« Home | First experience of driving in the US - I » | Mission Sri Lanka - accomplished with minor damage... » | The land of opportunity, really? » | two wins on the trot » | Pichhurr Hall - Rab ne bana di jodi » | TV Watch - Seinfeld » | pics of Trinidad apartment » | Portents of 2009 - Cricket » | Portents of 2009 - Politics » | Portents of 2009 - Terrorism »

First experience of driving in the US - II

The next threat to the survival of the human species came fairly quickly, I would say around 1999-2000, when everybody and their grandchild, pet dog and neighbour's infant was scooting about perched on a Hero Puch while I was content with enjoying the visual delights of the world, read women, from the amazing place called the pillion seat on my friends' mopeds.

Well, as you would have guessed, the Gods of the time were not in favour of me remaining in this utopian state for long and hence I found myself being coached by my dear friend Deepak to ride a moped. And that is the time I learnt a valuable lesson of life - you cannot say no to a friend even if it may not be something you are very keen on.

As it turned out, there weren't that many coaching sessions and I did not own a moped of my own so I was able to avert becoming a reasonably competent rider for a long time until catastrophe struck.

It was a sunny, breezy and luke-warm November morning in 2000 when our group of friends decided to set off on a customary trip to a nearby riverside 'picnic spot' about 40 kms away as part of the thrice weekly class bunking routine to fulfill the requirements of the bachelor's degree course. Our troupe was as motley a crew of characters of various hues as you can imagine with the only common thread connecting us all was that we were all pursuing the aforementioned degree rather vigorously and were very determined to ensure that even the most eclectic of such requirements were met religiously.

Since I wasn't exactly threatening Valentino Rossi with my superbiking skills at that point, I was assigned to be pillion rider, behind one of the female members of the entourage, which made me very happy indeed for obvious reasons. And off we went, three Hero Puchs, one TVS Champ, one Hero Honda Splendor and a Bajaj Super to round it all up rather nicely.

And it would have been a rather routine trip like many others before and after, and would have been banished to the nether regions of my memory, gathering dust for posterity if not for what happened almost a third of the way to the destination.

The female friend in question, ceased to feel as much on top of the world as she was at the onset and was unable to continue to steer the moped which was the choice of locomotion for both of us. Suddenly, I was faced with choosing from one of two options, taking public transport from a rural area back into town, effectively killing the expedition for the two of us atleast, or donning the mantle of knight in shining armour and rescue the damsel by bravely offering to swap places and ride the moped in her place while she recuperates.

With the first option still leaving the question of what happens to the moped, and also raising questions about my knight credentials, it was never in the race. And so, with a steely resolve, lots of visible bravado despite being petrified, we set off with me in the pilot seat. Lesson two, skills half-learned at the insistence of a friend can come in quite handy sometimes. Take a bow, Deepak. Thanks.

To my immense surprise, we managed to make it to the destination without any further material incident. The only notable event was a comment about why I don't change gears as often as customary. I was in a fix whether I should answer that and reveal my lack of riding skills when another dear friend Shashank (rather surprisingly more well known as Mukul/Mukki) came to my rescue by explaining that I was a big fan of being fuel efficient and hence stayed in the top gear for as long as possible. Where that came from, I don't know but it did satisfy the querying female friend so its your turn to take a bow, Mukki.

And from that point on, there was no looking back. Mopeds, dodgy incredibly small-wheeled scooters, bikes, nothing fazed me. Soon I was laying rubber on the Allahabad-Lucknow highway (which is a misnomer if there ever was one) and the rumble strip to Phoolpur (don't worry, nobody else knows where that is either. It was the parlimentary constituency of Jawaharlal Nehru though) regularly.

to be continued..

Labels: , , ,

Links to this post

Create a Link

About me

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe with Bloglines
Subscribe to this blog