Life As It Is : By Brojen

| Saturday, March 14, 2015 | |

Stepping back into life from scratch !!


It was an early morning one fine February morning. It had no meaning nor any significance to me on that day. I still remember that very day....14th February in the year 2011 (which would have also been close to my 7th wedding anniversary if things were bright and rosy). I definitely felt chocked inside my house. My bedroom walls and the ceiling were a torture to me. Everything in the house where I stay seem to push me away. There was never a clear thought if I was fighting with myself or the fear of the society around me. I asked multiple times a lot of questions. None were answered. Without knowing what to do, I went to a walk next to my house for a stroll in the morning. Reebok shoes, a tee shirt and a half khakee short. Where am I going ? What am I doing ? What I want to pursue ? No clue. Walked to the park....

A breathe of fresh air is what people would say. However, to me it was freedom ........ from the fear that was lingering on. I must have walked a few rounds casually. I came back home with a new experience of having done my first morning walk (or jog to say). What I observed was there were many others and everyone seems to be on their own in the small BBMP park. And with no doubt in my mind the same park trip happened on the next day. I did the same on the second day also. I felt the park must have been 0.5 Km long but it turned out to be much smaller than my small mind could imagine. Because in those days, I have never even walk 500 meters nor exercise any. The only thing I love about the mornings was the sense of freedom that I get while I was away from my house.

I really dislike the thought of staying alone in that house. It used to be a home before, once upon a time. And it had a small family, filled with laughter and smiles. But then one day it became a house and I could not even tell from when it became a house. I was the only inhabitant then. It would be equivalent to a isolated cell. My only companion would be the TV in the house. I had fallen in love with it so much. It would be turned on from the time I walk into my house in the evening after to the time I sleep or to the time I wake up next day morning. Just because it makes some noise and you feel some company exists by your side. It filled in the vacuum in the house.

I was lucky to bump into my first training partner Mayank at my office in Nokia. He introduced to Dailymile. Even without a GPS watch, I tracked the exact path of my so called runs in the park and from my house. I was surprised to see that I could easily cover 5 Kms in a matter of 2 weeks. I started logging my miles. The excitement seemed equal to a kid getting into nursery school for the first time. The excitement was purely visible in me. I also got introduced to Bobby in office around the same time as I met Mayank. And it so happened that I was asked to sign up for the first ever official event in 2011 March in Contours Womans Day Run. I signed up for the 5K event since I had never ran. I discussed my training plans with Mayank and I kept a close touch with Bobby. Both were my lifelines and I hanged on to the two of them, always meeting up during free time. This was a new love I found. Finally event day came. I ran my first ever race in a 5Km race and it got done successfully. Thank you Chandra Gopalan and Contours Woman’s Day Run for the kick-start. I clocked 27 minutes for the 5K. At the end of the run, I saw Bobby, Pani Sir, Neera etc who are all big time runners in those days. I was scared and nervous at first when I saw so many runners at the finish line. It was a whole new world which I had never seen. I felt as if I lived like a frog in a well and just jumped out of the well on that day. I was shocked even more to know that Bobby knew almost so many runners.

I soon started getting serious. I migrated my trainings to Nike Run Club on weekends. I also procured a Nike Wristband to check my pace and distance. It was TCS 10K 2011 and I signed up for my first 10K run. My preparations were always in constant guidance from Mayank. One day he mentioned I had to do a 10K mock run before the actual race and I went to run with him at EGL. We met up and we started, I was nervous. We ran through eucalyptus plants on the route and Mayank gave me a sip of water from his bottle at the 5K mark. It was my first ever 10K distance on feet. And so my preparations continued. Finally TCS 10K was done in 53:27 when I had a target of 57:00 in my mind. A Nike Finisher’s tee was given. I was purely bitten. It was no looking back then. In a short time I had signed up for my first ever Half Marathon in Airtel Hyderabad Marathon in August of 2011. I had never known the route would be so different from TCS 10K in Bangalore. However the thrill of completing my first ever HM in 1:59:50 made me forget all of it. And I remember I had a deal with Gauri that I will try to beat his boy friend’s HM timing and I did. Yeah !! A big kiss from Gauri for that and boy I was proud.

By this time I had started working with Runners World SmartCoach plans. I was also very familiar with many faces like Pani Sir, Neera, GopalDa, Brijesh, etc etc. Infact my first outstation race was Airtel Hyderabad HM and I travelled in the train to Hyderabad with Brijesh and group with no ticket. I actually travelled in GopalDa’s ticket to Hyderabad. What seemed like a small jog in the park one day in Feb 2014 resulted into my first full marathon in Mumbai in SCMM 2012. I did my preparations with Mayank with Runners World SmartCoach Plans for my first ever full marathon. I kept a constant touch with Bobby also to keep tab on my progress. I learnt word like tempo, intervals etc a bit more. I finally touched the first ever full marathon in 4:18:xx in Mumbai in 2012.

Sometimes all of us ask a lot of questions in life. I kept on soul searching for many years. I could never get any answers for many of the questions I had. For me running was purely accidental. I had signed up many races and events, collected a lot of medals (even have a lot of safety pins at home) ever since. I have not really bothered to keep a track of any of them. However, the benefits it has got to me has been more than being on a podium or being in the limelight. It has given me a new life to live. Back in 2011 and 2012, I had many times attempted to run away and it looked to me I was running away from life. I have had solo trips to Gokarna, Goa, Kudal, Coorg etc. Some of my friends even renamed me Baba (as one day I looked as if I had washed away all my sins on the beaches of Gokarna. The more I run, the more life came back to me. I asked why ? No answer yet again.

I hated those counseling sessions at NIMHANS during the 2012 – 2013 time frame (no one knew about them except 2 to 3 friends). I used to report every weekend at the counseling room, the counselor would ask me every damn question and take me back to those years which I was trying to forget. It would go to the extent of breaking me down to pieces. It was hard, real hard to undergo counseling to get a closure. I never really understood the importance of counseling sessions. I also had this fear in my mind that people will call me cranky for having counseling sessions at NIMHANS. I could never sleep peacefully those years. I have never slept in those years without having a nightmare. The fear of dark room made me sleep with the bedroom lights on and with music (either TV or radio) so that when I wake up with a nightmare in the night, I would have some sound to comfort me.

I had forgotten to go to social gatherings and stayed away from all parties and gatherings in my friends circle for those 3 yrs. Only restrictions I had was runners get together where I was comfortable with. I was not even able to answer to some of my friends when they ask me “Brojen are you single or married?” I literally had to brush aside those questions. Thank you Bobby, Sir, Brijesh, Patrick, Murthy, Gauri... I spoke out. I managed to stay put. I didn’t yield to the pressure from any corner. Sir’s training, ever since I joined, made me tougher and a better person. My training regime changed me slowly and imparted strength back into me to mix up more and learn to mingle with more people.

I have gone to do a 3:29:xx in 2014 in Mumbai and have just 5 full marathons under me so far in the 4 years I have been running. Have done a couple of 50K runs. I do not run for records or timing. I love to run for fitness, for giving me my life back to me. What more could one ever ask ? I would never ever have joined PaceMakers had it not been Bobby who pushed me into it. There are many milestones and numbers. However, what is worthy mentioning is being alive.....to be alive and kicking, for so long that you even get accepted to be a part of the society. I am proud my wife Sangita have been able to accept me like a normal human being even after being left by ex-wife. Many of you in PaceMakers have given me the strength to carry on in my worst times. I will count the number of years I will smile and run rather than the number of years I have stayed away from life. I am strong now and I am no more scared. This note simply should end with this line.

Thank you Pani Sir. Thank you PaceMakers. Hare Krishna Hare Rama.

Baba
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