7 May 2018 Off By Naginder Sehmi

Indians can run also!

Sunday, 11.45 am, 6 May 2018 :“You must be British Indians,” I approached a group of a dozen men and women with the Union Jack stickers on their bibs taking a group photo, thumbs raised and broad blissful smiles. “Yes we are. Bravo! Where are you from?”

“I’m also an Indian. I’m very happy to see you. So good to have company. I was born in Kenya, I’m Kenyan Swiss.  Most of the time I am the only Indian running; rarely one sees Indians in this race. I have run all Geneva half-Marathons except one.”

I enjoyed talking to them! One, originally from Mombasa, immediately started conversing with me in Swahili. An ex-Ugandan said he played cricket in Uganda XI. Some were from London, others from Birmingham. It will be difficult to encounter such relaxed spiritual contentment on the faces of a big group.

“Have you run a full Marathon,” asked one.

“No, I would like to try once; but it will be difficult; I’m 81.”

Total silence. Difficult to believe. They showered me with praises and I felt elated.

“What’s your secret of staying young?”

“Running, not yoga! What you require and achieve by running is much more than by practicing yoga. Will power, action, determination, concentration, courage, big lungs to push oxygen required by the whole body, not just the brain.”

“It is meditation,” said one women.

“Instead of yogic breathing through one nostril the runner would welcome addition of one or two more noses!”

All this was short lived but much fun. The joy of talking to them made me forget my knee pains. I wanted to return home. If I had stayed to rest after receiving the medal I would not have the courage to walk to the distant bus stop with such painful knees – a punishment for not training enough before the race.

I regret that I did not think of taking a picture with the group. Should anyone of the group read this, I would love to hear from him or her.