It’s official.  Age really IS just a number…

It’s official. Age really IS just a number…

So there was I, bright and early this morning, pounding the Delhi streets in my brand new running shoes (& feeling ridiculously happy because I have new shoes…) and wearing my brand new Fitbit (& feeling ridiculously happy etc etc) running along the final stretch of Shahjahan Road –  always one of my favourite moments in my run, seeing India Gate – when I had another “Whoa!” moment.

Yesterday’s “whoa” moment was because of fabulously flowery wild animals scattered all over the city’s roundabouts.

This morning my “Whoa and WHAT is going on here?” moment was because the normally deserted India Gate was packed to the gunwales with hundreds of neatly dresses OAPs all marching along.

Like so :

IMG_5793

 

Hundreds and hundreds of them.  All marching in well-defined quiet and orderly groups.  All wearing white polo shirts.  All wearing white caps.

I asked one of the many cops on duty what was going on, and the reply was “Vo log Senior Citizens hai” (you don’t need me to translate that, surely?) to which I replied (in an echo of “Me hu aam aadmi”) “Me bhi Senior Citizen hu”.   For non-Hindi speakers, explanation below*** at the end of this post.

I don’t flatter myself that I look any younger than these smartly upright folks, but it was probably the sweaty running gear, T shirt, iPhone blasting out “Eye of the Tiger” that gave the young cop momentary pause for thought.  And yes, you betcha, of course I was flattered that he didn’t agree straight away that I was a senior citizen.

“Acchha” he replied with a smile and said I could join the OAPs if I wished.

I declined, and ran on, but stopped frequently to chat and take photos with the columns of marchers who kept on arriving.

I have to say, I have seen many protests and marches during my time in Delhi, but never such a well-behaved, orderly one as this.  They walked smartly along, used the rubbish bins (now THAT you don’t see very often) and everyone I spoke to politely invited me to join them.

But you know what?  Seeing these elderly folks this morning was a serious Road to Damascus moment for me.

I’ve been getting increasingly fed up of people telling me that I am too old to run, that enough is enough, that I should start acting my age…and, in the case of some members of Himmat’s family, that I am quote unquote ridiculous for running and climbing.  “At your age” is beginning to irritate.

Delightful as these OAPs were this morning, I’m not ready to be a kindred spirit.

Which is why I cranked up the volume of “Rhinestone Cowboy” and ran off down Raj Path…well, until a kindly policeman darted into the busy morning traffic, and with one imperious gesture stopped it so I could cross…so much for my inner youth.  I must’ve looked like a rather sweaty lil’ ol’ lady needing help to cross the road.

Ah well.

 

There were loads of cops on duty this morning, all very polite and caring towards the Senior Citizens and I have to say that if one has to grow old in a country, India –  with its respect for the elderly –  is the place to be.

 

And as if all this were not enough, underneath India Gate, yet another rehearsal was taking place :

 

NOW do you understand me, when I say that there is never a dull moment here?  I may run the same route most mornings, but the scenery, the people, the soundscape is never the same.

 

*** “Me hu aam aadmi” was a slogan from last year’s political furore against corruption and means “I am a common man”

So “Me bhi Senior Citizen hu” means “I am also a senior citizen”.

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