Written by Neha Khandelwal
Early Sunday morning on the 16th of January, 2011 the Mumbai local trains witnessed thousands of people (dressed in their sporty best) commuting to Churchgate station for the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon.
While the sincere runners opt for half or full marathon, dream run is filled with groups – corporates, ngos, etc- each one trying to spread their message. The mood is pretty festive with dhols, music, dancing, slogans, blowing horns and waving banners.
While the corporate biggies got a crowd of hundreds, our MAD herd consisted of 29 people; yet we were very much alive and kicking with our MAD- hatters and shouting in unison – “We are MAD, we are MAD, MAD enough to Make A Difference.” At the podium over the starting line, Viveik Oberoi waved us off. Being further cheered by John Abraham , we started our “Dream Run.” Swaymsidhi NGO walked next to us with their Punjabi dholwallahs and on the beats of their dhols, we danced along with them. Upto almost a kilometre, the crowd moved at a snail’s speed owing to the news reporters and announcement desks calling out the names of the groups and cheering them on. Vidya Balan, who ran for ‘Nanhi Kali’ ran alongside a MAD herdie and asked him – “Oh! You are from MAD!?!” who promptly n proudly responded- “YES!!” Taking a turn for Nariman Point, we passed bands performing right outside “Not just jazz by the bay.” These bands played their original songs along with famous cover songs like “We will rock you” keeping the spirits of the dream runners high and rocked their way ahead. The trail to Nariman Point and to the Marine Drive was covered by media in helicopters and Radio Mirchi had its stalls put up in intervals where it entertained the crowd passing it and the ones who’d get tired and stand there… ;) Merrily we continued our dream walk (none of us actually ran!) with sudden shouts of “We are MAD, we are MAD, MAD enough to Make A Difference” capturing attention of ones around us and of the crowd lined up right along the running track. We met the dholwallahs yet again at the last stop of Radio Mirchi before the finish line of Azad Maidan and danced like crazy and an over-joyous Radio Mirchi guy joined us.