On Your Marks, Get Set, Pizza!

If you’re reading this in the morning, then congratulations on being one of the four people not running the Mumbai Marathon today. Seriously, the last time I saw thousands of Mumbaikars run in one direction, it was for a local train seat.

But what I like about the marathon is that every year, it gives so many people a chance to wake up and seize the day by vowing to run next year pakka I swear boss this year was full hectic with job and baby and winning Nobel prize and licking schezwan off my chin and all.

The Mumbai Marathon has grown spectacularly since its inception in 2004, mostly because new generations of women kept discovering Milind Soman and his short shorts. The fandom is completely understandable. For starters, Soman is a friggin’ Greek god whose idea of light cardio is jogging from Mumbai to Pune. And the heartless monster that he is, he probably doesn’t even stop at the Panvel McDonalds. Also, when it comes to sexy studful studly stud-type men, Milind Soman is pretty much the only Maharashtrian option on the table. The only other hot Maharashtrian is Chicken Kolhapuri.

The reason the marathon is so popular is because it’s accessible to everyone who’s not lazy. It features categories like the Senior Citizens’ Run aka You Can’t Say Anything Mean About This Because You’ll Look Like A Sociopath, the Champions With Disability Run aka This Will Make You Feel Small and of course, the Dream Run, which supports the most important charity of them all i.e. the I Just Wanted A New FB Display Picture Foundation.

I don’t know how this happens, but at some point in your late 20s, a bunch of your friends – people whose idea of exercise was picking up the phone to call the wine shop – will start running seriously. This is a good thing because when done right, running develops the most important muscle of all – your credit card. Because you can’t just go out and run anymore. What are you – a caveman? First, you need the right shoes, something with basic features like “AdiBok Nano-engineered Oxyrich air granules embedded in a lightweight sole made entirely from the burps of god.”

The clothes that you wear need to have been designed at NASA, because if they aren’t high-tech enough, your body will put on fat in protest. And of course, you’re a real runner only if you strap on some sort of activity tracker bracelet that connects to sixteen social networks to let everyone know about your vital signs, the distance you covered, your deepest and darkest fears, which Sex and the City character you are and so on. I wish these devices and apps would broadcast more honest updates, like these:

“Champak just checked into Potholed Running Surface Buzzing With Kamikaze Autowallahs.”

“Champak just slipped on dog poo. Impossible is nothing ki mother-sister, he says.”

“Champak just spotted a cute girl up ahead. He quickens his pace because girls like nothing more than a guy racing at them from behind.”

“ABORT ABORT ABORT! Girl is wearing trackpants that has the word JUICY emblazoned in bling across her butt.”

“Champak’s lungs are screaming for mercy. It has only been one kilometre. Screw this, he says.”

“Champak just updated his FB: Ran 5 kilometres today! Feeling alive! <Protein Shake Selfie.jpg> #Motivated #BornToRun #JeSuisPistorius”

The marathon is also a giant fancy dress party – it’s like Halloween for people who’re off candy. But when it comes to fantastical costumes, nobody can beat Anil Ambani, who turns up dressed like he’s one of us. I imagine him running across the city thinking, “Yeah, I own that… and that… and this bridge over here and all the slum-dwellers over there… and that white building at Nariman with the flag on top” until he spots Antilla, at which point he wishes it were the monsoon, because nobody can see his tears in the rain.

But my favourite marathon moment has to be the one where I wake up after it’s all over and everyone has gone home. It’s not like you need to watch it to know how it ends. Two things will happen: an African guy will win, and Rahul Bose will become relevant again.

Jokes aside, the marathon fosters a sense of community and bonding that this angry, overworked city so desperately needs. That is reason enough to run. I’ll do it next year pakka.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 18th Jan 2015.)

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33 responses to “On Your Marks, Get Set, Pizza!

  1. Reblogged this on Meta Indian Beta and commented:
    If you haven’t read this guys blog, go check it out.

  2. Beneath The Froth

    You took the joke and ran away with it. Hilarious stuff man.

  3. Hmmmm.. well I appreciate the good humour and spirit but running for most of us is addictive. No on knows why though. When you are running long distance and you hit the wall; it exists; you slap your hand on your head and say why the f am I doing this meaningless, pointless thing! But the next year or even the next race beckons like a sultry temptress and it becomes impossible to resist. Milind Soman’s short
    shorts are for the floozies and there are people who just run with a basic watch which has a stop watch to tell you the time. Some sports gear like dri fit helps with keeping your body light and dry. I run free, I know others who do too. Try it na, Pukka.

  4. This really cracked me up! LMAO 🙂 Funny, you know what I ate for lunch today? A whole pizza. Yup. Feeling quite victorious.

  5. Haha max gadar! I didn’t know so many people used Nike Fuel till I saw all the updates today.

  6. I would have gone for a run immediately after your blog.., but it’s too cold in Delhi

  7. I will join you next year…pakka !!

  8. Excellent. Loved the credit card muscle and Anil Ambani

  9. What a hilarous post! 😀 Loved reading it. I will also take part next marathon. 😀

  10. I do a little running myself and also happen to know few people who people who run a lot. These people are super awesome at their jobs, kind to others, love their family and friends and also have a passion for running. I have seen that running has been life changing for people. People overcome grief, sickness and depression by running. Before writing such an obnoxious, offensive and well, basically stupid blog maybe you should have checked the facts. There are people running with prosthetic legs, people running barefoot wearing khakhi shorts and white cotton baniyans. They dont look interested in Milind Soman’s short shorts or in someone’s butt. I know people who train for years, it requires dedication and a strong will. One needs to put a lot of effort to maintain the balance between family,friends, work and also your passion. Not something everyone is capable of doing. looks like you are just another case of sour grapes. Not that your juvenile blog matters, but i would just like to help you by making you aware of some other facts about marathons that you wont get in your TV/social media updates(which seems to be your only source). Hope you are a tad bit wiser the next you decide to share your unpleasant and inaccurate thoughts with the world.

    • Thank you for providing me with facts. I was so lost without them. And I most certainly did not know that running robs you of the ability to distinguish between a joke and a serious opinion.

      • Ashish, haters be hatin’. Keep blogging, man! This is one of the few columns that actually makes me guffaw out loud, even if I’m alone. Alone-at-the-moment type alone, not forever-alone type alone 🙂

      • It is only funny till it hurts someone. After that, it is hilarious! 😛

  11. Milind Soman was brought to the forefront due to his being associated with running and it brought back memories of my teenage crush on him so long ago. He’s grown old now but in a way similar to George Clooney – still a very much appealing persona 🙂
    Enjoyed your humorous take on running that everyone seems to have taken up nowadays. Really heartening to see so many involved in such a healthy activity.

  12. Ashish, this column was fantabulous……this just does not allow me to run the marathon…rather sit up in the couch and devour the humour

  13. I think shortest interval of time in physics should be defined as the time duration between a great satire coming up like this, and someone in comments explaining why the author should be crucified. For some reasons, the distinction between a comic blog post, and a wikipedia entry isn’t that clear to many, though in case of Donald Trump that is a genuine confusion.

  14. Beautiful!!! keep writing….Brings a smile to the otherwise dull Monday morning at the office desk thinking “If only I could run FROM HERE!!”
    😉

  15. Mr.Shakya, if you pay attention to some of these comments, stupidusmaximum wouldn’t be the best blog in the world !!!! ……….. Keep up the good word……a big fan !

  16. Reblogged this on northwindsjourney and commented:
    As the non-runner sees it

  17. Loved your blog…love my running…will run SCMM again next year…will wait to read your blog post my run again next year 😉

  18. Reblogged this on eternallytangled and commented:
    Woah! This. Is. Brilliant.

  19. Hilarious! Absolutely LOVE Milind and Rahul. Wonderful sense of humor. You just earned yourself another follower 🙂

  20. Awesome! In particular love these bits:-

    I swear boss this year was full hectic with job and baby and winning Nobel prize and licking schezwan off my chin and all.

    For starters, Soman is a friggin’ Greek god whose idea of light cardio is jogging from Mumbai to Pune. And the heartless monster that he is, he probably doesn’t even stop at the Panvel McDonalds. Also, when it comes to sexy studful studly stud-type men, Milind Soman is pretty much the only Maharashtrian option on the table. The only other hot Maharashtrian is Chicken Kolhapuri.

    First, you need the right shoes, something with basic features like “AdiBok Nano-engineered Oxyrich air granules embedded in a lightweight sole made entirely from the burps of god.”

    “Champak’s lungs are screaming for mercy. It has only been one kilometre. Screw this, he says.”

    “Yeah, I own that… and that… and this bridge over here and all the slum-dwellers over there… and that white building at Nariman with the flag on top” until he spots Antilla,

  21. Wow. Though I myself ran the half marathon I realized I was jostling for space more than a routine week day. Hilarious blog. Enjoyed reading it. Still smiling.

  22. Hilarious max! “Running develops the most important muscle of all – your cc”. Have a good mind to post this on to atleast a dozen wannabe’s FB wall.

  23. Hahaha… great post! And really I swear boss this year was full hectic with job and baby (well…its boilinng in the pot). Ran the FM in 2014 and will do the HM in 2016… pukka 😀 just coz its addictive and I do not want to lose my slot for the FM in 2017. And more so since I already have the NASA clothes and have no other use for them.
    These are messages my Garmin sent me during my training runs:
    Sunaina just stopped mid-run to hog on a wada pav…good job!
    Sunaina is running at the speed of light coz she got fed up and sat in a rickshaw
    Sunaina did not run today cause she was partynig way too late last night…zzzzz

  24. Very Funny 🙂

  25. “Champak just checked into Potholed Running Surface Buzzing With Kamikaze Autowallahs.” – This is Gold stuff, cracker of a post. 😀

  26. Ashish, keep going. love your creative thoughts and heavily desi puns!..

  27. “Champak just updated his FB: Ran 5 kilometres today! Feeling alive! #Motivated #BornToRun #JeSuisPistorius”

    Hahaha! Good stuff!
    This portrays the majority of people who turn up.

  28. Mannn…i was so proud of finishing marathon that very day…now i m not sure! 😀

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