Monday, July 30, 2012

Is 13 A Lucky Number ?

Many believe that 13 is an unlucky number. Horrible things have happened on the 13th. And if it is Friday 13th, then it could be really horrific for those believers. I did a blogpost in 2007 on this subject and I am inclined to do this post on the same subject after five years.

What is the provocation? Yesterday evening when I was having my evening walk on Marine Drive, I looked at Nana Chudasama's one liner on a banner on top of "not just Jazz by the Bay"restaurant. They are always witty and they carry a message. This one was on No 13.  He was referring to our new President Pranab Mukherjee's taking oath of office on 13th July and hoping that it would be a good omen for the country.

No 13 has always been a lucky number for Pranabda as he is called. He was married on 13th July 1957, elected to Lok Sabha on 13th May 2004. his office in Parliament was in Room No 13 and he lived in a house in New Delhi whose address is 13 Talkatora Road. Surely, he will do well.

Balbir Singh,87, who played hockey for India and won the 1948 Olympic gold for his country wore Jersey No 13 throughout his career.With the same jersey number, Balbir Singh played in the 1952 and 1956 Olympics and completed the golden hattrick in field hockey. Not only was 13 his jersey number, his house no was 1534 which adds upto 13, his car number added upto 13, his court case file number added upto 13 and his birthdate also added upto 13. This number 13 was so lucky for him that he restricted the number of chapters in his biography "The Golden Hat Trick" to 13. Didn't  Sikhism founder Guru Nanak kept repeating tera-tera once when he was weighing groceries for a customer. Who says 13 is an unlucky number?

As per Indian mythology and numerology, 13 is a lucky number. The Chinese also consider 13 a lucky number. In Mandarin, digit 1 when it is a ten sounds like "shi" which means definite. And 3 which is "san"means life/living. So the combined meaning is "definitely vibrant" or "assured growth". That should answer nana Chudasama's question. But ask a Westerner or even a Japanese. They would shun anything connected to 13. One man's meat is another man's poison.

Pranabda has proved that 13 is his lucky number. Let us hope that his term is 'vibrant' and that the country has an 'assured growth' and that he has a good run as the President of India.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I heard of marathon running since the time Standard Chartered Bank initiated and sponsored the Mumbai Marathon run many years ago. My son-in-law H runs marathons regularly both in India and abroad. He is a passionate runner. Of course many run the full marathon and some the half-marathon as well and some fall by the wayside. There are many examples of how many individuals have started running at advanced ages. Centenarian Fauja Singh who lives in England is an outstanding person who started running at 86 to get over the depression he was suffering from when his wife passed away. He has been running marathons ever since. There are other examples where middle-aged men with back and leg problems decided to do the marathon and completed it successfully. Courage, determination, endurance grit and risk-taking ability are essential to run the marathon. Marathons apart, running has become a way of life for many who believe that their day is not complete if they have not run at least 5km on that day. Passion many times becomes an obsession.

Recently when I read in the Time magazine about Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek running 165.7 miles in 24 hours, I couldn't believe my eyes. Why would someone run such a long distance? According to Scott Jurek running Ultramarathon is more of a head game. One has to be adaptable; strength to run need not necessarily be genetic. It is very discomfortable but at the end of the day it makes one stronger. He grew up in Northern Minnesota and enjoyed fast food. Now his diet has taken a 360 degree turn. He eats beans, legumes, soy products, plenty of vegetables and fruits. And for proteins tempeh is the king. Ironically, he hated running when he was young and hated vegetables too. Today running ultramarathons in his first love and he is a vegan. Scott thinks running marathons is cool. His favourite place to run is in the Swiss Alps, near Chamonix, France. He has written a best seller Eat & Run. Scott Jurek is a superhuman man with extraordinary capabilities.