I have been worried a long time about a huge disconnect; God’s Own Country is not what the phrase evokes. Burning of swept debris containing even plastic was one worry. In 2008 I asked how I could be part of the solution. It dawned on me that I could do an awareness campaign by running a very long distance, perhaps spanning the entire length of the state. It would be also the first run spanning the length of Kerala by anyone.
Being one who adores Adisankara, I chose the run to go up to the great Mookambika Temple associated with his name in Kolloor, Karnataka. And wanting to making it 1000 kms I began my run from Kanyakumari. It was the 3rd of November, 2008, a few weeks shy of my 62nd birthday.
Each morning I would continuously run at least a half-marathon (21+kms) and in the afternoons give a maths class to a high school or college audience. In the evening I would write about the day’s run, the sights, and the events. The daily journals became a chronicle of the run. The title, Against Din and Danger, reflected the pandemonimum of the Kerala roads I had to wend my way through. The journal is written in both English and Malayalam.
When I showed the manuscript to His Holiness Mar Chrysostom in January 2017, he stressed to me that this is a historic record for the state, being the information on the first run through the entire length of Kerala and beyond. Then in 2018, the great flood brought much destruction. Again I decided to be part of the solution. I announced to the government of Kerala that I would be doing another run, at my expense, over the entire length of Kerala with the purpose of encouraging Malayalees abroad to contribute directly to the Chief Minister’s Flood Relief Fund. I began that run, now 10 years after the first run, with a donation of 20 cents of my roadside land in my village for a library and Anganvadi. The run Started from the Chief Minister’s residence and ended just inside Karnataka. This run also followed the previous daily routine of afternoon maths classes at a highschool or college. Journal of this run is not in the book. Instead, a number of photos and a list of recommendations A-Z for making the moniker, God’s Own Country, appropriate for Kerala are included.
The first run had an immediate effect. Beginning with the district of Kozhikode where I had given the largest press conference during the run, plastic bags began to be banned. The second run raised some funds from NRI’s as the photos of the run circulated through social media. The overarching theme of both runs is “Desire the Welfare of Others.”
The book is being published through DC Books’ Expressions the self-publishing imprint of DC Books. The book is available online. The links are given below.
DC Bookstore link: