After a lot of conflict with myself on whether I should write this or not, I have decided to write this post.
What is typed below will make no sense or logic.
So in case you are looking for words like “practical”, “mileage”, “cost-effective” and likewise, I humbly request you not to have a read below this line.
It was on this hot sunny day that I was travelling in a bus in Pune.
It was close to 2 PM and the earth was burning in full glory of sun. The air close to the road was literally boiling off.
Add to that the torture of an overcrowded bus.
Sweaty and suffocated in this jam-packed bus with the conductor screaming over the back gate to go towards the front door while there was not an inch of footing made me scream out my brains!
And there is this driver, all in his lull and sleep, taking his own time to cook the passengers by sun’s flame.
slowly…slowly…crawling over road.
It’s not bus.
It’s spelled HELL.
A minute here felt like an hour.
The constant bickering of people, stomping on foot, elbowing each other, some quarreling, up to 4 hands holding the same hanger over bus to balance themselves by inches of fingers to hold onto .
I took turns every minute, shifting balance from one leg to another as there is no space for the second foot.
Damn population of India!
Yet, In the back door, the greedy goblin conductor, roping in more sweaty bodies into the tin box, cramping each of us more and more and more…
Cannot go ahead, cannot go behind.
The bus was literally to bust with all densely packet junta inside it.
I, standing on the alley, as the density per feet increased more and more, my spine curved over an aunty who started to look at me as if I was …
Wait, and then ,
First the sound, dug dug dug dug…
Next the shine of chrome putting sun to shame…
Then the flair of speed and independence…
Damn, I was in love.
Sorry aunty, not u. :p
Royal Enfield had coloured my soul royal.
Its not that I never knew Royal Enfield existed.
Its just that, a moment of self realization.
Lets say, eye opener.
Sure, many bikes zoomed past me while I was being crunched in bus, yet none struck a chord at my heart like RE.
I was stupefied.
Getting off the bus, over my way to home, I started to think.
I am small, 5 foot ‘5 inches.
But I want it!
But I still want it!
Yet, I want it!
I cannot ride…
(silence)… I had no answer…
Yet, I wanna ride.
I will ride RE and RE only and none.
I ask my colleagues in company next day.
Some laugh, some make faces, some just shoot me away as lunatic…
“1.5 Lakhs for a bike? Are you stupid?”
“Save more and take a car dude!”
“What about mileage? Starve and feed just the bike?”
“Buy a second hand pulsar”
I go home, and discuss with my roommate.
Ready to bear more ridicule.
And he says:
“Live life, don’t repent”
I chose not to.
I got my Enfield.
My Classic 350 Black.
My first glance on it.
It looks as of another world.
Another time itself.
Post war era.
The build, the stance.
The silencer, the tank.
As if a machinery came together to tell a tale of legacy and royalty.
Yeah, damn, sure its heavy.
And sure, its far difficult to start riding on it as the first bike ever.
Yet, I dint give up.
Thankfully I knew balancing as a cyclist so that was not the issue.
What was the immediate problem was the sheer number of controls.
Front breaks, rear brakes, clutch, throttle, sure its was quite a lot for me initially.
On my first start, I could not even start up.
I was merely able to keep it balanced on two feet.
It was impossibly difficult to maneuver.
Moving the bike took monumental effort.
Let alone turning and parking the bike.
I doubted myself, my decision.
Maybe people were right.
I thought its a new bike maybe I should sell it?
I will get good money.
Sell? Money? Give up?
I kept on!
Every day, I would move my bike, try to park it, start it.
Shifting to neutral, slowly letting the clutch go…
Many times the bike would come to an abrupt halt!
Many times, the bike will make a screech and dhuk! stop…
It was during these difficult times that my dear friend sardarji reminded me…
You don’t buy an Enfield, you earn it!
I started listening to the engine.
The settling click to the neutral to the initial grunt of the engine.
Slow and steady I let the clutch go off, synchronizing it with the music of the machine as my bike started moving forward.
First a few feet, then a few more…
I realized starting the bull was more of listening to it rather than pushing it or forcing myself over it.
Its not a battle.
Its the understanding between you and the bike.
And yes, oh yess!
I could finally ride.
Take those turns, the angles and the straights…
All into clarity.
Yes, I rode an Enfield.
Usually I used electric start, but may happiest day was when I could execute a kick start.
Its only after kick start you realize how organic this bike is!
Its becomes an extension of your soul.
And trust me, once you have tasted Enfield, no other bike will be the same.
I tried riding Pulsars, Hondas , Yamahas but I could never really settle into them ( at least that’s how I felt )…
No other bike or machinery will satisfy me.
And yet, as I fly around the roads and zip-zap through the traffic, and look my way through a stranded bus waiting on bus stand, I think…
Is there someone me in that bus?
Has my Enfield imprinted on someone as well?
Sure, its been hard times sometimes when the bike has stopped and people on street have noted an ridiculously small guy pushing a two seater metal tractor through the roads.
But, as I say, this bike has always given me much more than I have ever felt negativity to it.
It demands respect, love and care.
Its not just a machine.
It becomes your companion.
Do you leave your loved ones when they crib? :p
Well, I don’t.
And yeah… sure, I never resented.
Be safe, Keep riding.