Running leads you in many different directions…

Running leads you in many different directions…

Yes, I know, talk about a self-evident truth.

Obviously if you run, you go in a direction, I can hear you all muttering.

But what I want to share with you tonight, before I toddle off to bed nice and early, so I can be ready for the half-marathon tomorrow, is that running is leading me in some unexpected directions too.  Beyond feeling good/getting fit/exercising –  all of which are fabulous enough reasons for running in themselves – but beyond all these, running is, well, taking me off in other directions.


Take Chetan Mahajan, for example.

I met up with this lovely man for a coffee on Friday, for an exploratory chat about his extraordinary story.

And all because of running.

Let me explain.

After being kindly allowed a late entry into the Delhi Heritage half marathon a couple of weeks ago, I now follow that running group (RWM) and Chetan posted on their FB page that he had some T shirts to give to runners.  Intrigued by the mention of the word “jail” in his Facebook post, I followed the audit trail (yes, obviously I googled him) and discovered an amazing story.


Wrongly arrested in Jharkhand and slung into prison, Chetan would spend a month in Bokaro jail, until he was released and exonerated of all charges.  He wrote a book about his experience and now works with Amnesty International to highlight the plight of under-trials who are kept in jail when they should be released.  There is provision under the law for them to be released, but since many prisoners are poor or ill educated or both, and invariably without connections, these poor folk languish in jail when they should be out on bail.


I met up with Chetan in Starbucks in Connaught Place on Friday – there are 2 of them, by the way, and I went to the wrong one, but that’s another story.

A more charming, low-key, down to earth man you could not wish to meet, and between telling me his story, and giving me tips for the half marathon tomorrow (he’s a super experienced runner) and giving me one of the famous T shirts, he had me thinking.

Running had led me to this.  Discussing under trials.  Thinking about Indian prisons.  Making a new friend.

I shall read his book, “The Bad Boys of Bokaro Jail”, and then, I hope, meet him again for a longer, more wide-ranging chat.

And all the while, you thought I was running just for exercise!

And on this happy note, let me leave you with a sound clip from one of the songs on my ultimate running playlist which will, I hope, power me around Delhi tomorrow.

Good luck to all you fellow runners out there.

Jai ho!


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