Me: I have biked on a Java and a Yezdi, the cult bikes!
Audience: Don’t joke buddy, you rode it or it rode you!
Audience2: (to Audience1) Simple maga, he would have just sat on it and the wind would have carried him forward (both laughing loud)!
Me (to myself): Wait people, my day will come (and I stamp out of the place)!
Well, this is no fiction but my actual story :) Looking at my physical fit and size, I’ve always been on the receiving end of the taunts and jokes but that never bothered me as I always took it sportingly and with each such incident my resolve to prove them wrong got all the more stronger and stronger in my heart and mind. I still lack the physical strength but lack no dearth of skill or confidence to maneuver any bike I ride.
Dad’s LML scooter was the bike that I grew up with during my school days and he would often let me once in a while to handle it. His policy was simple, first learn to remove the scooter from the stand, push it for a distance and come back and put it back on the stand and then only he would let me ride it. (Scooters didn’t have side stands then and bikes were very few and far).
College days saw me looking with envy at each bike/scooter on the road and secretly wishing I would get a chance to ride it! Brother’s TVS XL was my next buddy for some months and each time I rode it, I would go zip, zap, zoom leaving others dumbfounded and some yelling at me :) Friend’s bikes were my next target and often I would request/plead to get a ride on it and one such bike was the cult bike the Yezdi. I still remember the day I took the Yezdi for a round around my college and I still remember even harder, the few people who were laughing at that. The sound, the power, the ride left me drooling over the bike and that bike left a lasting impression on me that I still remember and thanks to my friend for having confidence in me and letting me ride it :)
Again my brothers’ Samurai (the No problem bike), Victor and the Splendor were often taken away by me for a ride and I would wait for every opportunity to go to the market or the grocery shop just to go on a ride on the bike. Early job days when I used to commute by bus, my colleagues bikes enthused and often I would be riding a Fiero or an Rx or an Caliber whenever I could get an opportunity and sometimes I would create opportunities for such rides!
Finally after a couple of years later, I was a proud owner of the Bajaj Discover bike that fit into my modest budget delivering high performance and being good on my wallet too. I still remember the long rides I have been on it and sometimes those hair raising rushes through blink miss gaps and also those pleasant drives and how to forget those scratches and bruises when you are either knocked off or fall in the stupid of fashions. As years passed by, I always nurtured a zeal for those heavy racing bikes but right on top of the wish list were the cult Harley-Davidson cruiser bikes. Owning one of them is like a dream seeing their prices in India, but I still hope to ride one of them. A couple of rides on my friends Royal Enfield (the Indian Harley Davidson I would say) changed my perception that I did not deemed myself fit to ride a bullet.
A seed with the secret desire to own one such bike took more than an year to germinate and overpower my negative thoughts and after a lot of infighting for months as to buy or not, a final decision was made and I just walked into the showroom and booked a Royal Enfield Thunderbird all for myself (probably one of those situations when I listened to my heart rather than my head that is still busy calculating ways to sort out the finances). After six months of a long tedious wait, finally the day came when the bike became a part of me and my life.
I sat on the bike, turned the ignition to on and as soon as the electric starter was depressed, the RE came into life growling dub…dub…dub…dub that still echoes and I hope it remains the same throughout… It’s often said a bullet is just not a bike; it’s a part of your life and this you would realize only when you own one and importantly ride one :)
Lastly, ride safe and ride with the conscious that there are others riders too and all of you have the right of way! Speed but do not over speed, Speed thrills but Kills!
and this to all those who taunt me:
Kuch Toh Log Kahenge
Logon Ka Kaam Hain Kehna
Chhodo Bekaar Ki Baaton Mein
Kahin Beet Na Jaaye Raina
Kuch Toh Log Kahenge
Logon Ka Kaam Hain Kehna! :)
This post is for a contest 'What Motorcycling means to the Indian Motorcyclist' sponsored by Castrol. You can find their FB page here.