Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Perfect Day

The monsoon arrived last night.

I don't know if it was the monsoon, but it was a tempest the furosity of which I had yet to witness in India. By 4:00 it was pitch as night. Within minutes, lighting was crashing around the house as though I were sailing in a boat captained by Zeus through the Bermuda Triangle. Seconds later, a wave of water washed away half our drive, and a river a foot deep filled the city streets.

By morning, most of the rain had gone, and I rose at five hoping the rain had brought cooler weather. No such luck. The humidity was suffocating. I decided to run anyway, and stumbled off into the night at a pace that could barely qualify as running. I'd punished my body exactly one week ago today and was not eager to repeat the feat.

A mile in, I already wanted to walk. I don't know how or why I kept going, but I did. When I passed through Bishop's Garden, I spotted a lime green dot in front of me...a fellow runner. I locked onto the target, careful not to increase my pace. I followed--and subsequently passed--her going over the Adyar Bridge and was fortunate to find two more rabbits. I fell into stride with them and let them pull me all the way to Elliot's Beach.

I ran the length of Elliot's Beach, turning around in front of a crowd filing into church. Despite the humidity, the air smelled cleaner. The rain had cleansed the beach of the usual fetid cloud hanging over it. Even the fish stalls smelled better. I headed back, after five and a half miles, though completely drenched in sweat, even my shoes, finally finding my stride.

I crossed the Adyar again. I heard drum beats coming up behind me, and a truck full of youth beat bongos as they passed. It was hard to keep from speeding up. At eight miles, I stopped and walked the rest of the way home. Anything more than that would have been pushing it into the red, a place I decidedly did not want to go this morning. I had a long week ahead of me, and needed to be able to walk.

A new batch of brown ale is on the stove and is in the first 60 minute boil as I write this. Today will be a good day. I may walk to the Sheraton and have a Kingfisher and try to find some food. I may watch cricket or highlights from last night's World Cup matches, including Brazil eeking out a win against Chile in a shoot-out, on the big screen. It will be a good day, but it will hardly be the perfect weekend day as I have come to know them in India, and the fact that this day is so different from most reminded me of the days when Elise would sneak out of the house at 6:00 a.m. to explore the city, camera in hand.

The kids and I would eat breakfast. Maybe we would have doughnuts if I had thought to stop at the shop on the way home from work. (A brief aside: there are not a lot of indulgences in Chennai. In a city has populous has this one, there is one good doughnut shop, one good cupcake shop and one good ice creamery besides Baskin & Robbins. That being said, they are the absolute best doughnuts, cupcakes and ice cream I have ever had in my life. What the city lacks in variety it more than makes up for in quality.)

The kids and I head for the pool and spend many hours splashing in the sun. Upon our return, I make them all chicken noodle soup for lunch, and I have tuckered them out sufficiently for naps. When they zonk out, I jump on the treadmill. When they get up, it's cartoon time, and dinner soon follows. If it is Saturday, Elise and I head out to drinks and dinner. Mani picks us up in his auto and whisks us to one of the city's five-star hotels. We have no qualms ensconcing ourselves in a little swankiness. We've earned it. I may order a manhattan. Elise may order a dirty vodka martini up.

Today is good, but it is far from perfect. 

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