My dad bought me my first two-wheeler when I was in Class 9. Motorized. While this might classify me as a spoilt brat in most opinions, truth is I needed it mainly to propel my geek-dom further, because the whole point behind the bike was this way I could attend after-school maths classes in 10th and get amazing marks. Which was difficult if I missed my school bus back home, the only alternate mode of transport being a ‘tempo’ also known as shared auto, and a 2 km walk each way. This would also eat into, yes, you’re right, study time and I couldn’t have that, so I got my two-wheeler. And also, amazing marks in Maths.
Anyway, when my Dad offered to buy me the vehicle, I by default chose a Luna Super. Yes, the trusty old moped which would not cross 40 kmph if you set fire to it. My Dad offered to buy me a ‘Kinetic Pride’ at that time, relatively more expensive, and definitely better looking but I turned it down because another friend in school had a Luna (Class 8 onwards, I know I am not helping my bratty case here). I however did not accept this reasoning in my head until yet another friend, who bought a Kinetic Pride very pointedly (and rather rudely) said that I just followed whatever friend number one did. I was pretty pissed at the allegation and did not retort because I knew she was right.
So Class 10 came and I started taking the moped to school which was a good 8 kms away. I even started taking my little sister, then in Class 7 along. It was well and good until one eventful morning in April, just about 15 odd days into all this awesomeness, I rode full on into this stationary ‘tempo’ while humming ‘ Gaate the pehle akele’ from the film Khamoshi. I do not hum that song while on a bike since then.
I fell, and so did my sister, and our bags and stuff and a group of people gathered around us and for a few minutes I was too dazed and then I saw this huge gash on my knee and panicked. Before I proceed I need to tell you that panic is my favorite form of reaction and my first choice for any situation. And most often for reasons other than what technically would be priority for others.
This case was no different and while my primary reason for stressing should have been ‘Oh My God, is my sister ok? Have I broken any bones, followed by ‘Oh My God look at that gash, it’s going to need stitches!’, it actually was ‘Oh My God my dad is not going to let me ride this to school anymore!’ So when one of the people in crowd asked me my phone number, I gave it pretty reluctantly, adding vehemently that he was NOT supposed to call my parents. No, I did not pause to think what else he would use my number for. And no, I did not think if the by-standers were worried if I had hurt my head.
So I tied a handkerchief (or the cleaning cloth for the tempo, I swear I couldn’t care), and wait for this, rode to school. I had fallen mid-way between school and home. And I chose to ride to school where from I thought, I would call home and calmly inform them of a slight fall that had happened and I don’t know, wish for them to never notice that 2 inch deep wound on my knee where I swear I could see my bone.
I reached school and called them back, only to have my grandmom pick the call and tell me that they were on their way to school. I cursed the well-wisher dude and sat back and waited. They came over, calmly inspected the situation (not the wound thankfully), and took me to a doctor The doctor had a look at it and pronounced that I needed stitches. And thanks to anesthesia (whose concept I seem to have been alien to apparently, cos I kept asking him if it would hurt, to which he kept saying ofcourse it would, moron) I never knew when it got done.
Long story short, (ok, not so short I guess) I live to tell the tale with the scar still apparent on knee. Three stitches which could have changed the course of my life. Ok, that’s way too much exaggeration, but it could definitely have changed my mode of transportation, which sucked cos hello, I wasn’t taking a tempo everyday! But somewhere during the summer vacations (which started soon), I re-convinced my Dad to let me go to school on the moped and he agreed much to the annoyance of my mom.
Between then and now I have changed 3 two-wheelers. The Luna, followed by a Scooty in college to an Aviator I ride to work today. I have fallen multiple times, maintaining an average of a fall per year, minor scratches that hurt for an hour, to scars that still show. Lived through skids that happened just because they hadn’t in a while, to falls that happened because a stupid dog ran behind the vehicle barking his guts out, only to give a look and walk away when I finally fell while taking a turn without reducing speed (no, I don’t wish he had fulfilled his karma and bitten me, but I hate purposeless noise). Ridden on narrow lanes in Meerut and big roads in Hyderabad and broken ones in Pune. So the road is no alien to me thanks to my mighty scooter.
But looks it was the mighty scooter doing all the work all this while because last week I finally joined car driving classes and it is not the same. Not even close. Firstly, there aren’t 400 things to manage like in this case. Just because we have two hands and two feet and two eyes doesn’t mean you have a job defined for all of them simultaneously. Also, 7:30 AM for some people really means 7:30 AM for some people, and 20 minutes does not mean 5 minutes and these seem to be difficult to digest concepts for my driving instructors. In any case I am trying, and it has just been 6 days so I am hoping things improve soon. So if you see an out-of-control red i10 around Magarpatta City in Pune anytime, and a frowning (albeit very cool if you ignore her disheveled look) 31 year old at the wheel who seems to be trying hard to not whack the guy sitting next to her, come say hi.
Or don’t. I might just knock you over.