Monday, 1 December 2014

Memories that no cussing, cursing or bullying will take away!

Trying to keep my blog alive!!

I am a two wheeler rider. By definition, two wheeler riders are a set of people cussed at, cursed and bullied every single second somewhere in the city. Whether they deserve it or not, whether the same can be said about other road users or not, is not the point. This is about me. I am a good citizen who is very clear on the fact that traffic rules are not subjective. I use all modes of transport to commute. I am a pedestrian, use public transport, haggle with the auto drivers and am a passenger in our family car. If there is a pecking order by size, number, sound, emission, you name it - I have been through it all. Darwin is in my memory everyday when I take the bike out to go drop / pick up my younger one to and from school 2.5km.

Not all my bike instances are frustrating or nerve wrecking. Even today, more than 20 years of riding, some bike related memories can make me laugh out loud. I have tried very hard not to punctuate all lines with a smiley.

In school I used to ride with my sister on a TVS 50. The uphill on Mysore Road opposite the satellite bus stop somehow seemed steeper in those days, the TVS would almost grind to a halt and I would get off and start running to the top of the hill while my sister in her well starched and ironed Bengal cotton saree pedalled her way up.

The college section is a treasure trove of memories. It was still a TVS, but a TVS XL this time, another sister was done with it and it was mine. Didn't bother naming it though. For a long time I didn't even know the number plate because I knew where it was parked but friends who needed to borrow it would call me names. I once found green insulation tape, tried making my bike look cool, failed so miserably that I informed everyone that it was done for bike identification purposes. Every time it rained, my bike would protest so I never stopped and kept going, drenched to the bone but many times have pulled over long enough to call my mom from a PCO to ask her to turn on the geyser.

Biker sisters -
Reshma - she knew exactly which Liberty shoe she needed to buy because she needed the extra grip to supplement her Luna brakes. We have bike pooled for years, all the last minute cramming and knowledge exchange on the bike is what helped us get a degree.

Aparna - nevermind the bike she had. If you saw her posture on the bike, you would only think she was in a chariot and she was THE queen.

Aravinda - I tried so much to convert her into a biker ....... till she missed a flag pole and an old lady sitting on the footpath. I was an adrenalin junkie and could keep going but she gave up.

Nandini - forget the speed the bike was moving at, watching Nandu move was the fun part. Nandu and Leena had this thing of embarrassing me, they'd be yodelling on their bike riding alongside mine till I turned off at golf course

Rekha Daga - I could not only hear Rekha's narrations at the back but I could also imagine her gesticulations. Her sister once asked me if I could see the expressions and hand movements behind my back.

Rekha Pillai - I never would think riding a bike was such serious business. We would ask her to relax and give us her brilliant smile.

Georgie - my faithful pillion. It was like my bike had its own juke box when we were on the bike. She would take care of all the swearing and swear words when she was with me.

When I began work, my bike meant much more. It helped me discover the city! Whether it was field work, going to schools or government offices, exploring all roads and figuring out peaceful routes was all me and my bike. I remember road and areas in the city because I have been there on my bike. On foot, crossing roads does stop my heart momentarily, so I do hold the hand of the closest person. To my colleagues it was something they joked about, how someone on a 100cc geared bike rode with confidence and needed a hand to cross roads.

When I set off every morning to drop the little one off and as we start moving I say "hold on tight" he goes "you know she's a little bit dangerous", this makes me grin the most. I am not dangerous, I am a defensive rider but I will stand my ground.

I cannot help the false sense of entitlement motorists may feel on roads, but after seconds of being wronged and losing my temper, I now pick one bike memory, relax and continue about my business on my bike.  

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