmaster. Ringmaster did not take it. This enraged the Lion totally. He made a charge towards the Monkey, who quickly clambered up the ladder to his favorite branch.

The Lion threatened to break the Ladder & shake the tree, if the Monkey did not climb down on his own. Before the Lion could make his threat come true, the Monkey had help from unexpected quarters. You know what, it was our dear Joker who had returned to help out his old comrade. The Joker held on to the ladder firmly, holding it against the repeated charges of the Lion.

As this story is being currently played out in the Great Indian Political Circus, what happens next is anybody’s guess. Keep watching, it is going to be a fun show this time!!

I am not saying that Laloo Prasad Yadav is a Joker, or Nitish Kumar is a Monkey. Nor do I adore Narendra Modi as a Lion. But the electorate has always been the ladder that our netas have used in their political lives. This post is simply in response to Mehul Kala who promised me a Blue Label if I could write on a Joker, Monkey & Ladder (ab daaru ke liye to itna karna hi padta hai). Hope this will not be as long a wait as that for Achhe Din!

Pictures credit: 

Monday, September 28, 2015

When Runners Meet

Our local running community organized a meet yesterday “Meet the Runners”, where some running greats from our town shared their experiences & knowledge. It was a great learning session for new & experienced runners alike. This was followed by a Q&A session on the queries that the attendees had sent in advance.

While I am not worthy enough to repeat what the veterans/speakers said, I have recorded the Q&A for the benefit of all aspiring runners:

Beginners Queries

BS – How to prevent injuries & cure them faster?
Injuries are a part of an active sporting life & the only way to prevent injuries is to rest your posterior on a comfortable seat (avoid beanbag, its bad for the back) & watch the sports channels. Sports channels, because they will give you the same adrenalin rush as your own sporting feats. In fact more than your own feats because I am sure you, as a beginner, don’t have much to crow about.

CK – How to Breathe & increase speed?
Is this a single question or two? If two, I am amazed to see you here & request you to pls share your secret of "how not to breathe". Boss CK, while you will go on to increase your speed (with or without breathing) in due course of time, how does your bro (DK) run?

DS – How do I train myself for running?
At your age, you shouldn’t bother about training. Just hit the road & start. Training is for those aiming for Olympic medals or, if an Indian, free life-time railway passes.

Dr. HHR – How to increase stamina n mileages??
Well Doc, you focus on one & the other would happen. Will come back to your question once you decide. Btw, Are you a qualified medical professional, or a PhD entitled to prefix his name with a Doctor?

JK – How to train myself for long distance?
Simple, run longer & longer! But first, you need to decide what is that you consider a "long distance". The panelists here are all veterans & you need to take this to someone in the audience who would be able to enlighten you in a simpler (and parliamentary) language.

MP – How to build endurance without injuries?
In the same manner as getting into a size-zero dress without tripping, Lady. If you wish to avoid injuries, advise you to avoid running & size-zero dresses.

S – How to improve stamina?
Run till you feel breathless, and then run some more. Stamina is nothing but not feeling breathless. Suggest, you talk to Boss CK after this meet (even I intend to do so).

SPA – Why right Knee pain after 7 -8 kms?
Wow! You are a doctor's delight, coming up with such precise symptoms. Of course, he/she would not be able to administer those umpteen tests on you & the lab-walas would not be too happy about it. Your problem is very interesting, why don't you meet me at my clinic between 6 PM to 8 PM on any weekday?

YG – What methods to build strength and improve speed? Targeting HM in a year.
For strength, hit the gym or join some Packers & Movers. I presume this would be your 1st HM, so don't worry & simply run. It would be your fastest one! Next year, pls come back to this session & we will tell you how to run a faster one.

KB – Is it harmful at my age of 49, if I run everyday?
I would have said Yes, but Fauja Singh was running even after hitting 100 years. Imagine walking down a dark street at night & some dog gets interested in you. Wouldn’t that be more harmful than running, whatever be your age?

PS – How much running for fitness ?
Depends upon how unfit you are, stupid. (SG, why don’t you screen these beginner questions beforehand?) You know PS, it’s a cycle - You are not fit, so you run. You become fit & run more. You run more & get injured. You get injured & are unfit again. So, the Rule #1 of Running is: Just run, everything else is BS. Got it, PS?

Endurance / Strength / Cross training

AS – How to increase the stamina for long runs?
I know you, superman. Instead of doing all those pushups, pullups & squats after your runs, if only you spent that time & energy to run more, you wouldn’t be asking this question here.

AD – How to sustain running year-round, factoring work, travel, illness & laziness?
Even after all this if you can think about running, I applaud you. My advice is, resolve all these peripheral issues first & then think about running. Till then watch sports channels for your daily fitness dose.

DRS – What inspires a runner to run more?
Well, a runner runs more than a non-runner. What further inspiration does he/she need? If you are not inspired enough, suggest you do loops of Dairy Den-Kala Ghoda-Fatehganj late mornings, where you will find plenty of inspiration (before the classes start). In the evenings, do the Bank of Baroda-Rosary loops.

HK – How to increase endurance for running more?
I don’t get your question. Do you mean: endurance for running more, or more endurance for running, or endurance of your spouse's running? Each has a different answer. We will get back to your question next year when you figure out what you mean.

HM – How to build up distance running capacity?
This builds up over time & you need to sweat it out. At one of the running workshops, I learned the formula, which is:

LDR is Last Distance Run, 
DDa is incremental distance achieved in the current run, 
AP is Average Pace of current run, 
t is Time taken for the last run & 
DS is no. of samosas you can eat post-run over and above the max samosas you have ever eaten.

As you can see, this capacity depends the most on the samosas that you eat, so suggest you finish runs near a samosa stall for the most precise measurement of your running capacity.

NP – How to Recover on daily basis?
You are overdoing it dear. Cut down on your running & you have your answer!

PP – How to avoid injuries in running?
You may have heard what I told BS. As you are not listed as a beginner, I will advise you to avoid running altogether to avoid injuries totally.

PP (this one is not the PP as above) – What strength training required to run a full marathon?
A Full Marathon is more mental than physical. While you can increase the physical aspects by running more & longer as well as hitting the gym more often, you should look at developing the mental strength too. Suggest watching Sooraj Barjatya movies back to back, or listening to Himesh Reshammiya during your runs.

SN – How do I train for the full marathon?
Its same as that for a half marathon, but more than twice in nos. For, when it comes to marathons, two halves don’t make a full one. Applies to everything (effort, pain, resolve, etc.) except the distance. For quicker results, switch to Himesh Reshammiya.

SJ – How to prepare for 1st HM?
If you can run a 10K, a couple of months should take you to your 1st HM finish too. But here are a few things you should take care to practice:
  • Know where the cameras are & smile while passing by the photographers.
  • Accessorise! Sweatbands on the wrists/forehead, mobile holder on the arms, handsfree wires dangling from the ears, these all point out to you as a serious runner.
  • Don't wear the event jersey, if you have one of these technical tees (you know, the dryfit types).
  • Every once in a while, wave out to someone on the other side of the road. This will mark you out as an experienced runner with many running buddies.
  • Once you cross the 15K mark, smile at other runners, especially the females. They may get demoralised, but you will be much sought after for advice, post-run.
  • Practice that perfect pose at finishers' podium that you would like to share on Social Media.

VS – Are you enjoying your run?
If you are asking me, yes. Thanks for the concern, really appreciate it. If you are speaking about yourself, you are the best person to answer it.

VT – Do cushioned shoes impact less on knee?
WTF is the cushion for? For least impact, try running indoors on sofa sets at home.

ZK – How to religiously keep running irrespective of in or out season
As far as India is concerned, religion & running don’t mix. Here, you are either supposed to fast or feast on religious occasions & festivals. As you know, both are not good for running or any sporting activity. Make running your religion.

Pace / Speed Questions

DM – How do increase my pace?
You should aim to decrease your pace, not increase it, if you intend to run faster. Also, you need to increase your running IQ.

VJ – How to improve timing at 46yrs of age?
Your timing, in most respects, appears to be very poor. You have crossed half your life & it is too late to worry about timing now. You don’t have much time in your life left, so stop worrying & start running.

This was the 2nd edition of this programme conducted by Baroda Road Runners (this is why I love English; in Hindi, we would have called ourselves Baroda ke Sadakchhap). If you found this useful, pls attend the one next year. 

While the questions are exactly as asked, the answers are what I managed to record.
The names have been replaced by initials to save people potential embarrassment.
The panelists’ names (or initials) have not been disclosed as I may bump into them again & also because I would like to attend later editions of this programme.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Let's WIN!!

Hey, your blog (now, this makes me sound so much like Arnab Goswami) has been shortlisted as a finalist at the Blogadda.com’s annual awards (WIN15) in Humor & Satire category. The jury has done its job & it is time for the readers (means you) to contribute.

All you have to do is click on this image (top of the panel on the right, above total page view count), which will take you to the blogadda awards page.

If you are accessing through a mobile, go to the bottom of the page & click on “view web version”. This will open the blog page as seen on a computer.

This is what the next page (blogadda awards) will look like. 

On the blogadda page, you will see a shot of my blog & links for Facebook & Twitter. Pls click on those too & you are through!! (See, I didn’t ask you to read the posts & saved so much of your time.)

If you like my blog, you wouldn’t mind doing this (the above). If you don’t, you can recommend this to people you detest (say, in your office) & get back at them for whatever they may have done (justly or unjustly, is what you can decide) to you.

Thanks for your support. Pls keep on coming back to check out new posts.
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