Monday, January 25, 2010

The Noble Steed

Well….. What can I say? I was not the bread winner then, I was not even a rank winner in my class. At least then my dad would have considered buying me a bike! But for now I had to settle with my very own, brand new, 50 CC TVS champ a glorified version of the TVS 50. Please do not mistake me; I’ve got nothing against the Champ. I have shared a lot of good and bad memories with it too. The champ does just the thing it was made to – transport people. But when there is an overflow of testosterone flowing in your body and when you are reaching the ecstatic state of puberty, you want something that would do a lot more than just transporting. It has to turn a few “beautiful” heads. I mean if there’s something more than the heavenly Ganja to take a guy to dizzying highs; it would be the lovely look of a lovely lady. And there I was, just transporting myself ;-( but the suffering was not over for me. It is true that one often meets his destiny in the path he takes to avoid it. Well for me, every morning and evening when I was going to and coming from school I had a glimpse of something beautiful, something more beautiful than the clear waters of the Bahamas, than the eyes of Aishwarya Rai, than the never ending blue yonder….. To me that metallic blue coloured Hero Honda CBZ was the most beautiful of them all. Yes, for the very first time I had fallen in love with something which did not have a heart to give to. Hmmmmm, all is fair in love n war. But this was a love in which the war was between my dream and reality. The reality – 10th standard student with a TVS Champ; my dream – owning a Rs. 50,000 CBZ. Heart wrenching! It sounds like the love story in the movies, rich gal, and very very poor boy. The case was the same. I had very little chances to win the gal (CBZ) in my real life. But, little did I know….. I had reached the 12th grade, life had changed a little bit, I had become the school pupil leader ;-) my public speaking skills had developed ten folds. I was the star of the school! But with the same TVS champ ;-( no luck with my blue beauty yet. Diwali arrived….. The festival of lights, of colours, the festival in which I got to do my favourite things, eat mutton all day long, watch new tamil flicks on TV, wear band new chaka chak new dresses, burst free crackers, hang around with friends. Yup, hanging around with friends was the best part of it ;-) and that Diwali night was going to be one of the most memorable and painful ones for me. It all started when we assembled at Vikky’s place. What should I say about Vikky, born with a silver spoon in his mouth but really has a heart of gold (Vikky you owe me one for this ;-) that was the official spot for our gang to gather. Guys were out bursting some heavy crackers, lighting the rockets when they were held in the other guy’s hand, planting bombs on each others feet. It was a mini war. I, the usual “shy” guy just kept aside with just admiring the beautiful colours the crackers made when they went way up and lit up our beautiful Madurai sky and of course I was in my senses to run to save my hair when there was a mis fire and the burning debris came towards us. As I said Diwali was too much fun. Now, amidst all this, all that smoke, I saw my metallic blue beauty beautifully strolling towards me. It was so romantic…. Suddenly the smoke filled street looked like a beautiful misty flower studded road of kodaikanal. Was it real? Was I dreaming? Was I drunk? Oops sorry I didn’t booze during those days. It was real, my friend Ilango arrived with his brother’s CBZ studded with alloy wheels. It looked like Monica belluci had just returned after a fruit facial…. Hmmmmm yummy (the bike) was beautiful! I went near it, greeted Ilango and for the very first time laid my hands on this heavenly beauty….. The experience was way beyond mentioning in words. Like I said, being the School pupil leader had its own perks. I asked Ilango for a test drive, hell as if I was gonna book this bike the next week! He more than willingly gave it to me. My other friend S. Karthi tagged along with me and we set out on our test drive. Karthi was in a white dhoti and knee long Bermudas underneath that, aversion of risk I would say. He had now tied his lungi above his knees and was riding the bike like a true Maduraite and I was right behind him riding the pillion. The deal was that he ll ride the bike to his aunt’s home and on the way back I could test drive it. Fair enough, after a brief stint at his aunt’s place, I got my moment of glory. I felt that I was fulfilling my destiny. I was going to ride my blue beauty! I have to admit….. I had never driven a bike which was more than 100 CC and topping that I had never driven a CBZ with front disc brakes. Well this baby can race from 0 to 60 in 60 secs (great during those times) and bring you to a stand still when you hit those brakes (atleast that was what the advertisements said) when I started riding the bike I had my heart jump to my throat when I saw that the gear lever had broken. It had only the front portion; I thought that I had broken the back one. I thought I would be in a very bad position when I return my friend’s bike! What would I say to my all trusting friend Ilango?! Then Karthi from the pillion brought me back to my senses that it was “made” to have a single lever. We were supposed to change the gears by slipping our feet into the lever and lifting it up. Super kool! ;-) My drive began, with me testing the disc brakes and praising this machine to be the greatest invention of mankind. I felt like the guy from the TV show “Street hawk”. I was always inspired by this connection of “man and machine”. Understanding it is one thing but implementing it on a bike that you have never ridden before and especially when it is a borrowed bike, is something only kids did. And beyond the shadow of a doubt, I was a kid. A kid who has got a new toy to play with. Wow, the throttle…. The speed, it was enchanting. The best thing that a biker feels when riding his machine is the speed. And way before the invention of the speedometer, I feel that speed was measured by the force of the wind in your face. I loved the way the wind was getting into my eyes and making it all blurry. Yup you mere mortals along the roadside! Make way for the knight in his steed! I had to take a turn and I took it all the more gracefully (I didn’t know that it ll be a turning point in my life) by now, my friend Ro joined me with his black CBZ. He was a pro in riding it and raised the throttle, jus kiddin to overtake me. Not tonight my friend! I pumped all my adrenaline to my wrist and with one heavy turn of the throttle I blasted in front of him. He was left behind… uh ha ha ha but later I realized that he had slowed down for an upcoming turn. I never knew that the bike would take me so fast to the turn (hm 0-60!) now it was time for me to slow down to take the turn. Now normally a guy riding a TVS champ with normal brakes would squeeze both the brakes so hard as if he was juicing lime in a squeezer and slow down. I did exactly that (little did I know). The disk brakes worked way too perfectly! The front wheel stopped turning and as per the Newton’s 1st law, a body continues to be in motion or in a state of rest until and unless acted upon by an external force and this is called inertia. Well…. What can I say “Newton was a GENIUS!” Even though the wheel stopped turning, they continued to skid. I cursed my situation and the next thing I remember was the whole world spinning around me, with me occasionally kissing the tar road so passionately like we were a couple meeting after years and years of separation. I was rolling in the middle of the road and saw my dhoti clad friend also rolling along side me. I got up with the same speed with which I was rolling. I thanked god that I was able to stand. But, my face was numb. I saw the bike safely parked in a horizontal position in a mound of sand along the turn. I ran there to lift the bike. It was too heavy for me. My hands failed me. By now my dhoti friend was running towards me. When he came near me, I was crying loud that I had wrecked my friend’s bike. I was least bothered about what had happened to me. By now my friend was analyzing my face for any irreparable damages. A few seconds later he jumped back to find his dhoti drenched in blood. He was scared to the core. He was making sure that everything was in place in his body ;-) later he looked at me as if he was staring at Jason from Friday the 13th. His dhoti was painted red from the blood dripping from my face. By now my friend Ro had “Pro”fully “disc braked” his bike and came to my rescue. Bala, the pillion rider got down and made me cling to Ro. I was crying now, not because of the pain but because of the horror which had just occurred. I thought, “why me?” this was supposed to be a beautiful date with my blue beauty but here I was returning like a warrior beaten to pulp. I was admitted in a hospital. This is where horror stopped and handed over the job to pain. The next few hours went by, with my mom crying, with my friends consoling her, me being taken for an x ray. When I went back home, pain was working overtime like it was its appraisal season. And to add to my already delighted state, the local cable TV was playing a scene from MI 2 in which Tom Cruise cruises in his Liter class bike (1000 CC) and kicks all bad arses. I wished Tom Cruise would take a turn now and a 18 wheeler truck would smash him! Well that movie ended but my pain did not. In the next few months I had to face such unbearable pain and such extremely embarrassing situations that I even pleaded to my parents to end my life. I guess God tests only those who are worthy. Well, to me everyday was a test. There came this day, when my left hand had swollen to extreme proportions because of internal infections and the puss had to be pressed out inorder for it to heal. My doctor uncle advised for an anesthesia for the process as it would make me skip the painful process. And in those very first tastes of feeling high (due to the anesthesia) I sweared to the doctors around that someday I would ride that steed (CBZ) with the grace of knight! After nearly 3 and half years, I was with my friend Rajesh, in a second hand bike shop to get a bike for me. Yup, dad had agreed to get me bike! Wonderful! You may think but that period was one of the most gloomy and darkest periods of my life…… I had flunked in two math papers and had to wait a year to do something useful with my life. I felt that I was left way behind in the race of life. We were waiting for a bike that the shop owner had promised we would be interested in. There in that dimly lit road came a black coloured bike with a fully customized look. It was a CBZ! Complete with alloy wheels and a custom black and silver paint job. I was breathless, Rajesh was grinning at me. May be he was thinking “You lucky bastard!” ;- ) yup this was the best CBZ we had ever seen. And the best part was yet to come. It was fitted with a customized silencer and from it came a flame which blasted for nearly 3 inches away from the bike. It was a blue flame. I felt that my blue beauty’s soul was filled in this black machine and it had taken a new avatar for this noble knight of it. At that point of time, I felt as if some one proudly announced, “Sir. Vijay today is the day you will be knighted and this is the noble steed which would serve you in all your future endeavors and battles…..” I accepted it with all thy pride and I finally understood what a “Man and machine” relation stands for. And so facing all the new battles with courage and bravery the knight and his noble steed continue on their journey called life…..

With luv,