|[Image source : Saurav Mittal | Flickr | Img no: 5470070619]|
I got my own cycle ( a double shock absorber rock shox cycle) when I was in class 7. Till then I was allowed to ride my sister's BSA SLR.
I never liked the BSA SLR because it was a ladies bicycle and all my friends made fun of me when I rode that.
Riding a BSA SLR till my class 5 did not pose any problem for me. But when I graduated to 6th standard, my friends started pulling my legs when ever they saw me riding my sister's cycle.
The reason for their mockery was because it was not considered manly to ride a ladies bicycle. I was very short those days and it was difficult to ride a gent's bicycle because of the horizontal rod that connected the handle and the seat. That bar should be legally named the vasectomy bar.
Because of my short stature, I would literally sit on the bar and ride the cycle and most of the time, the bar played a big part in me lying down and writhing in pain. Even though it hurt the sensitive parts of my body, I would make it a point to ride this cycle, because I loved the cycle. Well, I never owned this cycle.
I rented the cycle from Nambi uncle's bicycle repair shop. Nambi uncle came down to my home town from Kerala and opened a cycle repair shop. He had a couple of cycles that he would rent out. I would wait for saturdays because on saturdays, my mom would give me a Re.1 coin as pocket money and allow me to rent that cycle from Nambi uncle.
Nambi uncle would say that I should return the cycle within one hour because Re.1 is the rent for one hour and if I exceeded the time limit, I would have to pay more. But every time, I would cycle for almost 2 hours and when I return the cycle at his shop with a sorry face, he will give one angry look and let me go.
We had a gang of friends - Pravin, Praveen, Pradeep, Ben, Ershad. We all used to cycle around. It used to be so much fun. We would have random races; and at times we would all adventurously venture to new places. When I think of those days, I can vividly remember the conversations we used to have during our cycle riding sessions.
Now a days I don't cycle anymore. I have become a couch potato. Even the kids these days spend most of their time on electronic gadgets and I have seen only few kids riding around my locality in a bicycle.
When I went to my home town recently, I searched for Nambi uncle's shop. It was there but Nambi uncle was not there. I asked the guy in that shop about his whereabouts. I was told that he passed away. I also realized that the guy in that shop was his foster son.
As I was talking with that guy, a small guy came to the shop and asked him "Anna vaadagaikku cycle kidaikuma?" (Can I get a cycle for rent?) He said "Yes, Rs 10 for one hour" and there he went inside the shop and brought out my favorite bicycle from the shop.
As I stood there with goosebumps, the little kid monkey-pedaled the cycle and rode away with happiness that could only be understood by those who have done that.