Goa, I come running towards you!

 Moving ahead Ups n Downs,
~~~~ With the Calm sea Waters by the Side,
And Cheery birds by the Fresh morning skies,
>>>> Ran Ahead I.......

♪  ♫ Spicing with wonder Goan musik,
~~~~ With fabulous flavor of support,
Taste of 21 was nothing less than a curry!
♣    Was it really just a run,
☼ ☼ Wonder I wonder...

-wrote while travelling back from one & only one Goa of India completing Goa River Half Marathon!!!
With a couple of other engagements and constraints hovering all around, giving Goa River Marathon a miss was all on my mind. But do you really it's that easy? Or rather not going would have helped me any better..No..straight NO..reason being a year is too long a time for me to wait for such an exclusive running event in "Goa" ! Yielding to temptation was the only way to get past it, I realized! :O So, there I got registered for Goa River Marathon on the last day.

While Sri & Meena had reached a day earlier, I joined them up later. We settled up in Margao before actually venturing out. Although I was all abuzz about the happenings & places-to-visit in Goa- all thanks to our friends & fellow passengers I met en-journey, we didn't really cram out any exhaustive plan whatsoever. After collecting the marathon bibs & tee at Vasco, we then ventured over to Majorda! Do I need to mention anything beyond,,,Goa & its beaches...Woaahh! Goa is such a lively and colorful place that it can make the saddest of saddest alive to dance to its tunes(pun intended)! Went on ahead to Colva beach  and snapped a deal of Indian Rupee ₹ 200/- per head for short round of parasailing. Further on realizing the time and preparations required for next day marathon, we dropped down the plan for Paloleum beach, another beach off south. Finally after a day abuzzed with Goan flavor, we were back to the rest place in Margao. A curd rice and there the pre-marathon-desi-dinner was checked! Enough Carbo-loading, I guess!:O Don't know but when there seems not much option, curd rice is the safest bet! With all the jerseys, bibs, shorts and shoes and time-chips all around, the exciting & enthusiastic fever of marathon was already picking up that night!:)

After whole lots of preparation, riding as early as 5, we drove through pitch dark chilly winter-y mornings of Goa all the way to marathon start point! The day was 19th Dec, Goa Liberation Day! Starting point being at Baina beach, the cool breeze all the way from the Arabian Sea, welcomed the enthusiastic runners from almost all the major cities of India. Well, why would one miss running at Goa in the month of Dec?! I wonder!! Runners - Pros & Amateurs alike  (around 200 participated for half marathon event) could be seen stretching & warming up just by the backyard of beach surrounded by bunch of coconut trees. Well, after having my traditional date-feast (khajoor!), I was all set..!!!

An early morning start, cool breeze, birds chirping around, low humidity levels, lovely music bands, ever so enthusiastic volunteers & last but not the least flock of energetic runners summed up for an awesome start to the half marathon! Well, if the start point, being the beach, was so captivating, wonder how the route would be? From Baina beach onwards, all along the Zuari River, went on the route. For the first couple of miles, run went on all through the otherwise sleepy town of Mormugoa. Further on,  a couple of climbs and descends added to the flavor of route while Zurari river made up a for lovely viewpoint all along the left side. As for 21k, we were supposed to do 10.5k forward and then back 10.5k to the initial position. So, every climb was a slope turned on the back journey! Though my start went out a little slow, I picked the pace post 10k, possibly because I didnt really warm-up initially. 

As for the support, Mobile Toilet booths were placed at couple of locations while water stations were put up every 3 km or so. Kudos for organizing such a wonderful event to RunnerforLife team. And Goan folks for making it so special for us even on a rather lazy Sunday morning!

Eventually, I got my personal best performance till date of 1:58:09 for 21k. Really felt good to have achieved sub-2 goal.
Further on, we went around to Don Paula beach thats closer to Panaji. Met a friend from Ladakh tour before it was time to return my rented bike & resign back home!

I bid adieu to this lively & colorful Goa only on a note to myself that I'll be back soon......very soon!!!:)
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Sholay Hojay!

कितने आदमी थे? “, Echoed...                                                                                      सरकार, दो...”, a reply bounced from other end! 
The first voice hammers back,” दोoo..  *%$%* वो दो और तुम तीee .....” 
As I stepped ahead, another aroar happensतेरा क्या होगा कालिया?”.                              Pondering what's happening around, I turned back a little before hearing another rather gentlemanly angry cry from behind, 
रामगढवालो ने पागल कुत्तो के सामने रोटी डालना बंद कर दिया है
What’s happening? What does this mean? Where am I? Who are they? Have I lost my mind? You must be wondering- I’ve gone nuts! Well, for those of you little aware of India might have got an idea.. Yeaa! You got it right, all of you Bollywood craziers! This is indeed coming from one of the legendary Indian films, SHOLAY (1975)! The flick’s so popular with masses that its dialogues have become common place with junta. But why are we talking about it? And for what reasons here at travelogue?

Well, I'm talking about the 'very' land where Gabbars, Sambhas & Kaliyas of Sholay enacted their ḍacoit-ic stories - "Ramgarh" or say Ramadevrabetta in Ramanagaram. Apart from Bollywood angle, this region, which consists of several granite rocks, caters to the growing breed of short rock climbers. Moreover, it is believed to separate two distinct crustal blocks of Archaean age, giving it a geological importance too.

Getting on to this exotic place had its own exotic twists and turns in story. Having a weekend at our hands, I and my friends planned over a journey towards Mysore! Well, there’s a catch...it was supposed to be budgeted!- watch out for smallest budget algorithm, do we have anything like Dijkstra's or Bellman-Ford’s? Hehe.. No wonder, we were supposed to frequently change vehicles gauging the weight of wallets, eat & drink cane juices, navigate around, learn & innovate our strategy moment by moment, thereby plan out for next move & move ahead ...may I term it dynamic  travelling!;-)

Will we reach in time?  
Will we get right accommodation?
Will we see all places on checklist?
Will we get enough & nice food?
Will we have fun??

None of the above really mattered but for last one! :)

So, here we, three friends, started from Bengaluru, towards Mysore (the destination; ya I know it’s so not humane to be vaga-bond in society and travel to where...where??? We need some vague place atleast...naah?!) Eventually after a bus ride, a walk of around 4-5 kms, then matador ride, we reached a sub-urban railway station of Nayanda Halli. While whiling away at railway station, we got to know of a place called Ramanagaram, where Sholay was shot, enroute Mysore. Finally boarded a dhannu (read:local train) for Mysore! Clock was ticking hard, while the train was barely cruising and to add on, darkness was just paving its way through the evening.  By the time we would have reached Mysore, city might have slept and as we are, always short on time, we didn't really had next day in our hands. Adding to that, may be it was our beloved Gabbar's call that made us drop off at little station of Ramanagaram without having any second thoughts!

Without anymore thoughts we took a rick to 'THE' Place, but as it turned out it was pretty dark and we could barely wander around. Fun element was somehow catching up but never did I realize until I was back! Whether to head ahead to Mysore or go back to Blore, was the question! But picture अभी बाकी था दोस्त! :) Gradually, after having sumptuous dinner, we decided to stay on, क्या करे गब्बर ने जो जाने दिया! :) 

With a pure dawn up next day, we were at Ramgarh (Ramadevera betta) again! Our date with Granite rocks of Ramgarh went out smooth. As if Lost in a fairy tale, with the wonderful panoramic views all around, we were moving ahead aimlessly just trying to find mysterious.. what? ( i wonder... wonderland). No doubt the rocks are the true beauty! If only I could relate, it looks distantly similar to Macchau Picchu (though I haven’t been there yet!). You may also spot a temple of Lord Ram uphill.

Moreover for you, future travellers, starting August'11, Resort & Spa, conceptualized on the lines of movie Sholay across 6.6 acres of rocky terrain, is starting up! Those of you who want to re-live the movie magic with the likes of Gabbar, Thakurs, Basantis must take a note! For adventure freaks, try going in for a climbing session; there are couple of clubs ready to take you onto the rocks!

Re-living the Sholay, getting lost amidst a fairy tale, and livin a Vaga-traveller, what more can I ask for a weekend?! 

Quick Facts:
- 45kms(1 hr by road) OR
- Board a train going to Mysore & drop off at Ramanagaram

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How Panduleni Happened!

 Saturated you feeling any, 
Fret not, think not
Kick those doors off
World's all open for you, 
Explore, Energize, Egnite!! “

On my way to get unsaturated, I set off from my base location for a while. And mind you, fresh surroundings & new scenarios, made the intended difference!

Reached Panduleni (also known as Pandav Leni), UNESCO & a World heritage site, around 8km from Nasik. Wonder how cave man drilled down those caves off monolithic rock? And that too with superbly designed platforms, sculptures, statues and even windows, most of them crafted out of monolithic rock. Observing the designs and structures in monolithic rock, I could spot the contrast in current world where every possible element is assembled of different pillars, beams or slabs or for that matter complete build. Moreover, talking about the technicalities - the placement and design of pillars (some of them being octagonal shaped pillars, usually we have round shaped pillars) and angled beams at some leakage prone areas, made me wonder the level of expertise in technology/soil-earth study they might had then! Not to forget the caves also have excellent arrangement for water, with skilfully chiselled water tanks, exquisitely carved into the rocks. 

No wonder, these structures were built superbly with maximum...wait... ‘total’ utilization of natural resources! Though this is coming from me,a non-arch person but I take liberty to make a judgement!

Well, as I turned back to history, I found that Panduleni caves, which are the group of 24 Hinayana Buddhist Caves, were built during the era back to 1st century BC -2nd century AD. The sculptures & carvings on the walls as well as the pillars really adored the place. They truly symbolize & define the 'then' life with beautiful elaborations of cattle, warriors & religious symbols. No wonder these caves are the truly a product of an era be it the exceptional rock-cut architecture, customs, culture &  or religion then.

Most of us might have picnic-ed at caves since childhood, but only when we start looking at them finding a reason for each design, carving or placement, do we start realizing how much effort & skill must had gone behind making of such legendary structures, which are standing firm through ages!

No wonder this visit to such a wonderful site enriched me with new thoughts, know-how & may be a legacy of stories more to be explored...................

As for any specific info about place, Google! You may check this too! 

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Korigad - A Green Heaven!

If you are in Lonavala, or for that matter in any mood to unwind with small trek, Korigad is best option for you!
Located in the closet to Lonavala, Korigad is a famous fort of Shivaji Maharaj known for its unique & beautiful views. With greenery all around, lakes on the top and sprawling Amby valley campus down the valley makes it for a perfect destination in monsoons.  A small trek from the base village of Peth Shahpur will take you not more than 30-40 min even for non-trekkers with total photo drama et al'. :) Not so known fact but Korigad also boasts of lots of small caves/closets. Well, the name Korigad hails from Koria Devi, whose temple can be spotted on the way. There are others temples too of Lord Shiva and Ganapati.

Well, I’d just like to rewind that day a little....
The plan was to catch a train to Lonavala early around 6. Insominac that I am, I got late while others guys were just lucky enough to catch the rail. Over checking with fellow folks, I moved over to Shivaji Nagar station hoping to catch them there. Though, it was little too optimistic to drive off my way through the morning chaos, park off my bike and still make it up for the train which in all probable possibilities was not going to stop or slow down.  Still, sometimes you don’t really rack your cerebral zone and just go on. There, I was again stranded on railway station to catch next train on the block. I don’t know why I’d this affinity to travel through rail. Probably, a beautiful monsoon rail journey from Pune-Mumbai made the game! While in hurry, I caught up with a local to Pune station again. Back to Station 0! But I figured out then that Deccan Queen was on the lineup soon. So, there I was in Lonavala within next 45min. While normally other trains take around 75-80 min. There on, a short ride off SUV Safari and we were at the Base location of Shahpur.

Overall, Korigad’s a flat plateau once you’ve reached atop.The very thought of MTBing through those green pastures crossed my mind over a hundred times; next time sure its me & MTB! ;) The view of the fog unfolding a beautiful small pathway to the temple, with the lakes and green pastures all in the background, still captures my vivid photographic memory...but it's just to be experienced:) The fort opens up with a grand darwaja with the fort walls in bits and pieces adding up to the expanse beauty of fort. Walking along the periphery, we could site luxurious Amby Valley township, first of its kind in India. The row houses jotted within the green and surrounding lake waters, could easily trigger the ideal home dreams of many! By the way, my folks were none but the TFI fellows – full of energy & enthusiasm. Had a great time with you guys!

On the Mark, Go KORIGAD..
Where to go?  Peth Shahpur (35 kms from Lonavala)
How to go?   Train to Lonavala from Pune/M'bai then hire a car to Peth Shahpur or you may drive down
Trekking big deal? No its pretty Easy actually
What's in store?
- Lovely water bodies(viz. ponds) in the center of huge plateau region uphill
- Amazing fort lining in the front
- Breathtaking Views of Amby Valley
- Temples & little caves

Well, before rapping up, I want to dedicate a story to all my dear TFI friends...Here's what I have to say....
Once upon a time, there lived people who lived across the vast country space...
They lived like no other, fighting, hustling, bustling, busy making their knocking shot!
Then, came a wave, a wave to nurture not so lucky.
Lucky few they knew it was their Calling.
Clever they were to know that Call was what they were waiting for.
Stepped in with the power to change,
Lighted the Knowledge Powerhouses like never before,
For they, the Angels had come to rescue not so lucky ones.....
"-Dedicated to My Friends from Teach For India Foundation who are actively bringing about the change in Education in this country.
Guys- you’re doing great Work! Keep Going!!!

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We run! Yes, We all run! We run towards umpteenth living and non-living goals & destinations! We run to beat life...

But few of us run trivially! Sounds trivial, right? Running which was once practiced as a purely food-hunting activity has now transformed into fully-fledged sport! Even human evolution inherits a lot to running (source). But when it comes to running daily or for that matter running long distances, it has to be trivial (read: materially trivial)-purpose being simply joy of running. By the way, what do you think why people run marathons, ultra runs..no not to slim down or remain fit but simply for the joy of it or may be to test their extremes. Mind you, it’s much beyond the world of holiday homes, BMWs, Bentley, Rolex watches, designer wears, lavish parties or premium club memberships that one usually run towards in such a high-paced, super-hungry, show-biz lifestyle! 

Well, I did start running for all the usual fitness reasons. But, I hardly ever considered it that way. For last couple of months, I had been running quite consistently although last fortnight had been quite inconsistent. Though I plan to run Marathon in near future but that's not what keeps me on track! If I miss a day, I can see the difference! It's become a chore without which I become un-me! Sorry to sound so narcissistic!

By the way, last Sunday I-Race-d! I-RACE is a running event modelled by IIT-Powai folks, where your height, weight, age & gender are considered to evaluate the standard time you need to complete in. The model is being replicated in Mumbai, Pune and Portland(outside India). However complicated and complex it may sound, the base fact is that it makes you compete with your own set targets which indeed is highly interesting! Although it was just 10km run, it's always a great experience whenever you run early mornings and too under lovely drizzles! 

The time was August, Monsoon was at its best! With water droplets pouring over, weather was really conducive & indeed there'd be no better call for running. The loop through the university ran ups and downs though with just a little gradient. However, when one runs, judgement magnifies! After running & analyzing for couple of months now, I do agree that running is very hard hitting sport plus it needs proper technique to run long distances.  But I must admit, even under rains, water (read: water intake) do make the difference. A sip of water at around 5km mark, and there it triggered new lease of energy increasing my pace! Water indeed is a valuable commodity, makes a lot difference! I say, Keep Hydrated!! :) 

Now, it’s always good to participate in such events but when you persuade someone novice to participate along with and they accomplish it comprehensively, it do feels great! And yes, it was indeed great to see a friend of mine completing 10k for the first time even when not feeling well. Hats off! By the way as far as stats go, I clocked 53 min 38 sec for 9.2km to be precise, well just around 50%(according to model) of my set target! May be this'll keep me running if triviality vanishes..;-)

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Off to Mulshi - Joy of Cycling

Went Off to Mulshi,a tourist destination near Pune. It's known for Mulshi Dam and lake that's been formed in the catchment areas of dam. The lush green forest area makes it an ideal  visiting spot in monsoons. Riding along the lake-side was superrr! Highly Recommend people to venture out to Mulshi if you are positioned anywhere near Pune!

It being my First Cycle Ride this MONSOON-2010 and the fact that I did the whole route on my non-geared humble classic bike- MTB Hercules Hamilton, sure made this trip one of the best in recent times.

Will write in detail shortly!
MONSOONS are all here! Time to Celebrate! Festivity is ON!!! 
Cheers, Ankur

Video Courtesy: Anand Saha

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Wheat Village Getaway

Lately, Village tourism's turning another fav among the weekend visits for urban dwellers. And no wonder, the best of the things you are offered at a village near your dear city, are by far much sweeter & cherished much longer! I’d been lucky enough to be a visitor at India’s one of the elitist A1 quality wheat producing village or rather town ‘Sehore’ last to last weekend...all thanks to my dear friend’s invitation to his hometown!

"Journeys are crafted the moment you step out and chart out a story!" All the incidences, memories, special moments, places and people add over to give a journey a unique identity. I believe every journey is 'unique' in itself! And if crafted the natural way i.e. nothing planned at outset, leaves you with a very distinct, fresh moments! Something similar occured with me...read on to know more!!

Well, I landed up in the village late evening. And next morning, we went hanging-around!  Sehore is one of best Gehu(wheat) producing areas in India; remember you purchase Sehori Gehu if you happen to check! Apart from wheat, they have Soyabean for Kharif while wheat as Rabi crop. Since it was almost end of season; talking about April first week, crops been chopped down, it looked as if it was all gala time for all the farmers there.

To my surprise, the village boasts of new upcoming water resort and even a mall comprising of most upmarket products. After connecting with few locals, you realize how important this all is for them and they surely seem to be truly proud about the fact that their place has a good multiplex, water resort or a mall amongst their adjoining areas. Not to forget, I was in shock to find roads in state of MP to be so fine-tuned for the first time in history, I suppose! It was indeed great to see such a development especially in the state of central India where these kinds of developments are by far sparse and rare! 

While we went around on a ride through the farmlands, my friend gave me insights about wheat lifecycle, at least we call it so  :), encompassing all the procedures from wheat growing to cutting it off or be it canals for irrigation or about how farmer sells off its produce at the local Mandi nearby! All in all it's the major activity happening across the town that defines and influences major cultural and food habits of people there. It’s really heartening to see the poor farmers reaping out meager pennies while the middle man/brokers taking away the major margin, ultimately selling off wheat at pretty high premium to urban dwellers. Understanding the life-cycle of wheat village was indeed just the snapshot of what might be happening across millions of agro-oriented hamlets all throughout the country.

Also, visited the pond nearby and voila what a awesome place that was! The canals are crafted out for irrigation.  Probably, it might also be a great birding place, though didn’t spot anything specific but chirping of some and water body made for perfect place, at least for weekend getaway kindas!

Getting off once in a while to slow ace village life and witnessing the development activities surely adds unique dimension to one’s outlook apart from obviously freshening up! 

Sure, its Wheat shining India at Sehores !!! : )
Cheers to Sehore, the WHEAT VILLAGE! 

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Ignite Calling - Traveling the Different Way!

Recently, I presentated at IGNITE Pune and the topic was none other but simply "Travelling the Different Way"!
And, I must tell you all, its such a wonderful feeling, speaking about the topic you are so passionate about! 

Met loads of passionate people from varied fields be it medicine, IT, entrepreneurs, or a 10 grader ... speaking on topics still more varied and exotic such as tribes from Karnataka and their plights, about Groupism-how groups form etc, about meditation, or a simple story about the idea of togetherness or be it about call-centre exchange similar to stock exchange or about gaming consoles or glory years of Indian Hockey or about bikers' Lord-Lance Armstrong! The place was buzzing with so much enthusiasm and interesting people, indeed a super experience. Plus, it gave me a great opportunity to present before a large crowd after long time.

(check http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUaIQCV9SMA)

Thanks IGNITE for providing me such a platform to speak and share my thoughts!

My sincere thanks to the organizers ThoughtWorks who stepped in and provided the right infrastructure for such a fantastic world wide event -Ignite to be organized in Pune.
Last but not least thanks Pankaj without whose insistence, I wouldn't have really put in efforts to build up presentation!

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Escapade to Auroville Marathon!

Running through the greens,
Step after step onto the earth of red,
Wondered where I am!

With the fresh morning breeze greeting,
Early risers chirping, welcoming us,
Indeed wondered where I am!

With the Miles went on and on,
Glory was basking in with my dear Sun stepping in,
Unrelenting enthusiasm that hovered around,
Charged the atmosphere to new horizons....
Really wondered where I am!

As I went on & on,
Mind went void and empty,
Limbs acted like machine in the industry!
Wondered whether I am....

Well, there I was very much there at Auroville Marathon
For those of you who are unaware of place, I’ll shower some factual bits onto that! Auroville is a Universal township near Pondicherry in the India, that was inaugurated on 28 th Feb’ 1968 based onto the vision of Sri Aurobindo & the Mother. It’s a place where people irrespective of nationalities, color, religion and all other possible diversities (as far as human imagination goes!) stay together. Auroville has received four times the endorsement of General Assembly of UNESCO; it boasts of its great following through all across US and Europe.

To start with, I attribute this tour to the great power of internet! Just a comment by Sri, avid trekker & biker from Hyderabad the other day and there, I checked about it. I had almost lost hope esp. for marathon as registrations were off by then, but still the curiosity to travel & visit Auroville was quite high...all thanks to my dear friend who had been there! Probably, that might have powered something and just a week before, everything set in, and there..I was packing off to tour to Auroville! Thanks Ram; had he not opted out, I would rather not be there to witness & participate such a event!
Well, the train journey lasted for 25 hrs, all thanks to Indian Railways for delaying 2hrs! Although the journey was long enough, it wasn’t that tiring though...wonders whether the enthusiasm was so captivating that ‘tire’ aspect of journey somehow didn’t click! After consulting couple of travellers, with discussions flying off regarding different routes and buses...ultimately set off to Pondicherry, probably through the shortest path! Journey to Pondicherry naah..its Puducherry now, was freshening with cool gentle evening breeze blowing off the window panes...all the way from Bay of Bengal! :) I must say, the feel of travelling along with locals in a local bus is indeed so nice! You don’t know their language; neither do you know the point to point location, with bare minimum comfort- that’s what makes it highly interesting! Well, how can I forget the wada sambar, one I had while bus break-over for dinner/snacks. The food stall had no choices but for just the wada sambar and that too just the jug full of sambar and wadas soaked into it. After having a plate, couldn’t resist having another one; apart was damn hungry by then! Enjoying the local cuisine totally the local way is truly wonder-local aspect of touring! :) Reached Auroville link road junction at 10.45 and what you see is hungry tigers..;)naah rickshawallahs waiting to get you to Auroville(which is about 10kms inside)! I started scouting for the place where I was supposed to go, though was clueless about any specific place as I had lost communication with Sri, who had reached there (poor cellphones had given up!). All the Dorm hunting went on for next 2 or so hrs in the dark of midnight, all through the jungles of sparsely habituated Auroville, before finally landing into Mitra guesthouse.

Scene of activities...Slept at 1 -> Hyb runners were up by 3.30 = so did I -> boarded the bus to start point at 4 -> at the site at 4.15 -> ....

Once reached at start point, I realized that registering won’t be possible, given to id proofs & all that rules & jazz! Well, the craze of running in Auroville had brought me all the way there. So, was there any doubt about me backing out...absolutely not...never for all the jazz...I simply ran!

The run started off pretty well. The atmosphere was ecstatic! The fresh coolness of early morning made me remember of my jogs that I used to have. Running through the environs of Jungle; all the pristine and the green made a soothing effect. Gradually, crowd spread over, and it’s basically just you, birds Above, trees Around! The silence makes you notice the welcoming spree of free-birds! It is so very relaxing and welcoming indeed! Be it red soil, tall trees, jungle, the birds chirping around with sun charting its journey through, while a cool blow now and then, isn’t that a perfect make for ambience? Now do you wonder why people come all the way from Bangalore, Hyderabad, even Delhi just to be part this? After a couple of 10-12 kms (depends person to person!), you could see the change happening in mental makeover...voila..all the voidness...! Along the path, met a couple of guys; met a German fella Locas, who had taken a break from studies, to do social service. So great & nice work indeed! Meanwhile, cheers and C’mons made rounds! With the sounds of trumpets and drums buzzing loudly then, one could make out, climax was just nearby... I sprinted for the last 200m like there was never after, before being presented the token of completion! The finale place was all buzzing with congratulations, huhaahss...Amazing! To my count, it took me around 2 and half hours to rap up 21kms, my first half marathon experience...not that bad I guess! : ) I must say, the organizers had arranged really well, be it energizers in the form of electrolytes, bananas etc or the route directions etc. I congratulate them sincerely for organising such a grand and fantastic event!
Just after the Marathon, couple of friends joined us along with and thereafter, began hanging around places within Auroville. Visited Matri mandir, a meditation center located in the centre of Auroville. It’s a must visit place for any traveller, specially known for its lotus-shaped outer architecture with its five petals signifying various qualities. And, to visit it from inside, one must place a request beforehand...remember if you visiting!  With the hunger killing me inside then, had to had a jumbo lunch-A healthy meal at Visitor’s centre; loved the spinach Lasagne there...big time!  Ended the day with the sunset at Auroville beach! Wow! What a day that was...a run in morning through greens and swim down under at beach at sunset...perfect end-to-end day! :P

Next day, I went over to pay my respects at Aurobindo Ashram, a very peaceful place in Pondy.  With toe going sour..you know,marathon aftereffects;), it was getting too difficult to walk around! Just wandered around a little in surrounding areas, before packing off back to home!

Wow...a power packed journey! Superb half-marathon, visit to one of the finest townships in country, travelling and meeting new people ... all in all a great escapade!:-)

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