The Mumbai Marathon on Sunday was flooded with social messages from prevention of child sexual abuse to keeping the city clean. Demonstrating their strength, confidence and determination, a few physically-challenged participants completed half marathon taking many by surprise.
Without daily practice, Amarjeet Chawla, 63, from Kandivali, who is visually-challenged, completed his 101st half marathon with the help of his escort, Rahul Brahme. With the message “if I can, why not others’’, the marathoner was very happy at his achievement.
“I feel great after completing my 101st half marathon. The only challenge was the humid weather,’’ Chawla, an insurance agent, said.
As getting help for practice every time is difficult, Chawla prefers working out at home and doing Pranayam to gain stamina. He suggested that the organisers should help in providing some facilities like escorts, concession in entry fees to encourage more people like him.
‘Warriors’ of NGO Arpan spread the message on preventing child sexual abuse
Spreading the message of preventing child sex abuse, about 20 ‘warriors’ from NGO Arpan participated in the marathon. “Together we can. Together we will make the change and create a world free from child sexual abuse,’’ said one of the volunteers. They were carrying placards, which read, “When a child speaks listen and believe. If you don’t, then the child will never tell again,” to make people aware of the issue.
The BMC workers, who clean the city every day, wanted the marathon participants to know the importance of keeping Mumbai clean. With banners of messages about cleanliness in their hands, the workers standing along the marathon route were appealing to Mumbaikars to keep the city clean. They were also carrying placards asking the citizens to download the Swachchhata App of the BMC.
There were some emotional stories too in the marathon. It was a special event for Shibani Gulati, 39, from Delhi and her brother Varun Malhotra, 35, from Hyderabad. Varun was running for the first time while it was Shibani’s 16th half marathon. Varun at the age of 26 had donated his kidney to Shibani that made their bond even thicker.
“After the kidney transplant in 2010, I slowly started taking part in the marathon that boosted my confidence level. Looking at my fitness, confidence, Varun too decided to participate this time and that made the run special for me,” Shibani said.
Worli residents hold up placards registering their protest against the coastal road
The residents of Worli too had come to the marathon with banners opposing the plan to destroy their promenade to make way for the coastal road. They stood silently asserting their demand about saving the promenade. “The promenade is our lungs, we go there for daily morning and evening walks. We are not against the coastal road, but do not want the promenade destroyed. We have many concerns and issues, but the BMC is not answering our questions. We are very worried about losing our open space. Just by showing a map will not do. The BMC has to show it in the 3D map what exactly it is going to do to the promenade,’’ said Pimmi Seth, one of the residents.
Source: Mumbai Mirror