Friday, 12 June 2009

The life of your ride.


Bikes. Ubiquitous symbols of testosterone-spiked Y-chromosomes. Mean male machines. Dripping coolth and screaming attention.

Exactly a decade ago, those were the precise machinations of my mind as I stepped into a showroom and picked one up for myself. Like any correctly-wired male, I too am a bike fanatic. I dig them. Immensely. They are clearly more than ‘Point A to Point B’ transporters.

But I never came around to loving it more than my life. (Notice the ‘it’ and not a ‘she’ which is to further infuriate bike “lovers”). Mine was a case of natural selection. It just felt right to grow old with.

It had the right amount of firepower, enough acceleration, and optimum stealth to be invisible in spirit, but certainly not in sound. Its valve-less double-stroke heart never allowed it to be that way. So, along we went on our parallel roads that intersected every day.

I was relatively young then. So was it.
Life was stereotypically fearless. So was its throttle.
I freewheeled into a rock band. So did it, on campus roads.
As middle age approached, my body slowed down. So did its top speed.
Thirties rattled my bones a bit. Its chassis started wobbling.
Today, reflexes aren’t what they used to be. Its electrical system has also given way.
I still can’t have more than three large ones in a single sitting. It is still averaging what it did ten years ago.
Bad cholesterol has clogged up the pipes. Its exhaust is making strange noises.

Like I said, it has grown old with me. And I’m happy it did that.

Otherwise, what’s the point in spending your life in keeping your partner in good shape, when you yourself are victimized by time? I chose not to take the path of being a non-performing Hugh Hefner stuck with a supermodel everyone else letches at.

I didn’t give it any special privileges. No stickers. No rear-view mirrors. No dust-cloths tugged in between the handle bar. I remember watching, with unhidden amusement, newly-wed bikers turn into vacuum cleaners at the first sight of a speck. The only time I put cloth to my bike is to wipe off pigeon or rain droppings. And usually that cloth is my handkerchief. (Because the handle-bar is undersupplied, remember?)

So, yes, the bike has as many scratches as I have greys, and as many dents as I have wrinkles. It hasn’t honked in the last 4 years, neither flashed its indicators. Both because of the faulty electrical system. And I wear glasses.

It still remains, like me, very young in spirit (or that's what I'd like to think). And, unarguably, the most reliable piece of engineering I have ever laid my hands or legs on. It still ignites at the first kick. Like it did seven years ago, right after a 720 degree rotation that followed a head on collision with an auto. (Yes, those were our freewheeling days). But it still started after we both got up. That accident left a permanent dent on its tank and a bruise mark on my left thumb.

Nowadays, I sometimes let my eyes linger over it more than needed. Trying to catch a fleeting signal it might give me. Like how will it end its journey. Or, at least, how will it go from here on. See if I can pick some cues there.

And also to see if the exhaust really, really needs a cleanup.





15 comments:

Gayatri said...

one ride free for every person who leaves a comment for this beautiful piece! thanks in advance :) corner house chalega ;)

mentalie said...

i know exactly how you feel, slash. the first time i fell in love was when i was 8 and my father brought home our first car. it was an ancient station wagon and i swear, she introduced herself to me and told me her name was lucy. and all the years we had her, my folks cribbed about the way she rattled and her seat springs squeaked, but i knew she was only telling me stories.
my dad traded her in for an ambassador when i was 13. i miss her still :) and the new fangled little spark i own never talks to me at all :(

slash\\ said...

@G Not many people like to be taken for a ride, even if free. You on the other hand won't mind. Good to know.

@Mentalie Yeah, unlike in fairy tales, most love stories in real life are founded as much on mutual contempt and harmless bashups as on symbiotic dependency.

Saltwater Blues said...

Thats Yamaha for ya! You should try to get your hands on a RD-350 mate ... i hear you get them pretty easy down South. Now that's a mean machine! I have two RX-100's btw. Both 16 years old, never had a breakdown. Amazing bikes.

maeshwar said...

hey that's the real love story, has you said in your last story we take everything granted in our life. don't take him granted he might give you hand one day so take him to hospital it needs some care and attention now.

slash\\ said...

@SwB. Have tried a friend's 350. Really something. It IS easy to find here, but can't think of buying one right now. TWO RXs? How did that happen? Unfortunately they had phased out 100s when I decided to buy, hence the 135. Which of course are way better than the interim RXGs.

gautam said...

dude i just loved the words that you've used for describing a bike....by the what will ur reaction be when you get something like a R1 or even a FZ..haha the post is a beauty

slash\\ said...

@gautam. thanks for the kind words. i am sure the R1 and FZ are amazing bikes. But the whole point is, they are still young you see. Also, can't be disloyal even by thinking of anyone else. ;)

agent green glass said...

really. this is not fair. i wrote such a long comment. and its vanished. its my office comp. seriously discourages anything interesting.

anyway, thing is i loved the sentiment behind the post. i feel the same way about my car. we're both growing old together. but its a bond only we share. and yes, its a it. no name, no sex...but we're still close. very close. and now its time to retire it, and i'm sad. so your post made me all senti.

and about the bike. i just started to learn to ride one. RX 100, the only bike where my toes can touch the ground!

slash\\ said...

retire your car? how do you do that? watch it decompose in the garage? i think i'd just let mine die on the run i guess. so you're learning to ride on an RX. Way to go! The only thing you need to know: 1 down 3 up. And no wheeling for the first two months ;)

Saumil said...

Man you made me miss the days when I used to take your bike and drive home for lunch!! Love the 2-stroke heart :-)

vinni said...

:) after you commented on my blog i was looking for this. finally got it. its fun to read and write about bikes. as long as we dont write about FZ16s i think we are good. :)

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