An incident very close to my heart, I am the hero of this incident and a lot of antagonists (pun intended). Kids below certain age (not sure what age, ask your parents) please refrain from reading till you are matured enough, at least to ride a motorbike. Hope you enjoy this as I did.
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – The Intro:
This happens sometime back, sometime when I was young both mentally and physically. Living to the spirits and following my heart. I had quit my job which I felt boring. I was with my parents, sleeping, eating, buying all sorts of necessary and unnecessary stuff for the home and partying at Goa at times.
It’s been 6 months and I have almost blasted all possible money in all possible ways which I earned over the past 2 years. I swear I haven’t seen that much money in my bank ever after that till now.
Finally my parents started kicking the fleshy part of my body, they realized that I had only the last 7500 rupees in my bank account and soon would start using up what’s available with them. I started attending interviews, not because I was an obedient son, but I also started feeling the heat of a dried up bank account.
Hurrah!!!! Got a job. To Bahrain. When? A month ‘n’ a half remain. Oh that’s some serious time.
Now before going any further, I need to mention this. One of my greatest thing (its more than a hobby) in life is riding motorbikes. Learnt to ride at the age of 14. My first fall also comes at the age of 14. Yes I started with a crash. Then 3 years after that I adjusted myself to gearless scooters. A lot of ..ooopss, just missed hitting that car, aawww that was a small fall .. happened in my life during those 3 yrs. Nothing major though. Again in my college days, started off with friends motorbike. Though I haven’t had a chance to own a motorbike, I have driven bikes extensively.
So while I wait for my visa and ticket, an idea occurs. My cousin owns a Royal Enfield Standard 350cc motorbike, shortly known as a Bullet (going to refer it so hereafter).It was his greatest possession. But this time he was away doing his masters degree in Engineering in some cave’s of the Himalayas. He had a younger brother who recently received his driver’s license. So my next plan is to hijack the Bullet and have it for the next 20-25 days..Buhahaha..!!!
Calls up his father, my uncle. I say ‘My Bahrain trip is finalized’…
Need the Bullet for 25 days . He hesitates, but alas he can’t deny me. OK is the answer.
My cousin’s house is 125 kilometers far from my place. Nothing big. I stayed in a village and he, in a city.
NO …you can’t do this, my parents, as if I am going for an underworld operation. They know that they don’t stand a chance to stop me. My father easily gives up, he is not going to listen and I am not going to waste my energy. My mother, no chance, she would try till the end.
So two days from then, I am at their door steps.
‘There is no insurance…!’ his father,
‘I will get one, no worries’. He understands I’m not going back empty handed, and then its three motorbikes, my younger cousin brother riding the bullet, I am the pillion. His dad on his smaller motorbike. We are at the insurance place getting the insurance done.
DONE…The motorbike is insured from today midnight, or tomorrow morning said his younger brother with a happy tone. It’s been a year the owner of the Bullet aka my dumba$ cousin had not insured the bike.
‘Careful Boy! The insurance is not valid for this trip’ My uncle
I ride back to my place…
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – The onward journey:
Now it’s important that I need to describe the Bullet. The bullet is no ordinary motorbike. When my younger cousin handed over the keys to me, I didn’t even know how to ride this bike properly.
From the kick starting, to the gear shifts to the clutch release to the throttling this bike is different. All I have done is started this bike couple of times and then driven it for a km or so.
The design of the bike reminds me of my childhood. My parents tell me to do something and I end up doing the opposite of what is told. Likewise the bullet had exactly opposite design as compared to the universally followed system. Gears on the right, brakes on the left. The gear shift pattern also exactly different from the normal ones.
My mantra for starting this bike for any condition was simple. Push the decomp switch on the left hand side. Push the kicker lever to bring the amp meter to zero. Release the switch when the amp meter is at 0 position. Kick it gently and the Bullet roars to life. As simple as that, ahem ahem, or not. The amp meter up of down, forget your right leg or even if the amp meter is in 0, and if the Bullet feels bitchy then again forget your right leg.
So I start my journey, as per the advice of my uncle (my parents have been saying it from age of 14), Go slow. As fast as 50-60 kmph. It was not the normal me driving, but makes sense. New motorbike, new riding styles and needed getting used to. The first 10kms the bike behaved like an unforgiving b*tch. Next 10kms, same sh*t.
This feels unfortunate. Even as a teenager, my first crash came up at a 100kmph. The Bullet cruising steadily with a constant thump and I nodding my head up and down, right and left to keep me away from boredom and sleep.
It’s unsafe to ride a bullet above 60kmph for a extended period as it could cause overheating, then oil leakages etc. Impressive! Isn’t it? I could see lads half my age overtaking me on their mountain bikes..Ha Ha Ha
I stop by, its noon, I have driven a lot. 2.5 hrs and I have covered some odd 60 kms or a little more than that. Having lunch from a roadside hotel, I with the intention of resuming my journey try to start the Bull…et….
What the hell was that ?
Oh I see my kicker lever hanging towards the ground, like a compass needle showing north. Am I scared?
No ..Not at all. I know it’s the kicker spring failing. Cost of the spring 30rupees. Labour 70 rupees.Buhahaha…That leaves me with 7400rupees. I couldn’t care less.
I take it to the next garage, “ No spares saarr!!!”
I am doing it at my place. I get a tie wire from the garage, kick start the bike and tie the compass needle to the frame. Kicker back in position and I leave. Again hitting the high speeds of 60 kmph.
I ride back to my place again…
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – The fall and rise:
I now feel that I have got a good hang of the bullet. Feels like I have tamed the beast, mastered the art of riding the bullet. Yeyeyey!!! Feels like I’m on top of the world. I feel the slight breeze on my hands, I see trees passing by and my mind is free of all the worldly tensions. Far I see a small road joining the main road. No vehicles as of now.
I am towards the left of the road, leaving enough gap for the cyclists/ pedestrians. I am supposed to carry on straight for at least 40 kms.
When I was approximately 50mtrs away from the intersection, I see a car, a small hatch back ( Suzuki Alto ) coming. I don’t care, I ride a Bullet.
In the ideal world, that car is supposed to stop and let the vehicle travelling on the main road pass by.
I still hang on the throttle. As I reach as close as 15-10mtrs, the driver decides that this world is far from ideal, it’s not perfect, screw the rules, I am not waiting for anyone.
He is on the main road.
Holy Mother of Gods! I am too close and my legs don’t react as its not sure which is the brake ( I usually keep telling in my mind that left is the brake, but not when needed. Stupid me.). Screw the brakes, I tackle right to avoid hitting and I succeed.
‘Oh..What the hell just happened!’
I am still on the bike and the bike is still moving. My motorbike swayed right and left for a second or two, I could see a blue car passing close by me. Very Very close. I had no chance to apply brakes and stop the Bullet behind the car that wrongly entered. Bullet’s a heavy thing and brakes suck big time.
My bike has hit the blue car which swayed my bike and developed a dent and a scratch on…obviously the car. The Bullet still like a raging bull, questioning me, “ Did someone try to mess with me?” And I was like, “ The owner’s definitely gonna mess with me!”
The insurance not valid thing runs in my mind. I am so screwed. I am screwed big time. I should have listened to the elders (what a though). Why not run away from here?? But brains take over emotions quickly. I stay back, to face whatever it is.
The owner comes and furiously says, “Come on, let’s go to the cops, register a case. I know the deputy there”. He was in his mid 30s, he had his wife taking pics of my bike all over. Bullet must have felt like its walking the red carpet. His Mother in law faintly telling, these bikers are a pain in the hole.
No I chose not to reply to that. No chance.
I am so screwed. If I go to the cops, I could be in jail or minimum of a case would be registered against me. I had to fly abroad in a month. The biggest concern is, all these won’t stop in 7400 rupees. Thoughts drained me. The other car guy was long time gone or else I could have made him pay for his mistake. Now it’s just me, the bike and the mess we created.
I am not taking this anymore. I am calling for help.
I call up my uncle again. “ ello….You reached safely?”
What the ….?
I scratched somebody’s car. But the bike is safe, not a single scratch on it.
He was fuming. I could feel the heat. He said he would call me back soon and hangs up.
I’m depressed. I know now there is no chance. I follow that guy to the police station. As I turn my bike to enter the Police station, I get a call back.
It’s my uncle and he asks me to enter into an unofficial settlement. Since I was in no position to talk sane, I give away the phone to that guy. They speak to each other, I am not bothered, whatever…
The owner of the car hangs up the phone and hands it to me back. You may go, I will send my bank details and Account number, and you can pay me after I get the quote from the showroom.
I nod, put my mobile phone back in place and leave. I run back to the bike, remove the tie wire and start the bike. The bike, as cool as ever, starts with a thump as if it’s questioning me, “No more rest? Are we leaving?”
I ride back to my place again…
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – Something went wrong:
I take the bike to the next garage. I needed to fix the kicker lever. I am sure that the motorbike would undergo an inspection at my place. I buy him the kicker spring and in an hour I am off again.
15 kilometers ahead, I keep going and when I go a bit right again, a blue car just couple of centimeters away pass me from my right. Thank my stars. I stop the bike towards the side. Sit on the pavement for couple of minute. I could see the headlight of the Bullet towards me, ‘You can’t son! You can’t!’, such was the look.
I seriously think what went wrong. Never has this happened to me in all these years. I tried analyzing.
All I could think of was I was driving slowly and sedate, not much in my style. Indian roads demanded Might. Eureka!!!! There I am with a solution.
I wait for 10 minutes for the bike to cool down. I kick start the bike again with a new vibe.
“Who’s the daddy now?” Buahahaha…
I ride back to my place again…
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – Lighten up Holy cow 😦 pleech
The moment I start driving my style, I reach home without hassles and issues in less than an hour. Again, I never took the Bullet above 70 kmph at any point.
I am home and its been two days. I haven’t taken bullet out as I might have taken the other bikes. I don’t do any R ‘n’ D s on the bike, no photo shoots.
TRING … TRING !!!
My mother does the honor of picking up the call. It’s my uncle and most probably his query would have been about me.
She cries out in happiness, ” He is here. Hasn’t gone anywhere on the bike in the last days.” Happiness oozing out of every word. She is happy to have me near her sight, where I would be rather safe.
I walk out of my house to find the Bullet parked in the parking space. The Bullet stood a legend, challenging me on what I probably boasted the most- My ‘gone into drain’ riding skills. I let the Bullet win here, put my head straight back down and get back to my laptop.
These happens in the morning, Late in the afternoon I can see my uncle standing on the door steps.
Oh… That’s a great surprise. Please don’t tell me that he is here to take back the bike. That would be the greatest defeat of my lifetime.
No. He wouldn’t do that. I have known him all my life. No…No way!
I greet him,
‘How’s everything?’ He asks.
‘The motorbike’s fine. Not a single scratch. Just the right foot peg bent a little.’ I answer to ensure that he doesn’t take away the bike.
‘I never asked you about the bike. I could probably pay another 100,000 rupees and get another one.’
Clearly he was more bothered about me. I knew that even before I answered. He was one of the coolest person I have ever known. The reason why I called him when I scratched that car was also this. Being a petrol head, I could only think of the bike first, before me. It’s always been like that, and will always be so.
My mother comes into the scene, serves tea. She was happy to see her elder brother. She always had a great amount of affection for him and his family, as she had for me and my younger sister.
While the tea session, he drops an atom bomb. He mentions that those people call him up and they were quoting 8500 rupees to get the door panel done.
Not again… I should have listened to the elders and sat quietly at home (again, what a thought! Occurs whenever I screw up). No one to ask, beg or borrow. Neither would anyone pay up.
Asking dad would have resulted in, me having three Adam’s apple. To hell, I am not asking him. Definitely not! It was my mess and I needed to sort it out.
My uncle suggested that, he and my dad have a look at the door panel and I stay back. They go and view the depth and width of the kisses that the Bullet has given. Fair deal. I encourage that thought.
As he was about to leave, he comes close to me, whispers in my ear, ‘Ride the god damn bike!’ and he smiles. I understand what he meant and I see him leaving.
I again follow the mantra. The third time, Dup…Dup…Dup…Thump…Thump..
Aww, What a feeling! The Bullet has started thumping again. I go out on a 60 kilometer ride. Not so cool. I was too conscious.
I am not giving up. Period!
I plan to do the country/Village roads. Plenty of deserted village roads nearby. Scenic short drives would be a treat to my eyes and also would make my ride-longing soul happy.
So I start all over again, the loud thumps waking up the lonely, deserted roads and
I ride again….
My Heart Beats THUMP …THUMP…THUMP!!! – Finally JOY 🙂
Days passed, weeks passed. I drove the Bullet along the village roads.
Now the Bullet was no more a legend or a raging bull or something fierce, it was now my best buddy. Someone whom I take along to any place that I go.
It became an extension of my body, pretty much like any ordinary or sports bike. My eyes would dictate and the Bullet would follow the path.
I would take it down to the beautiful, lonely alley nearby or to the evening market in my village, to the challenging city traffic or the long stretch of highways.
Most enjoyable of the rides came when I used to take it to the night to the nearby Cinema halls. May it be the lads with a skinny sports motorbike or a middle aged man with an under powered car, the Bullet would get its due respect. The return was even more thrilling. I would be relaxed, couple of fingers of the right hand doing the job of holding the throttle to keep the bike in motion, the left hand relaxing on my left knees, face shield of my helmet open to let the cold air have a go at my face, couple of buttons of my shirt left open so that air touches my body and forms bubbles in my shirt at the back and I would sit relaxed void of tensions and stresses that the world has to offer. That is the time when I know that, I am living my life.
I have so got adapted to the bullet that my heart starts beating to the tone of bullet’s exhaust note once I start riding. The rhythm that is loud and heavy enough to wake a small kid up sleeping peacefully in the house, scary enough to give a heart attack to a robber trying to sneak in through a locked gate, good enough to wake the lonely sleeping alley, sweet enough to pierce through my ears and reach my heart, melodic enough to set a rhythm good enough for my beating heart.
Yes, My heart has beat-ed to the thumps and I have experienced the pleasure beyond imagination. That was then and my life has moved on.
When I look back, I feel like my heart misses beating to the thumps and I sure miss living my life like a Royal on the ROYAL ENFIELD.
Hope you all liked my write up. Thanks for reading.
some parting shots
copied from my blog : anooppillaiz.blogspot.ae (check out for more pics)