Five Years since India

IMG_0716It is five years this week since I returned from India.  I went back once, to visit Roberta who was teaching at the journalism school, but have not had an opportunity to visit  since 2009.

It has been an eventful five years.   I retired from Ford, my father passed away,  I spent 14 months in China, had cancer, we relocated to New Hampshire, I started a Ph.D, and took a new, full time job in Boston.   Through all this, I have not forgotten or lost a warm and nostalgic feeling for India.  In quiet moments, I still hear the chime of bells from the home next door, signaling the beginning of Hindu evening prayers.  My nostrils recall the pungent combination of odors and fragrances that is so characteristically India.  Occasionally, I eat at an Indian restaurant in Lexington, MA, and can still taste Leila’s fabulous soups and chapati.  When I take in the fall colors of New Hampshire, I also remember the beautiful colors of India, textiles and temples and brightly hued kolam and rangoli in front of doors and entrances.Kuttuvilakku

 But mostly India resides in my heart–in the wonderful people I worked with (and from whom I still hear on occasions of life and work events–keep those emails and FB notes coming!), in the staff that helped me, Marty and Roberta, and especially Dad, and in friends made both Indian and expatriate during my three years in Chennai.  There were, of course, frustrations to living in India, and they were numerous–but as with most memories, time has erased any hard edges and put them in proper, and even amusing,  perspective.

April 2007 205

Much has changed, especially at Ford India, since I was there–tremendous growth and additional sites, and many more people.  I’m glad I could play a part, however small, in laying the foundation for that.  But on balance, I am certain that India has given more to me than I to it.  Perhaps–only the universe knows for sure (: —we are not done with each other and  work or other opportunity will bring another chance to renew acquaintances.  I hope so.

Looking to 2013

2012 has been a good year for me as far as running is concerned.  I consistently improved my times for all race distances, and was fortunate to be introduced to a great running group in Keene that meets on Sunday mornings.   Running with others keeps me on my toes, has helped me step up the pace, and introduced me to some wonderful people and beautiful trails…can’t beat that!  Below is a picture of some of the members taken at the Swanzey Covered Bridges Half in September.

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I set a goal of 1000 miles for the year, and have reached it.   At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I could run without music and headphones, but now I can’t imagine running with them—I enjoy the meditative state that sets in after 10 or 15 minutes.

As the days have grown shorter and it has become more difficult to run outdoors before and after work, I have diversified into spinning a couple of times a week, treadmill (or dreadmill as many call it), an occasional swim (though I really need to get some lessons to become more efficient), and continuing with core fitness work with my trainer at the Y.    My friend Lois from Michigan, who has run over 350 marathons, visited in November and she did the Manchester marathon while I did the half.  She introduced me to a group out of Michigan called Half2run where you run half marathons in half the states in America.  So far I have done six, but all of them have been in New Hampshire or Massachusetts, so next year I definitely need to start to diversify.

I am still working on my schedule for 2013, but so far here is how it is shaping up for the first half of the year:

February 24  Half at Hampton Beach, NH

March 2   Tuscaloosa Half, AL  (with my cousin Millie )

March 16 Holyoke St. Patrick’s 10K (Holyoke, MA)

April 7  Stratton Faxon Danbury Half (Danbury, CT)

June 2     Acadia National Park Half Marathon (Bar Harbor, ME)

July 15    Stowe 8 miler

All in all, I hope to cover six or seven additional states in 2013, so still need to find a few more races, including one in neighboring Vermont.