Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running the Bandh

So today is day five of the strike, and you are starting to notice that supplies of certain things are running low. The place where I normally get eggs, has no eggs. Vegetables and fruit are becoming more withered and in less supply. People's patience with the Maoists is starting to run low, and reports are popping up here and there of shops opening in defiance and a few Maoists actually getting beat on instead of the other way around. Tomorrow there is a peace rally in Durbar Square which seems to be organized by several groups that are sick of the strike. The Newar community in particular seems ready to tell the Maoists to get lost, and I think they will represent a large chunk of the people at the rally tomorrow (at 9AM for those interested).

There is a central tenant in stoic philosophy that says to take that which seems to be an obstacle and make it instead enhance your life. With that thought in mind I took advantage of the clear air, and streets filled only with pedestrians to go for a run. I ran from my apartment in lazimpat to Boudhanath, just over two and a half miles. There was a light rain, but it was warm, and was almost perfect running conditions. It was really a great running route, with long straight aways and gradual inclines and declines, with good sized hills on either side of the river. Almost a perfect mix of terrain. Normally I would never ever be able to run this route due to the sheer volume of people and traffic, not to mention the exhaust you would breathe in over the course of the run.

Then there is the advantage of getting to a place like Boudha to cool down. I walked around the stupa three times, relaxed and tried to work out a few cramps. Did some stretching, took in the views and had a few moments of quiet contemplation before preparing myself for the run back.

Seeing streets that are normally completely clogged with traffic and just running down the middle of them, in a country where the local residents hardly ever run, is kind of an odd experience, but it was a good one. On my way back I saw a couple groups of Maoists breaking off from one of their larger parades around the city checking to make sure that the shops on the roads were indeed closed. It will be nice when this kind of thuggery ends and the bandh is over, but it was great to be able to go for a run some place I normally would never get to do.

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