Culture · India · Letters · World

Dear Bikes,

From Mumbai to Pune
Royal Enfield

There are times when we feel insane. Feel the verb and adjectives pasted on us and translate them to who we are. What makes our intransigence direct us to the right decision? I first rode you when I was little girl.  My father had got his friends bike and took me for a ride. It was not just a ride, it was what defined the true nature of being a bird. Paragliding will not let you become a bird, nor will sailing in the air. Want to fly like a bird?  Get a bike.

The Office

There was a time when going to office was not only stressful but also prosaic. I met a guy who travelled by bike every day. I thought ‘why not?’ Sure my skin will get charred and it will be way too hot. But I will cut the traffic and can leave late. So we both travelled on his bike with me as the pillion rider. The adrenalin rush everyday made me work better and my body was ticking better. We discovered Mumbai like never before. One night when we were coming back from office and we were jamming ideas, stories and entrepreneurship. Suddenly there was a huge oil slick and the bike skid. The bike almost rammed on a divider and we so a huge truck coming at us. Flash of second: truck passed as we hit the divider, we did not fall and the traffic froze. I caught my breath. My friend asked, “Are you aright?”  Déjà vu: Another bike passed, hit the divider, the rider fell but only with bruises. The traffic was still frozen. People all around us. Did I give up the bike? Hell no! I still don’t know how to ride a bike but I do know to trust the bike. The next day we took our bike and went near the sea. We took a long ride, ate breakfast and reached office 11:15 Am. Our boss asked, “late?” “Traffic boss. We somehow reached.”  “Be careful” , he said. When has careful given us what we want? Adrenalin rush again to move forward.  A rush to get past that truck and halt and see others crashing. Then do it all over again, on another road.

The Mountain

I was in Pune and with a friend we had planned to visit a place called Lavasa. It was a three hour long ride. My friend asked me to brace up and he sped with all his might. While we went up the mountain, the Avenger chain broke. We were thrown off. When I recovered my consciousness I saw myself lying on the grass. My friend was unhurt and I had sprained my ankle. For a moment I did not know if I was on earth. There was no mountain or sky, just clouds rolling around us. We sat and drank tea in the rain. As the rain dropped on my tea, we saw hide and seek being played by the mountains and the clouds. The wild flowers on the grass looked fresh, the rocks looked clean and the thunder sounded like my calling.  We decided to head home. My friend somehow got things together and we hit the road without the bike actually working. We just went downhill and let gravity take us. Yeah gravity. Seldom do we realize the gravity around us. We realize gravity of things but not gravity itself. No humming of engine and incidentally there were no cars. Just fog and the muscular body under me. I knew this was the moment. Like some sort of vague reality we passed by lakes, trees, clouds and away from sanity, balancing on a broken chain.  All of us co-creating a world good enough to relive. In another life. Like the ad in Bajaj Avenger said – I feel like God


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