I have my weekly off from work today and I have fulfilled my duties that my lonely home must have expected me to get done. When I sit down on my cot beside my window and sip coffee I hear a gentle roaring sound outside. I get up and walk towards the window and have a glance at the motorbike which has a loud exhaust note. It’s a superbike and to be very precise I think it’s a Yamaha R6. Blue in color and has an altered exhaust.
Seeing the motorbike initially just screaming and then in a while zooming past, I smile and think of how I started off with a motorbike, which went on to become one of the greatest thing in my life.
I really don’t remember when and where I fell for motorbikes. My friend in a villa next to my house had a motorbike called HeroHonda CBZ which was blue in color and that was in the year 1999 or 2000 I guess. He used to drop me at tuitions whenever he would find me walking from my place. I would later on eagerly wait for him outside his place or somewhere close to notice me, sometime he would, most of the times he wouldn’t.
Later when I had vacations, I had an uncle of mine coming to India from abroad. My parents went to meet him; I accompanied. He had rented a 100 cc commuter motorbike for his use in India.
Theoretically, there was no beating me on the working of a bike as I had asked all my friends on how motorbikes work!
So on the first day, I kick start the motorbike with great effort. My uncle warns me, my father tells me not to bring my sorry face home if I crash. My uncle’s house is connected by a rectangular circuit which has minimal traffic. Roads are narrow and broken but void of traffic.
The place looked somewhat like the below figure,
It’s the next day; I am comfortable starting the motorbike. I start the motorbike, disengage the clutch, slot the 1st gear and then I rev a bit and while doing so I slip the clutch. The motorbike leaps into action with a jolt and as I have the throttle a bit open hence the motorbike keeps moving and here I go. I ride around the circuit with great care and in 1st gear. When I am back I switch the motorbike off and my mind has another devilish idea, why not another round? Ok here I go again. This time I use the 2nd gear also and again rounds after rounds, I am finally able to switch to all gears.
I still didn’t know why there was a need to downshift!
After some rounds, I leave the motorbike parked in the garage. Even after leaving the bike parked, I really can’t get that thing out of my mind. I wanted to ride more and more.
Afternoon when everyone takes it easy, I sneak into his room and get the keys. I move the motorbike without switching it on to a distant place and then switch it on and ride again the normal route.
Again after I have driven enough, I am confident and on the broken road, from the point x to y I decide to give it a go. I have already slotted my bike in top gear and I hold the throttle wide open. The bike screams and I guess the speed is well above 80 kmph and yes helmets were not in fashion then. No one fancied buying one. Safety? What’s that? Leave safety alone…
The air flowing under my arms was filling my shirt with bubble. I was in heaven and heaven doesn’t last long. I see it’s the danger road ahead and its too late and was less than 80 meters. I could have missed the turn and went ahead but didn’t want to. I slam the brakes as hard as I could.
In the next second, I can see the back of my bike on my right hand side. The bike had skid badly as the brakes were jammed hard by me. In a bit, I slide on the floor along with the bike. I am still seated on the bike even when I am sliding. After some distance of sliding, I and my bike come to a standstill. My knees, my elbows and couple of other places in my body had torn skin and bleeding. My new pants were no longer new.
The bike had a bent handlebar, a broken headlight, damaged windshield, bent crash guard and couple of other problems. I had scratches all over and it ached badly which I wasn’t bothered of. All I could think was the bike was damaged and my father was in ‘somebody is gonna get hurt’ mode when I initially started.
I didn’t have the privilege of couple of seconds to thinks as the empty village road started gathering crowd. I could hear random rants on my over speeding there. I pick up my bike, hold the clutch and walk towards home while the bike silently rolls along with me.
My father is waiting for me and I see it from far. As I am nearby he tells me to park the bike. I do so and as I turn back, I can feel my neck swaying towards my right very hard. I was slapped hard and he wanted to do it a couple of more times but couldn’t because of my uncle and other’s there. I couldn’t feel his hand as I had other major bruises to attend to from the crash. I walk away into my room……
I didn’t learn from that even. I always fancied pushing bikes hard after I got a bit better with bikes. Road racing, missed being hit by buses, missed hitting street lamps, barricades etc in those years.
When I look back to all those, I can no way blame myself. Boiling blood, love and craze for bikes were those days of my life. But I am now much happier to be a sane and mature biker.
It doesn’t mean that my love for bikes have reduced a bit as compared to those days. It simply means that I have started respecting other’s lives too along with my passion.