As I sit in an auto, the driver asks me if I am a journalist. The question at first amuses me as I am not even wearing my ID card. It is then I notice the man seems to be sophisticated and soft spoken. "Njan kure journalists inne kandittund (I have seen many journalists)", he says.
Curious, I give my ears to his rather extraordinary story.
The story of RS Vinod began when he won a prize in the sub-district 100 metres competition. There was no looking back for him since that day.
He continued running, pursuing his passion, his love.
From 1993 to 1996, he won many medals at the State level. The highlight was his record-breaking gold medal win in 1994 at Junior level in 1500 metres clocking 4 minutes 10 seconds.
In 1996, Vinod came second in all-Indian marathon.
"My family was my big support," says Vinod, who lives at Bhasi Nagar, Ulloor. But their enthusiasm waned once he lost his job.
Never to be let down by setbacks, Vinod, 32, believes that one must use fame and talent for the good of others.
In 2005, Vinod ran from Attukal Devi Temple to Kottarakara Ganapati Kshetram to support Kerala's claim to host the National Games. In 2006, he ran 120kms to Sabrimala with the aim of increasing sports quota in government services.
Along with his two friends, Neyattinkara Bahuleyan and Chella Chandran Jose, Vinod conducted a long run from Trivandrum to Alapuzha to collect money for cancer patients. It took them seven days starting from March 22. In the presence of D Mohanan, president, District State Sports Council, the amount of money raised was given to two cancer affected children, Ashley John from Kottayam and Abhishekh from Kannur.
Sabu John, Ashley's father, says: "Vinod was very enthusiastic about the venture and he provided full support and the money he arranged has helped me treat my kid who is a cancer patient."
Vinod is planning to conduct a 'run' in districts like Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Kannur, Thrissur and Kasargod later this month.
For some, he maybe just another auto driver. But Vinod surely is a hero. Unsung though.