Wednesday, October 5

taking home a new bike ...

Turning 47 wasn’t a young affair. Still, I wanted to feel young.  October 1st was my Birthday.

The rains have ended and the sun has kissed all the flowers. They look eager to welcome the light. My daughter wanted to have her photo done with a bunch of bloom.

A friend of mine, Mr. Cherian, was bringing home his Harley Davidson. The best part of it was that, he insisted that I share a major part of the driving.  On my Birthday, we decided to take home his dream bike.  Between my friend and me, that would be something that we’ll remember for a long while!

I don’t think I will ever get a chance to ride a brand-new Harley from the showroom to home ever in my lifetime. Then, when one gets a chance, why keep away?

We reached the showroom to be greeted by the salespersons and the staff. My friend and I were dressed up for the long drive home: windcheaters, goggles, gloves, helmets, and boots.  After the briefings on the salient features of the bike, it was time to take the key.

12:00 noon, we got our Harley on the road. It was an absolute fun to have this great machine switched ON.  The distinguishing beat was in the air. All the glittering chrome came alive in the soft sun. Amidst lots of curious eyes, we were the real heroes on Bangalore – Calicut highway.   Driving on, many car drivers came near us, lowered their glasses, and took deep look at our bike. Some wanted to know the cost, while others wanted to congratulate us. We responded to all of them with a gentle smile. We had mile to go and promises to keep… that thought pulled us through a difficult metro traffic jam.  The first 80 Km was the break-in crucial drive.  My friend took it with ease.  After 100 Km, it was my turn to ride the bike.

2:00 PM … Heavy rains accosted us. We had to stop and wear our rain gears. I was little apprehensive about the ride. Yet, we kept on driving. I could feel and hear the raindrops falling on the helmet-visor and the gush of the air that we cut through.  I could sense how well the bike was responding to the brakes and the acceleration. Rain was no problem for the speed!  Most times, tachometer showed 80 Km/hr. Still, my friend was reminding me to reduce the speed. The headlight of the bike was simply superb! It was amusing to know that Harleys never have a switch to ON and OFF the headlight. By default, it was always kept ON whenever the machine is running. Many fellow motorists thought that we had left the headlight ON unknowingly.  Some of them overtook us and made signs to us that our headlight was beaming.  Zooming through the rain at 80-90 Km was fun because we felt the confidence of top class motoring on a heavy bike like Harley.

As the dusk settled and as there was a beautiful glow of the twilight in the sky, we were entering the reserve forest range on the highway.  We still had around 180 kilometers to drive. This thought kept me zooming. The forest guards were taken aback hearing the strange beat of the engine and the high beam of the headlight. They quickly understood that something different from conventional was approaching.  They signaled to stop and asked some irreverent questions.  Our answers convinced them. They kept beaming their flashlight on the bike’s chrome and kept waving their hands for us to keep going. We kept moving deep in the forest at top speed.  Time was around 8:30 PM. 

Everything new in life is like the art of driving a new bike:  we take a little time to understand and appreciate new vistas of joy and sorrow. Once we begin to understand,  we can take control of any life's situations. But there is one question that I will always ask myself: should I understand everything in my life? There are things in my life that I will never understand and yet, keep on driving! When I closely observe, most everything is unknown to the mortals. If I were to insist that I understand every bit of my earthly journey, then what fun life is all about ! ...where can a God of Surprises work in my life? To give space for a God of Surprises, there must be an unknown path, a few steps into little little daily adventures. The fun in life is just that : to keep on driving into unknown.  

After a tea-break, it took another 90 Km of careful drive for us to reach home. The last section of the drive was through the Western Ghats covering 9 deep hairpin bends. This section through reserve forest has no road illumination, and was the lowest point of the journey.  

It was 11PM as we reached home. And... I thank GOD, it was a job well done!