Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bombay Hash Hound Harriers

I first heard about Hashing from Nat Cook back when I was nineteen and in Anchorage at home for the summer from my first year in college. It sounded like a running scavenger hunt with all sorts of crazy characters and ended up with a reward of drinking your socks off.

When I arrived in Mumbai, my bible for the first week was a book called "Namaskar Mumbai." It had loads of resources about Mumbai. Under the section of recreation, I ran across the Hash Hound Harriers. I have to try this! I told Greg about it, though he was open to it, I don't think he realized how up his alley this group was going to be. After missing several invites to hashes, this weeks hash started two blocks from our flat. I told Greg I was going to fulfill my curiosity and would love it if he joined. Greg ran 14 miles Sunday morning for his long training run for the Mumbai Marathon. He wasn't sure about running again. I assured him that a lot of people walk and that he would get a couple beers at the end. Five minutes before I left, he decided to join. We walked over to the Pebble Bay Cafe and Bar, which we had never heard of before. It was this upscale place tucked away near an intersection of six different roads. Needless to say, it was crazy just crossing all those busy roads to get to the place, but we made it without any mishaps. There were a few guys hanging out front in t-shirts and shorts, so we introduced ourselves. As more people arrived, it became apparent how much hashing is a way of life. Everyone had t-shirts from different hashing events, trips to the hill stations on the weekends were for hashing, and there were tales told of national, regional, and international events. Wow! I tried to find out a bit more of what we were in for, but no one was giving up specific information.

Once everyone was there, a bugle was sounded and a guy in an orange shirt, one of the "hares," let us know that the other "hare" would meet us at the train station for tickets for the skywalk. Cockney Wanker (once you've been hashing long enough, you are given a hash name) made sure we knew to look for the red electrical tape, always on the left, which marked our route. Then away we went. We followed the crowd to the train station and waited for our tickets (no one was happy about waiting and made sure the hare knew this). Then we headed off. Greg and I were up front with three other hashers. We ran on the skyway that made its way above some slums over to the entrance of the area where ASB is located. We ended up in front with another new hasher, this was his second hash. At one point we lost the trail for a bit, so we turned around and found our way again. Lesson one, be up front at your own risk. We reached a point where one of the hares was located and we were told to run back to the last hare we saw. What?! so we turned around, giving the news to other hashers. The hare was walking the route, so we didn't have to go all the way back to the beginning. Then we were told to turn around again and go back. (later we learned that this goes against a rule of setting the trail. "You can never go back over the same trail." when this was announced, Greg gleefully yelled, I went over my trail twice! Give them two cups of ice! The hares were being punished with ice down their pants). The trail ended up back on the skywalk. At this point, Greg was really tired so the three of us walked the rest of the way back. We found out that just the first five were turned around.

Back at the restaurant, we were greeted buy three guys who were drinking at the bar and who we never saw after the train station. They had totally cheated and two of them were outted for this later. I think there ended up being a handful that had cheated. We had some beer and socialized until everyone was back. Then the end of hash rituals began. The hares were punished, Greg and I were recognized and teased as newcomers, the cheaters were pointed at, the next hash was announced, and we closed with a vulgar rendition of "swing low, sweet chariot." We had a lot of fun and though we won't be around for the Halloween Hash, we hope to join again in November. There will be an urban hash and then a country hash each month. It would be great to run outside of the polluted city. "On On!"


  1. wow, i had to read all about this on wikipedia...what a blast! Love the reasons why this started: to get over hangovers. hahah

    Love the stories. Hope you both are well. You are very missed but your life sounds splendidly adventurous!!! On! on!

  2. This is really damn funny! Love reading the posts. Miss u guys.Krissy