January 25, 2010


Running has become comfortably monotonous. My alarm clock is the water boy who arrives with our daily supply of water at 6:30 am. I gratefully enjoy this hour, since I avoid the crowds, traffic, and hasslers--the vendors and their friends who swarm foreigners persistently, trying to make a sale, or simply searching for entertainment. Nevertheless, I often get the comment from boys at sport, "What happened?" the local greeting that jibes, "What are you running from?"

Setting off early brings me the gift of the sunrise, a gorgeous orange sphere that looms just above the horizon brings a glowing light to everything it touches. It breaks the morning mist and brings shine to the dew.  I take the same route every day, to the Maidan, where boys play cricket, runners exercise, people play volleyball, and old people meditate. There is a satisfaction in completing the same loop through the fields, around the Victoria, and back through the fields, and I relish in the only part of my day that has some aspect of consistency. The same dog sits in the same place each morning, as if expecting me to pass as he patrols his territory of the sidewalk. It is always impressive, however, that despite the stink of urine, trash heaps, litter, and air pollution, there is always still room for new beauty. A horse grazes in silhouette beneath the trees, which frame the memorial perfectly. Goats wander in giant herds, freely rubbing themselves against trees and chewing on shrubs, inhabiting the public space as their own. An old man rests contemplating in the relative peace, staring at the sky. Puppies feed from their mother, huddling at her nipples as they take their breakfast. Mothers are busy lighting the fires that both warm their bodies and heat their meals, while their children prance in the dawn,  cradling their siblings, as they rise to the admirable role of parent in a world where love and humanity is hidden only behind the thin layer of grime that covers the bodies of all but does not dirty their spirits.

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