That was the question on my lips early this morning as I sat shivering in 7C whilst checking the Mumbai temperature – 27C at 6.30am. (Is that possible? Or was my weather widget so frozen it couldn’t think straight?)
Be that as it may, the fact remains that in 10 days I shall be in Mumbai to run a half marathon and it is going to be hot & humid. As opposed to miserably cold & foggy. Bring it on, say I.
But one has to do a certain amount of preparation, and so today I piled on the warmies and ran at midday, hoping to feel hot and sweaty and something akin to 27C. Replicate Mumbai, in other words.
There was such a bitter wind whipping along Raj Path that I regretted only having a long-sleeved thermal + a fleece + a bodywarmer + a hat, and not another fleece. And a pair of gloves.
So, no worries Mumbai mere jaan, there is no way you can be replicated up here.
Having said that, there is still something to be said about running around India Gate and down Raj Path and up Raisina Hill…who am I kidding, it is utterly fabulous, and easily one of the best things in this city. I got so spoiled over the summer, running at dawn on my own around India Gate, that it’s a bit of a shock to the system to have to fight your way through the crowds of visitors taking selfies.
As you can see from my GPS track log below, at the end of this post, I couldn’t run the full length of Raj Path. Rehearsals are already taking place for Republic Day, and today it was the turn of school children marching to some very jolly Bolly music. The announcer on the PR system – all the way along Raj Path we got the details of who was where and who should be where and who needed to hurry up – was using my kind of Hindi :
“Sab teachers and in-charges ke liye ek meeting hai…
I ran up Raisina Hill, the incline leading up to Rashtrapati Bhavan, which has to double up as Mumbai’s Pedder Road in my training. Been stressing myself by reading reports of the half marathon route, and everyone, without exception, makes mention of Pedder Road. And how one has to factor in walking up it and thereby losing precious minutes. So Raisina Hill it will have to be every day for the next 10 days. Trying to replicate Mumbai agan.
After the pomp and circumstance, the Bollywood music and the icy wind, I made a detour via the little Masjid Zabta Ganj on Raj Path, an 18th century mosque that I have discovered through running, and have run past many times without ever stopping.
Today I did, and see what I found. A fantabulous ceiling, for one :
The usual clutch of little boys who could say “Hi” and “My name is” and that was that. They were intrigued by the fact I could speak Hindi and traipsed around after me, instead of swabbing the floors of the mosque, which is what they all seemed to be doing when I arrived.
Just think of all the years of driving past this little mosque, and only discovering it on foot…
Raj Path is being spruced up in preparation for 26 January (and, of course, President Obama, who will be the chief guest) and lots of access points are now blocked off.
As you can see.
I ran past a crowd of men listening to the sales patter of a man selling…well, you tell me what he was selling :
The original fish oil salesman.
We encountered a bloke like this in Simla last year and since he told me that for Rs50 a slice of the backbone of a ??? (oh I forget what fish) would cure me of all my aches and pains, I duly stumped up the money and have left the talisman on my desk ever since. I was supposed to tie it on a piece of string and wear it. I think I now shall.
Here you go, I know you don’t believe me :
I am going to get a piece of thread and start 2015 fully protected.
Perhaps it will also protect me from the kind of asinine idiot like the bloke below who waved at me continuously, clearly thinking I was interested in him rather than the fish spines dangling in front of me. Egotistical twerp.
So there you go. Delhi is not really like Mumbai at all, but one does one’s best. And tomorrow I shall wear an extra layer of warmies.
Here’s the track log. All 11.2km of it.