10.2.2019, a pleasant sunny morning in Chennai. I am usually not an early bird for Sundays. I used to wake up slowly enjoying the steady progress of the day, sipping it to my core. But today, I am not.
How can I? I have booked me and my daughter’s name for kids balloon Marathon, 1-KM run. Actually it’s going to be our first Marathon experience and also the worst.
Exactly at 8:00 AM, we reached the Olcott School, Besant Nagar where the event has been planned to start.
For parking the car, the security has shown us a direction where I was stunned to see an unending series of cars, back to back, like a row of multicolored train coaches, the queue moving slower than a snail. “Whats happening here?” My mom grew restless.
After twenty five mundane minutes of stop- start and restop- restart, we at last have parked our car. By now we knew the reason for parking delay. The parking area was filled with a shallow layer of sea sand. Too many cars plunged their tires in the sand(including mine) causing the delay.
At last, as I climbed out of my car, I strangely felt, half of my energy had already been eaten. But I never want the silly issue(?) to spoil the mood of the hour.
I am going to run Marathon. My daughter is going to run Marathon. ONE KM. How can I allow my dunce head ask such stupid questions-
Why the organizing team can’t even arrange better parking facility for parents?
Why the team has arranged none to help us, as our tires got plunged in the sand?
Panting we rushed to the event ground. Already we are more than half an hour delay. So the trademark pink T-shirt of the event was denied to us. My daughter’s face immediately broke as if I had eaten her store of breakfast.
“No, she has to happy. After all we arrived here only to see a lot of smile in her face.” A voice inside me spoke. I have to divert her somehow.
“Come on Abi, See, the Marathon has started,” I pushed her. But her eyes yearningly peered at every pink T-shirt kids as if her greatest treasure had been stolen.
The event organizer must have guessed us a cattle. Even in the peak hour local commuting trains, I never felt myself so much suffocated. I merely stood in my place, tightly clasping my daughters’ arms. The surrounding crowd effortlessly pushed us out from the ground to the road. Good luck, the road is wide enough. I am at last able to breath.
“But, In which direction am I going to run?” My dull head never bothered asking the question until now. We blindly jogged behind the people ahead of us.
“Which is the exact Marathon path?” I asked a parent running with her six years boy.
“Only those in the front knew the path. Let us follow them,” she replied me and quickly disappeared into the crowd chasing her hasty- naughty son.
There were no arrows anywhere to guide us. To the least, there is not a single person from the organizing team, even at the busy traffic road that we have to cross in order to cover the one KM stretch. At last we returned back to the school. As I stepped back into the arena proudly clasping my daughter’s arms I was shocked to the core. I felt my bones melting. We were caught in the mid of a wild ruckus. Plenty of commotion around.
Over the temporary stage, in the mike, a horde of parents were yelling, “Where is my kid?” On the other side was a group of Kids, crying for their parents. A mother was shouting, “My daughter has sustained a grievous injury, falling on the road. Is there not even a gauze to control her bleed?” She cried.
I tightly clasped my daughter’s arms. Suddenly I felt I am in the unsafest place of the planet.
To the left, I saw the most shocking scene. The parents were pushing and bullying to get certificates(that does not even bore the name of their child) and medals for their kids. There was no one in the issuing counter. The medals were thrown blindly towards the parents as if they were refugees of a relief camp. There was a short tug of war between parents to pull the medals towards them.
“I never need this certificate,” I told myself.
After realized of being utterly cheated, I am now asking these questions to myself-
The organizing team has collected thousands of rupees from each parent and there were thousands of parents assembled here. What happened to the lakhs of money collected?
Why there is not even a basic First-aid Kit for an event, where thousands were expected?
Why there is none in the organizing team to smoothen the 1-KM Marathon stretch?
Where are those intelligent organizers who exploited the love of thousands of parents? The organizers have placed only a few employees before the start of the event. But, before the event ends, even they had vanished.
“What a great fools we are?” Not caring the blazing Sun, me and my daughter scanned the ruckus around.
A group of volunteer parents quickly re-united the lost kids with their parents, announcing incessantly their names in the mike. No need to say again, there is no help from the organizing team.
“What a world we are? Is this new era scam?” Sighing I moved out from the school driving miserably my car through the sandy heap.
“Ma, Is this Marathon?” I could never forget the question, my daughter asked me finally.