Monday, January 11, 2010

Motor Cycle Diaries

( This post is a way to Thank some great people and dedicated in no particular order to - Nit, Adda, Ak, Amalu, Biju, Albert , the Friend mentioned below, Mada, Binu, Neha & Undappan )

Everything was going fine until his friend said : "My office cab is only at 11 pm and i will reach very late by then...to take a bus now would mean i will have to walk alone on the streets..."

As chain snatching by bike borne youths was rampant , he offered to catch a bus and meet her mid way at the bus stand and escort her to her home.He was glad that buses still ran this late and he could help her out.But while escorting her to her home a silent thought troubled him...what if next time the bus service is not there...what would he do...there was only one way out... and he had known that fact for a long time now but never faced it...



His earliest memory of trying a hand at cycling was when he was in the 3rd standard and it was of going down a slope, only to lie at the bottom in a heap...that was the end of cycling as the thought of taking a risk and being ridiculed again put a damper to his spirits.High school was walkable from home so he never 'needed' to ride...

As years went by, the fear of trying a hand at cycling at an older age stopped any momentary wishful thoughts of cycling that dared to come up.While friends rode on cycles he didn't feel missing out on anything...he had given up hope and resolved to be four wheel driver for life ; albeit when he got the car that is ;-)

4 days to be on Road :

In College, his friends pushed him into giving cycling another try...and in 2 days he was cycling on an open ground...confidence and friend's motivation brought him to the next stage : Cycling on the open Road. As expected, within 5 minutes on the road, he banged into a kid walking by...the kid was sore but by Gods grace nothing was broken, so he and his 'personnel escort service' (comprising of 2 guys on cycles in the front and two guys on cycles at the back) moved on...Since the winding mountain roads of Munnar were dangerous, the strategy was if any big vehicle came from the front or back the respective escort team of two would shout out to him...it was a peculiar site for onlookers who didn't get fully get what was happening seeing 5 guys cycle in military formation...

In total he rode the cycle for around 4 days but the next stage of progressing to bikes didn't materialize...his college being on a hill station made parents reluctant to get him a bike...so again riding took a back seat and confidence dropped back to being low...

Kinetic : Open ground -> Estate Roads -> Hill Stations National Highway

When all hopes of progressing to a bike were lost, out of the blue, a dare devil friend of his accepted to sit behind him on a kinetic honda...so with the 4 days of cycling few months back still fresh in memory, he gave it a try...and found it more easier that cycling ! Seeing that he was getting his confidence his friend urged him to take the kinetic out of the open ground and through the small tea estate roads where traffic was almost nil.They reached the main road connecting the hill station some 20 kms below and his friend urged him to move on.Driving on empty roads was one thing but the mountain national highway was a different ball game. Also it had started to rain by then but the thrill was too much to give up now...So he continued to drive to the town below. Barely 3 kms from the town, he rammed the kinetic on a boulder and both of them fell...his friend jumped up, put up a brave face and told him that if he stopped now, he will never lose the fear...so they rode on.

When they reached the town, his friend who wanted him to start driving solo, got down and told something about a pending errant and left hastily...Now it dawned to him that he had to drive the kinetic solo...this brought up the memories of the kid he rammed and of the numerous 'final destination' kind of accident scenarios in his mind...at last he drove the 2 kms alone and reached his room being wet,tired,shaken but feeling on top of the world...his room mates didn't believe that he rode all the way from the top for such a long distance and they actually came out in the rain and made him ride in front of them to make sure he wasn't lying. It was one time when he didn't mind going back into the rain and he proudly gave a demo ride for his friends...

Mattupetty Trip

Within 2 days of handling the kinetic, confidence and adrenaline based bravado made him take the kinetic from Munnar to Mattupetty dam...On the way, seeing his swaying style of driving, a loaded truck actually stopped on the side and let him pass through thinking that he was a drunkard on wheels while actually he was trying to keep the bike in a straight line !
Even now that day sends shivers down his spine and he never forgets to thank God for bringing him back in one piece through the 30 odd km journey through the winding mountain roads of Munnar.

Free License

When we went for the license test he got cold feet as he knew that he couldn't take the mandatory '8' with the bike so he actually had to give it in writing to the authorities that although he applied for two wheeler license, he did not want it and to grant him only the 4 wheel license, the test for which he passed. Lady luck loved him so much that in spite of all this, the dept goofed up and gave him the two wheeler license as if urging him to get on a bike asap !

Chennai - Own wheels at last

A job in Chennai followed and office being nearby gave riding a back seat...One day he and another friend who needed to learn riding bought a old kinetic honda for 3 grand, did all the repairs and then forgot about it ! It stood safely in the garage gathering dust...


And then the phone call happened...



He knew that it was odd to ask for help to learn to ride again at this age , but then as the adage goes 'Better late than never', he asked his roommate to help him out. The roomie used to go for badminton practice every day at 5 am and told him to come along...His friend would drive him to a 5km long road which was still not fully open for traffic where he would practice...the freshly built 50 foot wide road with hardly any traffic was like a dream runway and he quickly got back to riding with confidence. Then he started riding the kinetic at 5 am on the by-lanes near his flat and then slowly started to ride during day time. His arch nemesis , came back in the form of a cycle born kid who rammed into his kinetic one day but luckily nothing was broken except the front indicators.

Since the kinetic didn't have any RC book or insurance, the next step of driving it through traffic didn't work out...The rampant police checking in his locality to catch bike born chain snatchers only made matters worse so the riding was done in near by areas only...

An old rusty motorcycle of a friends was the next step...his friend told that there was nothing wrong with the bike except that its brake was almost nil and it had no horn ! Excellent choice for a learner was their opinion. Good sense prevailed and he got the brakes corrected and followed up with a week of lessons near a railway station.

One day while riding near a deserted road near a railway station at night, he switched on the headlights, put the bike in 4th gear and raced like hell...

It was a moment worth all the effort till now.




His only wish is to spread the word that its never too late to try your hand at your dreams as you have 100% chance of missing the shots you don't take. So got out and Face your Fears !

And as for him, he has miles to go before he sleeps....miles to go....

4 comments:

nithyanand said...

CHEERS!!!!!!!

Anish said...

'Better late than never'.....Coool!!!!

Supi said...

I just loved the ending... The photo at the end's like a cherry on top of that. Cheers, Buddy!!

Binu said...

Ceasing part was excellent, felt like putting ma hand together. KUDOS Manukal!