Monday, February 2, 2015

The Bicycle Diaries

All my life, as far as I can remember, I have lived away from my hometown. I studied in a residential school, stayed in a different city during my graduation and now I am working in Bangalore. I had been to my hometown to spend a long weekend. It was around 5 in the evening while I was making my way towards home after getting some groceries from a shop in the city. My home is quite far (almost 2Kms) from the city center and this serves to be a fine reason to take a long walk. The weather was gloomy and showed great chances of heavy rains. My neighbor's kid was riding his bicycle back home after a tiring day at school. 
He looked at me, "ಅಣ್ಣಾ ಸಿಟಿಗ್ ಹೋಗಿದ್ಯಾ ?"
I replied, "ಹೌದು ಕಣೋ ... ಸ್ಕೂಲ್ ಮುಗಿತಾ?"
"ಮುಗಿತು.... ಸೈಕಲ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೂತ್ಕೊ , ಡಬಲ್ ಓಡುಸ್ತಿನಿ", he stopped his cycle and offered 
me a ride.
"ಅವೆಲ್ಲಾ  ಬೇಡ.... ನಾನೇ ಓಡುಸ್ತಿನಿ ನಿನಿಗ್  ಆಗಲ್ಲ"
"ಓಹ್ ! ಚಾಲೆಂಜಾ ?? ನೀನ್ ಸುಮ್ನೆ ಕೋತ್ಕೊಳಣ್ಣಾ"
"ಆಯ್ತು ಸಮಾಧಾನ... ನಾನ್ ಸೈಕಲ್ ಓಡ್ಸಿ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ದಿನಾ ಆಯ್ತಲ್ಲಾ ಅದುಕ್ಕೆ ಹಂಗಂದೆ", You never mess with kids.
"ಹಂಗಾ!! ಆಯ್ತು ನೀನೆ ಓಡ್ಸು", He agreed.

I proudly rode the bicycle with ultimate joy. No matter how attracted you are towards cars and motorbikes, but nothing can beat a classy bicycle.I got nostalgic and my childhood memories kept flashing in front of me.

It was during my summer vacation after successfully completing my 4th standard, I had been to my grand parents's home. Villages provide ample opportunities for kids to explore and enjoy. My cousins added fun to the holidays. 7PM marked the evening news on radio and an untold pin-drop silence. After a quiet news-session we were all discussing random things. During dinner all focus shifted on me and they started this unending talk on "Harish doesn't even know how to ride bicycles". Unlike urban families who want their kids to speak english, play chess and stay back at home, we were growing up in quite a different set up. They were not worried about the bruises but my inability to ride a bicycle even when I was 10 years old.
"I won't learn bicycle. Big deal ! I mean, what's the use?? I'll get a car for myself ", I argued.

5th Standard classes started and I came back to my hometown. Few of my friends used to bring their bicycles for school and used to go on long rides during weekends. Somewhere deep inside there started a desire to learn bicycle-riding. One fine Saturday evening, I decided to learn riding a cycle. We had a classy Atlas cycle at home (Geared cycles hadn't even entered the small cities that time). I took my cycle to the nearest ground and avoided all my friends: I didn't want them make fun of me. I found a steep slope and started my practice. Each time I ran the cycle from the top, I would fall and add one more injury to the count. This happened for the next 2 days. One of the worst part was, I was short and the seat-height was non-adjustable. So I took the tricky way of riding.I am not sure how they term that technique of riding a cycle: you take your right leg between the bars and peddle to ride. It really looks funny now but I had no option left, at that time. I kept failing in every attempt and learnt something new and tried again. My inner voice told me "Don't-give-up" and I kept on trying. After several tries, I was able to ride the cycle on the fourth day (or may be fifth day). It was such a nice feeling that I can't express in words. That day, I had announced my feat to my family, friends and everyone that I met (Thank God, Facebook didn't exist those days else I would have updated a lengthy status with my bicycle-riding pictures).

In the coming days I started hiring cycles and it cost us 1Rs/Hour (I know that's very cheap). I was getting better day by day. We, me and my friends, used to go on long rides during holidays. Ayudh Puja marked an untold competition to decorate our cycle with balloons and weird props. Whether it's going to a shop next to my home or to reach playgrounds, cycle was my (mandatory) companion. The relationship between me and my bicycle had grown strong. But I had to shift to a residential school for my education and I had no opportunity to ride these bicycles. Nevertheless, I still have a liking for bicycles and never miss out on an chance to ride cycles. Well, today I rarely get to ride bicycles but I still rejoice those moments a lot.

"ಅಣ್ಣಾ, ಇಲ್ಲೇ ನಿಲ್ಸು ... ಮನೆ ಬಂತು", He stopped me in front of his home.

P.S. Cycling is more like poetry in motion. The pleasure in riding the bicycles, over-taking a bike/car, double/triple riding, wheeling, travelling alone on a deserted peaceful road is something every bicycle-rider relishes. Today, we have sophisticated cycles which are so convenient to ride: a single push on a peddle and your cover long distance. This world is now filled with too many automobiles with advance technology (and with unbelievable price-tags attached). Regardless of the features in modern-day automobiles, I would always opt for a classy old-fashioned Atlas/Hercules.

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  1. I wish "Being harish" would be an weekly or fortnightly one rather than a monthly one......

    1. Thanks a lot. That was a huge compliment !

  2. I share the same kind of memories with my cycle.
    My childhood's best memories are attached with it :)
    Thanks for the post !

    PS : I still have it ;)

  3. ನೀವು more often ಬರೆಯಬೇಕು 👌

    1. Thanks a lot, Aiysha !
      You write in Kannada as well !! *surprised*

    2. ಹುಟ್ಟಿದ್ದು ಬೆಳೆದಿದ್ದು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ