Monday, March 21, 2011

Compassionate Pittsburghers

It's been a great weekend. The weather was just marvelous on Friday, rare occasions when one can sport a T-shirt and enjoy the outdoors. Saturday was nice too, I went out for a longish group run with the AID team, a well spent day. Sunday came and the weather was brilliant again. It would be absolute crime to stay indoors. Basu seemed up for doing something, Aaditya wanted to bike and I couldn't refuse. So the plan was made for Basu and I to go for a long walk. Aaditya would join us on the bike somewhere along the trail.

So Basu and I headed out on our long walk, a distance of around 10K. I had the trail mapped out on my head so I was acting as the default guide. We started from home, walked on the pavements, crossed a few roads, and entered the woods of Frick Park. The park was bare and austere in its beauty as the leaves had not yet returned. One could also make out the topology of the hills, which were otherwise obscured in the summer. It was very liberating to walk on the trails, and Basu headed off for a jog on sections of the trail. Slowly we started veering off the main trails and into less beaten tracks. The occasional jogger/ biker was much rarer to come by. My mind started drifting and I started thinking about how pleasantly surprised I had been to run into Prof Alan Black a few weeks back on these same trails. Really, this section was very desolate and one can feel the thick silence. Occasionally the tweet of a bird would be a welcome distraction.

Finally we reached the Monongahela river, climbed up to the waterfront bridge and started walking over to the other side. The sound of cars and trucks roaring past was in stark contrast to the silence of the trails we had just left behind. Aaditya joined us in the middle of the bridge and we walked over to the other side. We took the bus back from waterfront back to campus and Aaditya put his bike on the bus rack. From campus Aaditya biked back home while Basu and I took the escort. Sometime before we reached home, I got a call from Aaditya. "Help, I'm lying at the intersection of 5th and Shady and severely cramped". That couldn't be good. I promised I would be there in a few minutes. It was quite as he described, he was lying on the pavement with his bike and helmet on his head, unable to move his legs. Basu and I tried helping to get some life back into his legs and helping him stand up. Eventually he managed to get up and hobble back home. What was really nice and heart warming was that upto four cars stopped on this busy intersection, and people got off to ask if we needed any help. Yes, Pittsburghers may appear rough and loud, but they are surely nice at heart.

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