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September 19th, 2014

There’s no such thing as boring in India

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Ever since I became a (late) convert to the joys of running, I have started reading articles and blogs about running, and one little nugget I have gleaned is that it is good to vary your route from time to time, so that boredom doesn’t set in.

Which is why I run pretty much the same route every day, through Lutyens Delhi.

Because – as those of you who live here and/or have visited here know full well – there’s no such thing as boring in India. Or repetitive. Or same old-same old.

I may well run down the glorious [...]

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September 19th, 2014

What could be the collective noun for these?

Last month, on the second day of our trek along the Markha Valley in Ladakh, we crossed over a low pass and descended to our lunch spot, in a tiny shady grove.

As usual, the pass was marked with prayer flags, but also with masses of white silk “kata”. Not just a few of these ceremonial scarves**, but dozens upon dozens, so much so that their weight was almost touching the ground.

As I sat and marvelled, I thought idly about how you could describe this sight. To say “there were a lot of white silk scarves…” is way too [...]

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September 18th, 2014

Photo of the day : Ladakh

Less than a month ago, we were approaching our Base Camp, and getting ready to climb Kangyatse II, but such is the speed of life that it already seem a long time ago (so much for being senior citizens and in the slow lane…).

It is hard to think of Kashmir these days without images of the dreadful flooding being in the forefront of one’s mind – and I am worried that I have no news of Rahul, one of my climbing buddies – but a day of picture editing has brought back the beauty of this part of India.

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Click to continue reading Photo of the day : Ladakh

September 17th, 2014

Delhi is a pretty “fine” place these days

I remember when I first went to Singapore (aeons ago) the must-have souvenir was a T-shirt that said something like “Singapore is a fine place”, and then listing all the things you could get fined for – men having long hair and chewing gum being the 2 classics.

Fast forward 30 years and, who knows, perhaps hamari Dilli is heading the same way.

There is a whole slew of proposals – according to my morning papers – aimed at making Delhi clean and un-smoke-spit-pee-poo free.

Yes.

Quite.

These proposals were all announced last month, and I would love to be [...]

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September 14th, 2014

We zumba-ed at dawn. We danced to Bollywood as the sun rose. And then we ran a 10k.

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Don’t believe me?

I have some clips of my dancing divas for you later on, but first of all, a bit of scene setting.

5.15am on a muggy Sunday morning and the traffic is pouring into the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium.

It’s Pinkathon time, and if you wish to see a reported 7000+ women dancing and zumba-ing and taking a zillion selfies and then running 21/10/5/3km, then that was the place to be. (And we’ll have no comments about the cheeky ladies in saris (yes!!!! So divinely Indian) who were doing the 3km and all

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Click to continue reading We zumba-ed at dawn. We danced to Bollywood as the sun rose. And then we ran a 10k.

September 10th, 2014

A day is a long time in…in…

…in running.

Forget the concept of “a week is a long time in politics”. Introducing “a day is a long time for a newbie runner.”

Lemme explain.

Yesterday I wrote 3/4 of a blog post about running, in which I mentioned feeling discouraged and out of shape and out of sorts. I didn’t post the post (if you see what I mean) since it wasn’t finished.

This is what I wrote early yesterday :

“Indulge me, while I muse aloud about running in general and this morning’s run in particular. I am supposedly training for a 10km run this Sunday [...]

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September 8th, 2014

The singing horse-wala

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We had a delightful Tibetan horseman with us on our KYII climb. Always cheerful, and very often singing.

He always sang his rather repetitive ditties when it was time to saddle up or unload the horses, and we wondered if it wasn’t a calming strategy for the animals.

Sadly I didn’t record the brilliant song he treated us (and the pack animals) to one day, which seemed to be a chanting litany of the names of the mountains. One line I remember perfectly (you are all suitably impressed by my Tibetan, I hope?) because it went a bit like this [...]

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September 7th, 2014

The view on the way to the top…

I wish I could share with you the combined feeling of exhaustion and incipient exhilaration here…we are literally inching our way to the summit of Kangyatse II. We can see it, but we all still have a way to go, your blogger at large more than the others.

I was very much the weakest link on this ascent, but my lowly status did allow me to look up, feel inspired by my 2 fellow climbers and our 3 fabulous guides, and this gave me the strength to push on…

Such joy.

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Click to continue reading The view on the way to the top…

September 7th, 2014

In praise of (we) wonderful Auntie-jis!!

There are some blog posts that just write themselves, and this is one of them.

After our 10km race was cancelled, 4 of us decided to meet and run anyway.

Now, amongst my utterly fabulous running group I am known as Auntie-ji, mainly because I am at least a good 2+ decades older than the next oldest lady, and a frightening 47 years older than our youngest member (and my usual running partner), darling Chaivi.

So, Auntie-ji I am.

Whilst waiting in the car park for the others this morning, there was a parked car playing Bollywood music at full [...]

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September 6th, 2014

The 10km that wasn’t…

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Talk about India being the land of lastminute.com…

I was supposed to be running a 10 km race in NOIDA tomorrow – just across the river from Delhi – with some of my dear running girls. My clothes and running shoes were already out. A friend had kindly collected my bib for me today. Alarm already set. Early night planned for a 4.30am start…and then we get an email just now, telling us the race is cancelled because the NOIDA cops won’t give permission.

Apparently the President and the PM will be visiting NOIDA soon…

Ah well, trying to put [...]

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September 5th, 2014

Leh: a little city in the middle of lots of changes

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Last month, while I was in Leh, high up in the Himalayas, acclimatising pre-climb, I tried to blog (I really and truly did). But the internet was so, so, so, oh-so-slow that I simply gave up. It was either that or go mad in the attempt.

Now I am back in Delhi, and busy editing the hundreds of photos I took, and my rucksack and boots and sleeping bag have all been packed away…but before I lose the Ladakhi mood completely, I thought I’d talk to you a little about one of my favourite places in India.

Leh, the tiny [...]

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September 3rd, 2014

How to fall asleep…Ladakhi ishtyle…

I assure you, the video clip (below) has – almost – scientific properties, guaranteed to send you off to sleep phataphat, ek dum jaldi se.

Don’t believe me?

OK, well check out Wikipedia then :

“Counting sheep is a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of lulling oneself to sleep. In most depictions of the activity, the practitioner envisions an endless series of identical white sheep jumping over a fence, while counting them as they do so. The idea, presumably, is to induce boredom while occupying the mind with something simple, repetitive, and rhythmic, all of which

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