WoW – Write on Wednesdays #8 – Connections

This week’s Write on Wednesday prompt was to write a story on connections. You can check out Julie’s site here, to know more.

The Prompt: Write a story about connections

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I’m what you call a fake social person. I can talk to anyone in a crowd, but rather not. I can make friends easily, but will never let people be my friend in return. I can listen to people talk, but won’t divulge much of myself to them. I am one of those people who is similar to a chameleon, not in a bad way, but in a way that makes me a fake. I turn into whoever the other person wants me to be, which is why it is so easy for me to make friends. But in reality, all I want to do is be alone, not talk to anyone mostly because I don’t know who the real me is.

In the last few months however, I saw a change come over me. I started finding hard to pretend now. I didn’t want to go to any social events and talk to people and be interesting and entertaining to others anymore. I didn’t want to be fake and popular and friendless. I just wanted to be alone with my books, and maybe with some television shows once in a while. This even started to reflect in everything I did – I preferred to eat alone at work with a book by my side always. I preferred to work in projects without teams. I liked to exercise alone, which meant going on solo runs. I did talk to my family, but those were the perfunctory calls. Not one where I would really talk about my life. I stopped shopping for clothes or going out to eat. I would just order in and prefer to stay at home.

Then one day, I received a message on the society watsapp group from a woman, asking if anyone was interested in joining her for a beginner’s running group. It was free, and all you needed to do was turn up. We would do an easy 3K, and she would guide us how to run easy, do the right posture and how not to be afraid of the street dogs. We would meet at 5:40 am sharp, in front of Mc Donalds. I have no idea what made me do this, because this was completely opposite to what I had been doing these past few months, avoiding people, but I texted her back saying, I’m interested in joining the beginner’s run tomorrow.

The run was on a Saturday morning, and I wasn’t sure I would wake up for it. I had had a heavy dinner and my usual  quota of two drinks as well. But somehow, I woke up before the alarm rang. That was really strange. I woke up, and I got ready, ate half a banana, wore my running shoes, took my phone and earphones and headed out to the dark, pre-sunrise morning, to our meeting location.

There wasn’t anyone there, and it was 5:55 am already. I started to feel nervous and angry at the same time. Should I go back? Should I wait a little longer? I could have just texted the girl, but I hadn’t, thinking it might annoy her. But just as I was about to go back home, I saw some women turn up. I gave them a tentative smile, but didn’t say anything. One of them asked me, “Are you here for the beginner’s running group too?” And I said with relief, “Yes! Thank goodness some more people have turned up, I was beginning to wonder if that was a late April Fool joke“. She laughed and soon all the women had turned up, along with the two mentors for the day. We stretched a little and somehow it felt nice. One of the mentors, Shilpa, gave us a few tips on posture, the distance and the route of the run. She had short cropped hair, was wearing stylish running gear, had a bluetooth headset on and looked completely confident and at ease with herself. I realized, she was being herself, and wasn’t trying to impress anyone, and yet, had somehow managed to impress most of us this morning.

We started our run finally at 6 am, just as the sun was waking up too. It was still dark, but not as dark as it was 20 minutes earlier. Soon, the faster runners went up ahead, while the slower or first timers lagged behind. I was somewhere in the middle, enjoying running alone, like I lately had been doing. And then suddenly. Shilpa was running beside me, and started to give me some feedback on my running posture and encouraged me to keep running at this pace. I wasn’t annoyed at all, in fact, I wanted to run with her. But she already had a running partner and she was an experienced runner too. Just as I was fretting about being left alone, another girl caught up with me and gave me a smile and said with a panting voice, “Gosh this is hard, but so much fun!”. I grinned back at her and we automatically fell into a rhythm and started running together. We didn’t talk, and I realized, we didn’t need to talk and it wasn’t awkward at all. And yet, it was comforting somehow. Knowing that someone like me was running beside me.

I surprised myself by running the entire 3K, and not stopping or walking the entire way. I hadn’t done this before in all my solo runs and used to always end up walking in between or taking a break to catch my breath. But this morning was different. One by one, all the women were back and we took some time to stretch and get some feedback. Shilpa, applauded us all for our first time effort, but encouraged us to keep at it. Then Shilpa and Ruchi talked about their own experiences from a year back when they had started as beginners, and how being a part of a group and finding a running buddy made them love this sport. And how they were now running half marathons with ease, but always needed each other to keep the pace and keep pushing each other to run just another 500m. I smiled at this story. Somehow, I felt at peace at that particular moment. For the first time in my life, I was listening to women and not pretending to be someone else. For the first time in my life since many months, I wanted to be a part of a group. A part of this group of inspiring women, who took out the time to run early on a Saturday morning, despite their busy schedules. We took pictures and exchanged numbers and I tried to coordinate with Dipti, the girl who ran with me this morning, to see if we could continue these runs ourselves.

We talked a little more. It was 7:15 am and the sun had woken up completely now. I walked back up home, with a smile and thought to myself, thank you for saying yes.

Try and say yes today to someone or something you wouldn’t normally do or say yes to. See what connections that brings into your life. And let me know if it ended up brightening you day or inspiring you, the way it did for me today.

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