Thursday, June 05, 2014

A Comrades Medal.. after all

I came back to Chennai last night with heads down.. only to be garlanded with a Comrades Medal.

Last Sunday, the only thing in my mind was of reaching the finish line and the medal that comes shortly after that.  All through the long trek, spectators, amply sprinkled with Indian origin folks shouted loudly for you and they said a "medal is waiting for me with my name on it".  But I ended taking the rescue bus and there was no medal waiting for bus finishers.

But I come back home yesterday and there is a Comrades medal waiting for me.. Wonder how? Read on....

My Comrades odyssey started in 2012 with Balaji.  He managed to squeak past the Visa hurdle in India and stiff looking security officer in Dubai to get to Durban in time for the run.  We camped together and went through some 'interesting' homeless times.  Take a look photo taken by Sita before we headed out for the run.  Particularly the seeding; I was 'F' and Balaji was 'H'.
Though placed two 'seeds' behind me, Balaji was the one who finished with the medal and I stood there with camera.  Balaji offered the medal then but I refused saying I got to earn it.  He says 'The only reason I accepted your refusal was that I was sure you would win it very in the future.."

Two years later, Sadly things have not gone the way Balaji predicted or I wanted.  So, Balaji thoughtfully shipped his medal to me.  He says in his mail "I am sure you may not need the medal but certainly, the medal needs you; For it will be an inspiration for others to earn it."  

Balaji is right about the earning part; I certainly did not earn it but will keep it because what he goes on to say "I request you to accept this medal for you did finish in some manner, through me"

Balaji, I am touched beyond words by your gesture and the timing couldn't have been better.  It landed just a few hours before I did.

You have made lot of folks run in Chennai and now in Pondicherry.  You have made Auroville Marathon an integral part of Marathon India calendar.  I will not get my Green BIB at Comrades but sure is on course to get it from Auroville.

Thank you Balaji from the bottom of my heart....