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How my roots inspired me to take up running and run a marathon?

There is so much diversity in my home.  Let’s talk about that.

I come from a family of Vegetable growers.  My grandfather did farming too.  He used to grow all sorts of crops – wheat, paddy, lentils, etc.  My father on the other hand went on to serve the country by joining the military.  But, when he was a child going to school, he would tend his little farm and grow vegetables and sell it to the local market.  This way he could pay school expenses.

However, My grandfather did not go to school.  He learned things out of his sheer interest. His interest was to be able to read the Indian epics like Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas.  So, he did not see the logic in sending his children to school.  But, they did go.  The 4 boys did go to school whereas the 2 girls stayed back home to learn the home chores. 

However, my father turned out to be an exception to the lot.  He saw and dreamed about sending his kids to the best of schools.  So, he admitted me to Central School.  As we moved around the national corners, I was having no trouble in my education.  Central schools are spread out all over the country.

You can say, I went to a good enough school to learn and get an education.  I have lived in cities for almost all my life so far.  We had school summer holidays for 2 months.  In those holidays, we went to our ancestral village and lived there with our relatives.  That’s where I got to know my roots.

My roots are important to my running story.  My dad would tell me often, “We would walk several kilometers to and fro to reach our school”.    And I would always shrug it off.   I could never imagine such long distances being covered on feet daily.  We would go to our school in Army trucks turned into school buses.  We also went several kilometers but in buses.

In the last few years, I became curious about the life that my forefathers have lived.  Back in those days, there were no roads.  Not even the kutcha roads you see.   All that we had got to walk on, was the small narrow lanes zigzagging through the farm fields.  

Often it happened that we had to walk on foot to our ancestral home from the nearest highway.  We would face absolutely no difficulty in traveling through several hundred kilometers by train to reach the nearest railhead and from there on to the nearest road head for my tiny hamlet. But, it was always a gigantic task to accomplish from the nearest road head to the village.

My grandfather would narrate me the story of how he would walk along with his fellow friends for several days to reach the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna at Allahabad.   They would carry their cooking stuff like rice, wheat flour, and firewood on their head and walk several kilometers to take the holy dip.  All on their feet!!

All in all, I could see that my family had a history of producing some naturally strong men who could walk and run carefree.   But, I was never exposed to these levels of struggle in my life.   I was always an Academic guy.  Now in my 40s, searching for my roots, I was looking for clues to connect and engage with my lineage. 

This kind of legacy always assured me that I was born to run though I never ran.  So, when I took up running, it came naturally to me.  I discovered my passion for it.  I found it to be the most transforming tool in my 40s to re-invent and re-discover myself. 

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Running

sanju View All

a runner, a fitness enthusiast

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