When Atashi ran the SF Half Marathon … running was never the same! Come Run with her !
— Runner Johar
Bauji … Bauji mujhe bhaagne dijiye Bauji.
Bauji SF Half Marathon meri zindagi hai.
Bauji mein SF Marathon ke bina zinda nahin reh paungie.
Baujieeeee Pleeeeeeasee … mujhe bhaagne dijiye!
Bauji (after a dramatic pause):
Ja beti ja … SF Half Marathon se better koi marathon nahin hai.
Isse zyada khushi tereko aur koi marathon nahin de sakti.
Ja beti ja … jee le apni zindagi!
A mandolin, taken straight from Jatin-Lalit, starts to play and I run and run and run. I run as if there is no tomorrow, I run as if Gabbar is running behind me and Veeru is saying: “Basanti in kutton ke saamne mat bhaagna“. Poor Basanti! In order to save Veeru’s life she says: “Nahinnnnn mein bhagoongie but … mein 6:02 AM wali wave mein bhagoongie!”
Present Day Basanti is settled in San Francisco and she drives a Beetle now.
Well, on race day the clock strikes 6:02 AM and Basanti begins to walk, march and then gradually begins to run. Basanti is thinking that by this morning around 10, she will be the first one in her family to be a half marathoner. This thought makes her happy. She continues to runs through Embarcadero. She is worried about Veeru but soon she forgets everything and becomes like Wordsworth, a nature lover. She loves the early hues in the sky. Looking at the calm water of the bay, her mind calms down, she fixes her pace and stops panicking.
She glides through at a pace of 12 minutes 47 seconds per mile across all piers on the Embarcadero. She runs with her saheliyan but after a while she moves ahead (she has to save Veeru’s life after all). She sees all those places where she sang songs with Veeru like Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, the Burger King where they shared their first french fries, the rain forest cafe where Veeru took her for dinner one evening and the spy shop which Veeru always liked to visit while she had sweets at the Chocolate shop. She is sad without Veeru and so the urge to be with Veeru makes her run faster.
She gets her first shot of energy just before climbing the Fort Mason Hill. She remembers this hill. She had trained with her masti ki pathhshala (Asha) here. She takes a shot of Cytomax and starts running and walking up the hill. She meets Ardha Shikshak (Assistant Coach) Srini who smiles past and says: “Good job Basanti”
She gets a newer level of energy as she runs through the beautiful Marina just before Crissy Fields. The greenery in these fields reminds her of her Sarson ka Khet song, Waka Waka sung by Behan Su Shri Shakira. She has seen this route before and now feels a little nostalgic. The beautiful Golden Gate now beckons her.
Her pace is set and her legs have attained momentum. To give her a new burst of energy are her saheliyan. They are all shouting “Bhaag Basanti bhaag“. Basanti feels happy to see them and slows down to enjoy with them but what is this that she sees next. She sees Don Mahesh Palekar shouting “Don ke dushman ka sirf ek hi kasoor hai, ki woh Maharashtra se nahin hai!!!” (Jai Maharashtra Mahesh :))
Now is the tough part for Basanti. She has to climb the hill to the Golden Gate Bridge. Gabbar said she will see Veeru and Jai there. She runs as fast as she can. She realizes she has to walk for sometime as the climb to the puliya is hard. So she walks and runs and walks and runs until she finds Jai and Veeru. Here she hugs Veeru and high fives Jai and Mrs. Jai (Saumil and Aish) and starts again. Veeru promises to meet her at the same point on her return journey from the bridge
Basanti runs on the bridge. Initially she is excited but the 4 miles on the bridge can be treacherous. Although not as much as the rolling hills which she encountered during her path to the Golden Gate Park. Those rolling hills seemed never-ending.
Her return journey is nice and happy as Veeru finds his way out of Gabbar’s hands and runs with her the last 4 miles. They have to get out of the Gabbar ka ilaaka (rolling hills) and be in the Sunhera Darwaze Wala Khet. So they run together now. Basanti is tired though but Veeru is her strength and he drags her to the Khet. They have to go about 0.3 miles inside the khet too. Basanti wants to walk now but soon she sees her Ardh Shikshak Bharath. He is shouting out too “Bhaag Basanti bhaag…very little is left now”.
Kehte hain ki agar kisi cheez ko poori shiddat se chaaho, to puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai. In Basanti’s case, Parag, Shailesh, Deeksha, Aish, Surabhi, Asim, Saumil, Shradha, Ramesh, Manu, Reena, Gauraw and above all Priyanshi helped her reach the finish line.
Mein Atashi Basanti Simran Jain Deshwal, aur yeh meri kahani hai