October 12, 2014
Last year, an adventurous group of AES teachers participated in a local mud run. I asked if they passed out Z-packs at the end of the race and joked that the free beer should include a shot of hepatitis vaccine. I mean, Delhi is a dirty city in the best of times. We take off our shoes when we come in the house. We rinse off our feet if we step in puddles. Do I really want to intentionally roll around in Delhi mud? Then … an email announcing this year’s event appeared in my mailbox, and this time I couldn’t control my hyperactive FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Before I knew it, I had sent a “reply all” adding my name to the list of participants.
Today was the day. The Devil’s Circuit.
With an eye on the “best costume” prize, our leader and first-grade teacher, Kate, urged us all to dress in school colors or otherwise promote the AES Tigers. She had tiger tails and hats made for us. I wore knee-length yellow and white socks (which were yellow no more within minutes), an AES “Game Day” T-shirt, my tail and tiger hat. Middle school drama teacher Beth brought the face paint and managed to decorate much of our crew despite the bumpy bus ride.
After a very long bus ride, we arrived at Wave City, where the sign reads, “Welcome to the city that thinks for you.” Here’s the scoop from the Wave City website:
Wave City is one of India’s largest Smart Cities, which is spread across an impressive 4500 acres. It is built on the Smart City concept by IBM. World renowned AECOM is its Town planner & Landscape designer. Wave City is constructed keeping in mind contemporary design and new–age architecture. With the luxury of open spaces and modern designs, this city ensures a pampered, secure and luxurious lifestyle. It boasts of more than 750 acres of green spaces, wide roads & congestion-free BRT network for smooth traffic flow, mechanized garbage control systems, fiber optic connectivity for each resident, 24×7 security systems, healthcare provisions including hospitals, medical university, ISKCON Temple, educational institutions, local shopping centers, malls and multiplexes – among many other facilities. It is a city full of vigor and vitality, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy a comfortable, convenient and uncluttered lifestyle.
Ummm… right. We didn’t see much “vigor and vitality.” But there was tilled parched earth as far as the eye could see with an occasional little park and clusters of concrete buildings. Lots of signs promoted communities of the future, such as Greenwood Enclave. It’s hard to imagine any enclave here being green or woody. For some reason, roadblocks prevented our bus from using the marked route to the Devil’s Circuit. We actually went off road, rocking and bumping on a pitted dirt path, to reach the race.
Right off the bat, we slogged through thick slippery mud, climbing over or ducking under hurdles. I skipped quite a few of the obstacles, particularly those that predictably plopped competitors into a mud pit. However, I did conquer a few, including:
* hopping across wooden poles stuck upright in the mud,
* climbing a wall and rappelling down the back,
* scurrying up, over and down a rope spider web arch,
* pulling myself out of a deep pit with mud up to my shins,
* scooting across a beam stretched over a mud pit while holding hands with my friend Beth, who was doing the same on a parallel beam, and
* carrying a sand bag from point A to point B (I dumped out about half the sand … shhh.).
Wow, I’m racking my brain and I can’t think of any more. I started to tackle the monkey bars, but the bars were too big and wet to grip, so I quickly gave up. I managed to stay dry from the knees up until we came to the last obstacle. There we had to lie down face-up in a muddy trench and use the chain link fence covering the opening to pull ourselves through the water to the exit. We emerged completely soaked and muddy. The finish line included a tank of icy cold water. We climbed out, shook our tails for the cameras and then claimed our participation medals. As the only group in costumes, we also won the costume contest!