Friday, January 21, 2011

Another time, another race...

Sunday was the day again. The third Sunday of the year. A day that is eagerly awaited by many runners, professional and otherwise, and enthusiasts like me who get to put their bodies through the 21km grind that is the half-marathon. And although this was my fifth year at the half-marathon, there were butterflies in the tummy. What if I do not improve on my time last year? What if the weather gets too hot ? And worst, what if I cramp up and have to give up? The extra couple of kilos that I gained over the past month did not help either. So, inspite of getting ample rest on Saturday, there was more than a niggle of doubt as I awoke early on Sunday morning and left for Bandra.

The nip in the early morning air atleast partially allayed my fears on the weather. Mumbai is having a good winter and that, I thought, would certainly help. As I reached the starting point, the infectious enthusiasm around cheered me up. As the clock ticked past 6.15am and the starting gun sounded, I was off alongwith nearly 11000 fellow runners !! The first couple of kilometers before we hit the sea link were quite adventurous. BMC had, in its own wisdom, switched off the street lights and since the sun had not yet appeared, it was a unique experience of running in the dark. I almost collided with one of the advertising hoardings. Once we touched the sea link, things became much better. By then, my initial jog had been converted into a brisk walk, alternately looking at my stop watch and the next kilometer post. Following this ‘short jog-brisk walk-short jog’ routine, I managed to reach the 8km mark in 1h02min. At this point, a quick calculation told me that I needed to cover every km in around 9 minutes to have a sub-3 hour finish. It is said that the marathon is run in three parts: the first with the body, the second with the head and the third with the heart. I followed that advice and concentrated on achieving the km-wise objectives. And to my joy, discovered it was working well. As I passed the Worli Sea Face and reached the half way marked well within 1h30min, hopes began to rise. Still, I was mindful of the fact that something needed to kept in the tank for the end, so I kept at the strategy rather than being over-ambitious. The tough incline at Peddar Road and Kemps Corner was negotiated without any substantial decrease in speed. Egged on by the wonderful people that line the Peddar Road every year, ever generous with their water and biscuits, I entered the Marine Drive stretch (17km) at around 2h20min. This is where things have turned tricky in the past. With the morning sunlight growing in intensity, not to mention sheer fatigue, cramps are quite common here. When I reached 19km at 2h36min, I resolved to have a final dash for 1km, and then crawling the final kilometer and a bit if needed. Thankfully no crawling was required, and I arrived at the finish line in 2h53min, 10 minutes better than my best timing. More than that, I was pleasantly surprised to see myself in decent shape after the race (no cramps, no blisters). In hindsight, I could have been 10 minutes faster but then, there is always a  next time. All in all, it was a race to remember !!!

A final word on the organization: the marathon was very well organized. Water was available at more places along the route and the Lucozade energy drink was very useful. Thanks to this, and the benign weather, many personal marks were broken. For me, the Standard  Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2011 will always remain special. It was, quite nearly, the perfect race for me.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Kya line maari hai.....

A couple of days back, I was browsing through the Times Crest edition, and came across an article (unfortunately, not available online) that made the point that lately, Hollywood has hardly given us memorable one-liners. Of course, I do not watch much of Hollywood so cannot comment on that. But to substantiate its claim, it referred to the list of top 100 movie quotes, compiled by the American Film Institute in 2005, that hardly had any entries of recent vintage. The top one, for the record, is the memorable 'Frankly, my dear, I dont give a damn' from 'Gone With the Wind' (ironically, the line ran into trouble with the censors for the usage of the word 'damn'.. what times they were !!) . Anyways, reading that article set me thinking: if such a list was made for Bollywood, then how would it look like ?

Bollywood has always provided with superb one-liners through the ages, but the period of the 70s and 80s can be regarded as the golden-age of dialogue writing. In fact, I am hard-pressed to remember any memorable line from the 60s and before that, as also, from the last 10 odd years (and would gladly stand corrected on the same, readers can please fill me in). In my opinion, it might be because in the 70s, Bollywood movies started become more larger-than-life (thanks in no small measure to a lanky 6 footer from Allahabad). And to supplement the larger than life characters, Salim-Javed and his co-writers needed to come up with larger than life dialogues. And not the just the hero, in fact, the most memorable one-liners came from the villians. To name a few, Ajit ('Saara shehar mujhe lion ke naam se jaanta hai') or Amrish Puri ('Mogambo khush hua') delivered famous one-liners. And given the influence of Bollywood on the masses, more so then, the public lapped it up, incorporating them into everyday conversations. So much so, that even after nearly 40 years, one still hears them at every street corner. Of recent movies, maybe only Paresh Rawal and Hera Pheri comes close.

So which is the greatest of 'em all ?? The contenders are many. Sholay, is of course, a gold mine for dialogue lovers. Almost every character, including Jagdeep, Asrani and Viju Khote, had his/her place under the sun. But it was Gabbar who walked away with most of the taalis and ceetis in the theater. And while 'Kitne Aadmi The' is undisputedly the most famous, and most used and abused, one-liner in Bollywood, my vote goes to four words from a movie released in the same year. Those four words directly touched the heart of movie-goers. It elevated the first woman in everyone's life to a heavenly pedestal, above all material needs of the world. One need not even have a roof over his head, but her presence in one's life meant that the world was his. When Inspector Ravi Verma uttered 'Mere paas maa hai', an entire nation was hooked for generations to come. Nothing more needed to be said to silence the pompous older brother. It went to the core of all things Indian. Kudos to Salim Jaaved !!

So whats your favourite one-liner of Bollywood (except the generic and hackneyed ones like 'Kutte kamine...' and 'bhagwaan ke liye chhod do....'). Do post your comments !!!


PS: Wishing all readers, their family and friends a Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year !!!... With a new visual look, I hope you will see more of me here in 2011....