Where do we live ??

January 30, 2009


The line “Where do we live ?” is a quote that comes in a James Patterson novel. What intrigued me the most and the reason the quote has stayed in my mind long after I finished the book is the answer – ” In your head”. I read and reread the quote and couldn’t help but admire the simple eloquence. I realised the truth of this statement even at that point and subsequent events have only reiterated the power of this statement.

In one of my posts, I have admitted my passion for running and something that happened to me when I was road running in Goa and the subsequent conditioning of my thoughts that made me realise the truth of this statement very clearly and without any ambiguity. The last time around that I was in Goa, I was keen not to miss out on my running which I otherwise do on the treadmill at home. I was also keen to do the round around the lake that overlooks Arco. Arco is located on one of the lake banks. However, the road that one needs to take to do the run is a lot longer and does not follow the contours of the lake completely. Actually but for about one km or so, the rest of the route meanders into the village church road, state highway etc and comes back to the lake bank very close to Arco. The whole distance is around 2.3 odd kms with about 0.5 kms around the lake. It is a very scenic route and you pass the local chapel, quaint old homes and miscellaneous shops. The traffic on the road is next to nothing. I did the rounds a couple of times and I developed my own milestones along the 2.3 km route.

The starting point obviously was the Arco main gate. Then I do about 0.5 kms and I lose the view of the lake. Another 200 metres and I get to the local school (this is the point where I hit the state highway). Another 100 metres and I am in front of the local chapel. Depending on the time of the day, I also get to see a few road hawkers peddling their wares. Then there is a lonely stretch of sorts which has a slight gradient. At some points along this stretch, to my left, I can catch glimpses of the lake. By the time I come to the end of this stretch, I would have completed approximately 1.7 kms of the 2.3 kms round. Here I take a left and get onto the road which will finally take me back to Arco as well the stretch of road along the lake bank (or should it be lake shore). This stretch has a fair number of small village houses, old deserted (they looked that way to me) Portuguese style homes a couple of small hole in the wall shops etc. But most critically for me is that fact that at around 2.10 kms I hit Carvalho’s Nest (refer one of my earlier posts which my ode to this cute little watering hole). Once I get Carvalho’s Nest in my sight, I know that Arco is only about 200 metres away. The couple of times that I did this route, I did 2 laps which translates to around 4.6 kms of running.

Now, coming to the whole point of this post, after I came back to Goa, this route has stuck in my mind and subconsciously each time I hit the treadmill it plays out in my mind. One of the drawbacks of treadmill running is the monotony of the whole thing. The landscape, the environment, the weather, etc remain the same and you have nothing much to egg you on other than the odometer and the timer. But after my road running in Goa, I tend to kind of keep track of the distance covered more in terms of the earlier mentioned milestones and landmarks along the Arco route. I keep telling myself, for instance, that I am 200 metres from the chapel, 100 metres from the school and, most frequently, that I am so much away from Carvalho’s. So each time I hit the treadmill, I am reliving the Goa road route around Arco. And the real revelation for me has been the fact that all this happens very subconsciously and I need to actually need to consciously pull myself back to reality. I need no further reaffirmation of the fact that one does indeed live in one’s head. I have read Hayden and Dravid talk about the powers of visualisation. I guess this is the closest that I will come to in terms of experiencing what they feel when they relive a perfectly executed cover drive or a brutal pull to mid wicket to chivvy them up before a match or whilst trying to overcome a difficult patch. How wonderful would it be if I had other experiences in my head to help me get through the myriad other daily routines that I go through, especially at work !!. Even more relevant for me to be able to do this is to have a bank of positive, uplifting memories that you can fall back during times of strife and despondence. Like most things in my life, easier said than done.

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