Saturday, November 3, 2007

Motomania


Its 10 p.m. on a Saturday evening and I am back at my preferred Net-surfing destination, the cramped little cyber cafe that is the best of the lot surrounding my house. Here I am writing something for my blog after nearly a month but I really know that this is rather a huge climbdown from what I really want to do right at this moment.
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You see, my house is right in the heart of Central Calcutta, known for its typical narrow cramped lanes and aging houses looming over them keeping them in permanent shadow. Also infamous for a number of things primarily extreme poverty and those universally derided menaces- the motorcycle riders. A minimum of three helmet less heads on each bike, speeding through crowded lanes with maniacal speed, jumping red lights with utter disregard, eve-teasing at the slightest oppurtunity and congregating at every street corner for a 'gang' meeting if one may call it so. Detestable specimens of the human species you would think and 99% of the time I am their most vehement critic.
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But then there are moments like this one today, when I am actually envious of them. I envy them for one, and one reason only! Its for those machines which they ride and bring so sadly into disrepute. Obviously this is not Colaba or Marine Drive in Bombay, so the bikes we are talking are not imported Kawasaki Ninjas or Suzuki Hayabusas. Just plain ol' Indian bikes-the Pulsars, the CBZs and the aged yet magnificent Yamaha RX-100s. Hate them if you want to, but when in the dead of the night, the growl of a speeding bike rips through the silence which engulfs the meandering, interior streets, it really sets my pulse racing.
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A motorbike has always seemed so much more than a machine to me and that love is a special extension of my affection for anything with wheels even a cycle!! When astride a motorbike, especially if a powerful one, every growl of the engine, whether the mutter of impatience at low speeds or the scream of velocity when going top notch carries an intense meaning. The road is an able ally of the bike rider with every smooth bend and curve aiding the amalgamation until it is final and complete. The amalgamation of the bike and its rider such that the bike is the rider and the rider is the bike.
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That is what I really want to do right now. To wait for the signal at Moulali crossing to turn green and slot in that first gear of my blue Pulsar 200, toe up through top gear past the Entally market. The wind blowing into me and the speedo needle rapidly turning clockwise and the yellow street lights of the broad, deserted AJC Bose Road blurring past. The engine's ecstatic howl beneath me and the rush that you get when you know that one wrong twist of the handle bar or shifting of weight is all it takes to bring a rapid end to all that joy. Its a addictive mix of concentration and freedom that can be equalled by none. With the Corporation office flying behind, then past the vast grounds of the St. James church. Then a sudden deceleration with the bike's disc brake, as the turn to the lane in which my house is located approaches. The LED brake lights glow a bright red, like a creature angry at its free run being broken.
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Dangerous, yes! Unnecessary, absolutely! But sometimes in life, its essential to speed up only for that short stint so as to bear the killing slowness of normal life. Snapping back to reality now, no, I don't own a bike yet but since I am earning my own money now, owning one is not too distant a reality. So when people ask me "Why are you planning to buy a bike when you don't have a girlfriend yet to ride behind you?", I simply flash them a look which says, "You just don't get it, do you?"...
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[Do not be foolish enough to consider everything stated above as an incentive to speed. Drive and ride safe. Reach home. Alive. With all limbs in their respective places. Let others on the road do so too. Please.]

1 comment:

anucharan said...

i don know but this is my personal fav.