Day before yesterday, as I sat chatting with childhood friends on whatsapp, I updated them on my Half Marathon timings for SCMM ’14. While most of them congratulated me, one friend did say something that made complete sense.
Old friend who speaks the truth: “You ran the whole thing?”
I, also speaking the truth: “Yes. Sort of ran and jogged. Something in between, I guess”.
He: ” And how long did you take?”
I: ” Blah blah blah minutes.”
He: ” Nice.”
Silence. Then after a while,
He: “Who would have thought that the same kid who hated sports in school, never went for races, voluntarily chose Logic over PE & Arts as an additional subject for her boards – just so that she didn’t have to move a muscle – is actually running 21 kms!”
I was never the one who would play sports. The only thing I did while growing up was let my father drag me to swimming practice. Mostly because I could skip the early morning bath with eye-stinging shampoo this way. I would laze around in the pool and chat with other lazy six-year olds. During competitions I would hide in the changing room or canteen. When people spoke about Olympics and discussed how some legend or the other made it that day, I would shrug and talk about Gymnasts. That was me. That is probably still me. Hidden in some part of this present day me. This present day me who runs once in a while and is happy about it. This present day me who goes dancing. This present day me who wants to play tennis. This present day me who still is lazy.
So I am sitting down and writing a letter to my 15 year-old self.
Dear 15 year-old me,
I think you are good. I think you are confused and you will remain that way for the next decade or so. But that is you. And it is good to know that some things are simple and can be taken for granted.
But my teenage self, you must realise that in 9 years you will find that, in spite of shying away from sports all your life, you will actually enjoy something. You will start running to see the neighbourhood, and then you will continue to do so to lose some weight before your sister’s wedding. (That will be of no use since you will not follow a healthy diet, but that calls for a separate letter). And before you know it you will be tricked into registering for a 10 km run and you will finish it, only to realise that you don’t want to give up. You will meet the best kind of people because of your runs, you will become the best you can be because of these people. You will love running not just because it is a sport but because it is the ONLY sport where the people around you will not try to slow you down. They will cheer for you, they will make you want to finish. They will not be competing with you, but you will be with yourself. You will be happy and sad, excited and disappointed – all because of your runs. You will plan your parties and your diet (gulp) around this, you will spend on it without blinking twice. And before you know it, you will be the one asking your friends (and a very excited and supportive mother) to start running as well. They will hate you and curse you for their swollen fingers and aching backs, but they will also thank you when they cross that finish line. And every time they do, you will thank someone for making you run as well.
Dear young me, know that life will surprise you soon. By making you change your opinions about many a thing. And running will just be one of them. Wait for it to happen.
The present me.