The Marathon That Was

It’s been a busy new year, kicked off by a short and sweet dash to Mumbai, to cheer Souvik in the Mumbai Marathon (he ran half). Made even more exciting by the fact that it was my first trip in 4 years since leaving for Vietnam. All the flyovers that were WIP then have been completed, the weather was fantastic, even the standard Mumbai sights and sounds brought wave after wave of nostalgia.

And there was the Marathon. We had a large contingent to cheer Souvik, plus there were a number of other friends participating.

Look at Souvik at the starting point with his cheerleading squad, while the others warm up:

Mumbai Marathon 2014 Mumbai Marathon 2014

As the sea link route was closed for traffic, we cabbed it through the inner lanes all the way to Churchgate, and found a vantage spot to be able to see both sides of the road. There was a thrill to watch the elite marathoners blaze past.

Once that show was on the road, it was time for the half marathoners to get closer to the finish line. The excitement mounted steadily with all the drums and music blaring by the roadside, not to mention the hundreds of people standing by to egg people on. The crazies and the bare-chesteds got more attention, naturally, and some photos too.

And the real reason we were there – a competition between Souvik and my friend Irina, both of whom were running the half marathon. Mom was cheering Souvik wildly, but I’d put my money on Irina, and she won by a margin of over a minute! Both of them were surprised to see us not at the finish line, but a km before, in prime position, and they found some seconds to pose:

Mumbai Marathon 2014

Mom cheering enthusiastically

Mumbai Marathon 2014

Irina spots me before I see her! 

Mumbai Marathon 2014


I had so many people to track, but as we had practically the entire family at the breakfast table by then – parents, cousins, spouse and friends, we couldn’t stand and stare. Missed seeing most of the celebrities that ran. For us, these half-marathon finishers were the heroes of the day:

Mumbai Marathon 2014 Mumbai Marathon 2014


Kembali ke Bali

All those who wagered biryanis on the promise that I would fall in love with Bali should hold their horses, or goats, for a bit! Yeah, I did check out the impressive road network of the island on the scooter, and in the car, and on the bicycle, and the excellent eating places, and the exciting shopping, but would it be too much to ask for a glimpse of the ocean, the next time round? Yeah yeah, I know, this wasn’t my holiday, just a “look-see” visit, and I returned, the proud wife of my half-marathoner, the Offbeat Athlete, running in the Bali Marathon.

We stayed in a nice-enough resort, Waka di Ume, with its paddy field views and delicious food. But what I failed to see is how a toilet without a lock, opening into the bedroom, is the height of luxury? NO, I didn’t take a picture of the loo in all its glory!

Must say, the bicycle ride was the highlight of the weekend – I got to see some world-class athletes in action, some of whom overtook me on the cycle, running! This was a great opportunity for me to practice panning techniques. Out of a hundred awful shots, I got a couple of good ones:

It was rather fun to chase the half-marathoners. I struggled up the inclines just like them, and a few runners egged me on!

The villagers came out in full force to cheer the runners, complete with costumes, balloons, dances, bright and early, and some of the participants were just as eager to join in the festivities.

Every marathon that I have seen has some oddballs, and costumed runners, and this was no exception. Went beyond expectations though, when I saw a gaggle of ‘unusual marathoners’ close to the finish line, who amused me no end before scrambling off to the nearest swamp:

After the day’s excitement, I did wander around the Ubud market a bit. The over-designed resorts in ‘traditional’ style don’t know where to draw the line, and I couldn’t be sure whether I was looking at real heritage structures, or just another wannabe home stay. Wasn’t enough time to shop for anything beyond a couple of gifts, but plenty of potential! This has to be one of those rare trips to exotic locales that I did NOT spend primarily on photography, but since Souvik promised that we’d be back soon, I am quite happy to plan for a holiday by the sea, maybe at overcrowded Kuta or stylish Seminyak, or even a trek to Gunung Agung.

Which is why I say, kembali ke Bali, which means, in Bahasa Indonesia, return to Bali! And then we shall see about those biryanis!


R is all about revving up the heart rate! It’s Running, for Souvik who took great pleasure in beating his colleagues in the 10 km run, much to the disbelief of the entire office. He had grand plans for training for 21 km, but transferred that passion to cycling instead.



The more entertaining R for the general population is the women’s Roadside callisthenics ealy morning. Gyms aren’t popular with locals; why pay for a gym, if you can work out in the open? Rhythmic pelvic thrusts to the beat of loud music is the way these women keep fit, and fit they are. Age is not a discriminating factor, everyone from 18 to 80 is welcome! Needless to say, no man would be caught dead in these groups, but they are happy to enjoy the sight!