It started about a month ago with a tiny idea of opposing the genetic modification of crops. The idea came from the trip to Rahuri, a small affected village on the Pune-Mumbai highway. Two members from Hou de Green, the Pune volunteer group, helped out in the protests and got a better insight of the issue which was staring us in the face.

But what could we do? A tiny group of volunteers in a tiny city? Well, we could have an awareness program? Maybe… but we’d done that before, we needed something bigger and better. But what? We could do a flash mob…and? Maybe a marathon? A small one? Yeah! That sounded good. We could get people to do a marathon in support for the cause! So many people do it, for cancer awareness and for charity, so why not for this cause? We’d also increase our volunteer base that way.

24 December 2014
Pune volunteers doing a Dance of the Un-dead

 

So the goal was set! A marathon, but how do we get people to sign up? A pre event? Obviously, but what could we do? A flash mob! We’d decided on that earlier, hadn’t we? So, after hours invested in selecting a song, we finally zeroed down on “Backstreet’s Back.” Choreographing the dance and play took up quite a bit of brainstorming and trial and errors. The theme – what better than zombies? Zombies! That’s what we’d turn into eating GMO constantly. But at the last moment, we didn’t get the zombie masks and we ended up playing what we called the un-dead. Skull masks and an all-black theme did the trick though. Our zombie dance and four minute play paid off quite well. At the end of the day we had about 30 leads! We also earned a few more volunteers through this who proved to be of tremendous help on the 21st December morning, the day of our run.

We still had our unvoiced insecurities and doubts – would people come? Well, it was worth a shot. The worst scenario would be that we end up running our own marathon! What did we have to lose? Budget plans drawn, seniors consulted, volunteers informed and involved! This would turn out to be the biggest volunteer turn up we’ve had till date with 17 volunteers and brimming energy.

24 December 2014
Sheru starts the marathon!

Down this journey there were shortcomings and last moment glitches! We needed to paint posters, our permissions for the run got cancelled. The police noticed that they’d given us and another marathon organiser permission for the same route in the same time frame! On the eve of the marathon. frantic phone calls and tonnes of crossed fingers proved useful and we got our route changed. What kept us all going was the contagious enthusiasm, energy and the mutual goal we shared of taking this plan from paper to people.

 On the 20th, we worked into the chilly night and not having time to think about the next day, there was too much to be done! Finally crashing for a two hour power nap, the next morning we looked ready to take on the world (with ‘Mary had a little lamb’ playing in the background).

And finally, all the compilation, assortation, brain raking payed off! We began at 4 am and worked through four hours of blissful organised plans. The number of people who turned up didn’t matter anymore. What mattered were the ones who did turn up. The experience was one of a kind and our cheery mascot was the icing on the cake: Sheru, the tiger, complete with a not-really-waggy-tail!

24 December 2014
Pune supporters at the end of the marathon!

This was one of the most ambitious projects we’d undertaken, and we pulled through. We made it work, with all the selfies, office dinners, dance moves and giggles we finally had earned ourselves. The day ended with the bananas and biscuits we gobbled after (and with us still smiling over the 5 extra bananas we got for free, courtesy our haggling skills).

This is to all of us, to our journey and to the bonds we built on the way. This was a very short blog to sum up everything learnt, felt and shared down the road we ran, giggling and laughing… and of course selfie clicking!

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