Saturday, September 13, 2014

Health club chronicles - Touching inner chords of melody

I swim because I love being an amphibian ; feel of water, its buoyancy; the wriggly adjustments the body makes to cut through it; the effortless breathing patterns it generates ( quite unconscious..); the sheer electric delight that courses through my veins as strokes become more rhythmic and self -sustaining - is simply delightful;

An elderly gentleman jumped into the pool ; in the lane adjacent to mine. A well built man, toned body; hair greying a little around his temples; but seemed in good physical condition. His strokes had natural athleticism and a practiced grace to it. There was hardly any displacement as his arms slit through water with languid precision ; he went on and on, continuously, for nearly forty five minutes without pausing a moment in between his laps. All that I could hear was the little splash of water as he tumbled over to resume his swim in the opposite direction. I had finished my swim and was warming off in the sauna close by, when he joined me after his rigorous exercise..

I began the conversation :" Sir, I must say, that was a wonderful swimming routine that you did just now..."

He gave me a wry smile and replied " Yeah, vented my frustration on the water, I guess..."

My curiosity piqued. I enquired : "But, I thought, your strokes seemed well measured and timed. It was very elegant to watch, and hardly seemed to be that of man expending pent up stress.."

He nodded .. " You know, This is my first outing in the pool after nearly ten years....". I was aghast; but allowed him to continue "....When I turned forty five, I started running the marathons. Strangely, I never knew that I loved running so much until I started doing it. Despite my tough work schedule, I run on an average at least 5-10 miles a day. Never missed a single day in the last decade. I have participated in every Marathon in this country; not to win ; but for the sheer joy of running. I like the flow of adrenalin when my feet hit the roads.. You see there is a Chicago marathon coming up on the 12th of October, and I had been preparing for it. A few weeks ago, I started developing a little nagging pain in my right knee. Nothing to worry, but it was holding me back when I ran. I kept ignoring it; until today morning when I got back results from my doc. My knee cap has been damaged and needs replacement. Which means. no more strain and definitely not Marathons anymore - at least not in the near future. I went home, picked up my swimming trunk and headed straight here..."

He ended his monologue, and I suspect that I saw his eyes a little moist after this outpouring. I am not sure, why he had to recount this story to me; but then I realized that he needed a vent, an ear to listen without any judgments. I brightened up and said " Hey, you know what, with your grit, I am sure you will be there for the next Chicago marathon. If your swimming today is any measure to go by, then i must confess that you are in peak physical shape; and this knee thing may be a minor aberration that will very soon overcome. I salute your passion and energy..."

He looked at me and said "Thanks man.. I hope your words come true... I really hope....."With that, he got of the sauna and walked away.

Every individual fights his own little battles each day. In a sense all of them are heroes in their own right. It is not the glare of publicity or effusive accolades that define heroism; but it lies in those simple tasks done to fulfill our own goals; the passion that we bring to whatever we do; and the tremendous satisfaction that one derives from them - that is the measure of a life well lived. To this gentleman, who I am sure has a good stable job - running is a passion; and it is in that he fulfills himself. Likewise, blessed are those who can tap that secret nectar within themselves and find joy in it. Nothing can be more satisfying then that..

God bless....

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