Lalith and veena

Veena Siyal is a homemaker and helps her husband, Lalit Siyal run electrical retail outlets in the city.

If you’re a Cubbon Park regular, you would not have missed this adorable duo. They are running enthusiasts who dress alike every single day! This is their journey…

Veena: “99% of the time we dress alike! We dressed alike by coincidence once and then I persuaded Lalit to continue. Now everyone notices us and we love it! We are traditional Jains from a large family and I am expected to wear a saree and cover my head. In fact, I wear a saree over my running clothes when I leave the house and take it off before I reach Cubbon Park!”

Lalit: “Although Veena was a cyclist and a swimmer in her younger days, I couldn’t take up sports seriously as I was a severe asthmatic. I couldn’t walk without my inhaler. In 2007, we started walking together in Cubbon Park. One day we noticed people running with a paper across their t-shirts and out of curiosity we enquired after them. It was the Sunfeast 10K event and without registering we just joined in. People were perplexed, because we didn’t have our bibs and Veena was dressed in a saree! Needless to say, we ran out of breath in a few 100 meters! We eventually joined the Nike Running Club and started training regularly. I don’t know if running improved my immunity, but I feel so much better now.”

Veena: “We were coaxed into running in Mumbai. I forced Lalit to register us for the full marathon (42.2 Km) because we were travelling all the way. We had no clue what it entailed, but we finished it! We became passionate about running and runners are greedy people. We want to run more, run faster and participate in events. It was difficult to manage the house because our daughters were in college at the time and Lalit’s parents were ill. So we would wake up at 3 am to finish the kitchen chores before heading out. Lalit is the most loving and compassionate person I know. He helps with all the household chores, caring for his aged parents, our daughters and dotes on me all the time!”

Lalit: “Life is about the smaller things.”

Veena: “Our runs are golden to us because we spend time exclusively with each other. In fact, I’m a much slower runner, but he insists on running with me. And Cubbon Park has become our temple. We have met so many people and there’s so much love here. If we miss a day, there are so many people who ask about us. So no matter how late it is or how busy we are, we try to come for a little while at least.”

Lalit: “We have participated in innumerable 10K runs and several half and full marathons. We joined a group called Pacemakers and we have been working on building our strength and endurance. We have qualified as pacers for 10K runs. We love the job because we motivate participants to finish the race and achieve their personal best timings.”

Veena: “Over time we learnt a lot about diet and nutrition for runners. We eat regular homemade food. Breakfast usually consists of upma, poha, dosa or idli. Lunch and dinner is roti, two types of vegetables, curries, dal and vegetable rice. We insist on eating bananas and almonds every day. And we love our tea! But we don’t believe in taking supplements like protein shakes, not even during our runs.”

Lalit: “We exercise because we want to remain healthy for as long as we can. We want to be self-reliant. We want grandchildren and we want to be strong enough to carry them around and play with them. Money is only a medium for happiness, it isn’t happiness in itself. Our advice is that people should make the time for wellness, else they will have to make the time for illness. Start exercising and your diet will follow.”

Veena: “At least walk. Leave your bed and blanket. Weight is secondary. But it will give you good health and immense happiness. It energises you for the whole day. And if you come as a couple, you get quality time with each other.”

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