Saturday, May 12, 2007

Run With Me

"If we cannot live so as to be happy, let us at least live so as to deserve it."

Immanuel Hermass von Fichte, German philosopher (1786 - 1879)

This is a picture post. Go make pour yourself a drink or take a leak or something while it loads.
If you're on a 56k modem, you have enough time to go have dinner or even take a dump first.

At the start of End Point's jogging track.

Since the first morning I was back in Manipal, I've picked up the healthy (and very uncharacteristic-of-me-I-know-stop-giving-me-flak) habit of jogging regularly1 from my house to the end of End Point daily at 6.30 am, before I hop on to the drudgeries of labs and lectures.

I see the signboard in the picture above midway through my route everyday. I thought the person who wrote that to be rather politically incorrect. How can he/she assume that my creator isn't a woman? Don't they know that the entire Chinese race is a plasticine project of Nüwa, the Semi-serpent Goddess? Sheesh~

End Point. Please click to enlarge.

The town of Manipal was built on a table-like hill. End Point, to put it in the simplest terms, is a stretch of road that runs along one edge of that table. If you walk off the asphalt and trudge a little way to the left (in reference to the picture above), you'll come to a rather steep slope that rolls a long way down to the endless expanse of the Indian plains below. On a good cloudless day - which is practically everyday before monsoon - you can even see in the far horizon where the flat sea-line gives way to heaven.

C'mon, let's run along for a bit.

Yellow-flowering tree.

In an effort to make the place look a lot less barren, the powers that be (whoever they may be) have planted a series of pretty looking trees along the way. A small truck carrying
"recycled water" as its cargo would make its rounds in the evening to make sure that the shrubberies would thrive on the parched red earth.

The best time to visit End Point would be on one of those rare sunny days during the monsoon deluge. It's like one of those National Geographic specials where the desert would sprout into a multi-coloured paradise after a rainstorm. Breath-taking, I kid you not.

A dead tree.

Being on rather hilly terrain, End Point enjoys a constant, cooling strong breeze from the west, where the Indian Ocean lies. In fact, the wind is so constant that you'll notice some of the older trees here would incline eastward, being battered so persistently from the other side.

The end point of End Point.

At the end of the track, you'll come to this loop when you can make a U-turn and choo-choo all the way back to town. Or, if you're the adventurous sort *coughmecough*, you can go on running for a bit more off-road;

The end point of End Point from Google Earth.

See the dirt-track leading from the loop? From the end of that dirt-track, you can see this;

Swarna River. Feel free to click on it and blow it up.

Forgive my noob photography skills. This picture does not do the view the least bit justice at all. When you're truly standing there in person, you'll be overwhelmed by just how big the Indian subcontinent is. In the face of God's2 sprawling ant-farm, I feel small, microscopic - and all my aches and troubles are even smaller. Breathing in deeply, it wouldn't surprise me if I dissolve in thin air right there and then by doing just that.

My route.

The signboard in the first picture is planted somewhere right in the middle of the red line. Actually getting to the start of End Point already takes half my full run.
  1. My house in Acharya Compound.
  2. The loop at the end point of End Point.
  3. Scenic vantage point of Swarna River.
  4. Swarna River.
Of course, then I would have to run back;

Long way home.

See the little black arrow? That's where the town is - so far that it's almost a blur. Standing there, I
almost felt as if I've left all the flotsams of my wreckage of a life behind. I just thought that it's too bad I can't have someone standing beside me with whom I can share this with.

Too bad indeed. So I'll just share this with you guys, my virtual jogging mates!

April buds.

Though End Point may look like a rather dry husk of a place at the moment, you can still find beauty if you know where to look. The trick is to recognise beauty when you see it; like this bouquet of yet-unopened purple flowers for instance.

And if you're particularly good at recognising beauty, you might even see this;

Love at its simplest.

Every morning at the first light of dawn, this old man whose hair is white and few, would stroll along End Point with his wife who is bent with age. The pair would walk slowly, treading each and every familiar step with care with her hand clasped in his. They must have been married for a great score of years and have walked together on countless mornings - yet, looking at both of them, I can almost swear that this morning is their first.

Everyday is the first day.

Everyday is the first day of the rest of their lives.

Damn, I feel like crying every time I see them.

The other side of the same signboard.

One day, I'm going to come here with a permanent marker and change 'Time' to 'Life'.

What have you done or seen today?

Still breathing,
k0k s3n w4i

1 Or as regular as I can help it.
2 The Almighty and I have a strange relationship. He spends half his time ignoring me while I spend my half pretending that he's as real as Santa Claus (there, there, don't cry kids). Just sometimes, I see something so moving that I could not stop myself from uttering "My God!" under my breath in awe.


mrbherng said...

How many KM do you do a day then?
Whenever I decided to start jogging, the weather will turn on me here.

Alright, the weather had never been nice to us anyway. A dry day will be a good day.

michelleg said...

but dry is so warm!!!

yea, ur view there is not bad. no wonder ur thinner now, it looked like a long way to jog for me..

Zzzyun said...

i think the old couple is so cute...

and it gives me a warm feeling that at least some marriages still do work. (cynical as always huh?)

Mischique said...

Beautiful April buds you have there. The place actually looks pretty especially the view of the Swarna river. Am impressed.

michellesy the wistful said...

Thank you for sharing =) That was a lovely route and looks like it would make for a great jog =)

But I have to say this: GODDAMN, you must have fantastic stamina and discipline welded from pure steel. Cos it looks like a heck of a long way 0_o

Heh, so speaks a food-aholic, bookworm and couch potato. Ignore me please =D

And that old couple? Awwwwwwwww.How utterly lovely.

It often makes me wonder how they do it. Especially these days when 1 in 2 marriages ends in divorce.


k0k s3n w4i said...

i think the run I make is about 4km but you can try to count that from the scale in the googleearth snap if you're feeling particularly free. Your side of the world must have killer countrysides to run in
i'd have to stop my runs when monsoon comes.

actually it's pretty cold up there in the morning. plus, in dry air, you'd feel less hot really - less humid and suffocating.

it's a growing community of cynics here :p
most marriages would have run out of love by then. props to old skul couples!

now, if I can only take pictures like bherng can (and own a cam as keng as his). there's an awesome panoramic view westward, only - I dun know how to stitch pics together to show how awesome it is.

@wistful michellesy
you must have missed reading footnote number 1.
I'm everything you are; foodie, bookworm and all. Only, I'm also guilty.
C'mon, the stats for divorces ain't that high. we need to exorcise that cynicism out of you now!

Jen said...

by now, buns of steel, no? haha!

hmm.. "end point" sounds like it could either be extremely motivating when you're feeling on top of the world, or suicide-inducing when you've hit rock bottom.

but gosh, to see such sights on a jogging route really is something. the only thing i'd see IF i went jogging would be wilted bougainvillea bushes, kids with a deathwish, ice cream wrappers and the occassional leery, half-naked, wolf-whistling bachelor.

Rabbit said...

Somehow I feel peaceful looking at the 4th picture. =)

And the old couple is so lovey dovey!

mrbherng said...

Countrysides are pretty far away although Cardiff is a small city but we have a few parks (like central park in NY or Hyde Park in London just not surrounded by skyscrapers) to jog. Countrysides here have lots of poo though... sheep's poo.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Nope. Buns of Jello, more like.
And that's precisely what we said about End Point when we first came here - err - the later par of your statement, that is. But it's kinda hard killing yourself there. If you jump, you'll probably go on rolling for a good hour before you can actually reach reach the bottom. You'll end up disfigured, but unfortunately, very much alive.

Sweet right? That day I actually followed quietly behind them and took a dozen pictures. Luckily, they are too deaf to hear me d, haha.

Parks are pretty cool. Nice planned flower beds and shady trees. And dude, sheep poo is nothing... compared to cow poop.

michellesy the hypercholesterolaemic said...

LOL - I'm guilty too (or should be considering my elevated cholesterol levels!), but can't be arsed to exercise.

Tsk, tsk.

Watching the food intake though, so no roti canais for me (not that there are any to be had here).

The paranoia is due to the fact that, like you, I have a parent with lower cholesterol levels than me, and who is not afraid to let me know it.

The humiliation of it all *sweats*

Plus I have no wish to die a long, lingering, grotesquely bloated death in my mid-forties 0_o

ps: A cynic I may be, but the divorce statistics are that high, cross my heart and hope to die.
In the US at least and it's heading that way in Australia too. 40% and counting I think =(

k0k s3n w4i said...

Eat happy. Die young. That's good enough a motto for me.
The stats aren't quite that high in most asian countries - at least not yet. Let us all harbour the stupid and totally dumb hope that it won't rise. ;)