Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bicycle diaries

I wasn’t born in the sixties, so I couldn’t take part in India’s Green Revolution. Not one to be left behind, I did my bit for the green stuff this past week by buying a bicycle. “India’s oil import bill will be smaller this year”, I proudly told myself as I pedaled home in my Hercules Turbo Drive 6 gear “mean-machine”.

I don’t know why my tragedies involve Shyam as a rule (maybe he is the tragedy!), anyways this time was no different. Our initial plan was that I would ride up to Nandi Hills and he would ride back since we had only one cycle. Shyam, however vetoed this idea and insisted that we rent a cycle.

(Un-)Fortunately the dealer from whom I got the cycle (R.R cycles, Madivala) generously agreed to rent us a 21 gear cycle and that too free of cost! We started on the morning of Sunday 15 June 2008 at 5:45. The initial part of the ride was terrific, the cold morning air and the free roads were perfect condition for a ride. We made good progress during this time and reached M.G Road (10 K.M from our place) in about half an hour.

Suddenly, our target of reaching Nandi Hills seemed so easy, a mere 50 kilometers more. Both of us were new to gear cycles and the only stops we took were when the chain came off due to our vigorous gear changing. 7:15 A.M, saw us famished and on the brink of cannibalism when we spotted a run down roadside restaurant near Yelahanka. The food however was good and I was glad that I didn’t eat Shyam (Would’ve given me indigestion, no doubt!) By 8:30 A.M we were near the new airport at Devanahalli. Slowly, but surely we were getting tired. We had covered about 50 kilometers by now. This was the high point of our trip.

Our feet started aching like hell. My “thunder thighs” seemed to have lost all their thunder. So, we decided to rest. Which was a good idea, but what we did next was not! We called up every Tom, Dick and Harry to announce that we were just 10 kilometers away from the foot of Nandi Hills and that they were all bike loving, petrol splurging un-patriotic Pakistani spies who should be hanged!

Shyam had this sudden urge to drink a popular apple drink “Appy Fizz” which saw us searching high and low, but to no avail. Finally, when we found the shop that sold it, the bottle had an expiry date on it which was sometime last year!

On this last leg of the “march to Nandi”, we had to stop many times as our tiredness had just shifted gears to exhaustion! One would expect that when somebody reaches a long sought after goal, there would be woops of joy and bursts of cracker or at least a general ululation to the skies. But since we were mature adults, we rode in like zombies. Dog tired zombies!

The time was 11 A.M. By then, Shyam and I were seriously thinking about putting our cycles in the bus and riding back till Hebbal. But as we were seriously discussing about this America-Iraq like problem with ramifications that included starting the third world war, the bus quietly left.

With our bridges burnt, there was no choice but to pedal our way to glory. Steel entered our hearts and we didn’t stop for the next 10 kilometers.
Shyam’s list of woes ran thus
1) A painful (possibly arthritic) knee
2) Shoulder muscles that could be used as jelly
3) A lower back that looked like it never gonna be straight again

But none of the above discouraged him. What however did discourage him was the friction… between his bottom and the cycle seat. The seat was rubbing away at what little he had and this was upsetting him no end. His solution to the problem however showed all the ingenuity of an engineering mind. He filled our small bag with grass, tied the bag on the seat and used it as cushion! The grass was the first martyr of our little green revolution.

My list of woes was plain old leg ache and a thigh that felt like a hundred little men chipping away at it.

Learning1: Heart of steel and legs of water are incompatible.

The last straw on our feeble backs was the wind. It blew as if in the Alchemist and even on downward slopes we had to pedal hard. Finally, after about 10 more grueling kilometers I flopped down on a small road side barrier. This was a terrific co-incidence, coz the last time when we both had tried to walk till Nandi Hills* it was on the opposite side of the road at the very same place that we had flopped down like this!

We swallowed our pride and dialed out to Rajeesh and others to come pick us up. The very same guys whom we had abused on our way here! Yes, God works in strange ways!

Learining2: A tired body has no ego.

Finally it was Kamal who attended our rescue call. But it would take him another hour to reach. During this time we dragged ourselves to the nearest hotel and had our afternoon meal… at 3 P.M. We had cycled 80 kilometers by then, far short of the 120 we planned.

Kamal came in his Maruti Swift, (it has good mileage, else one can only wonder about India’s oil bill!) We had a tough time packing both the cycles into Kamal’s car. Unfortunately, there was no room for us! We had to take a bus back. It turned out to be three busses and an hour and a half journey (No comments about the oil bill)

But our ordeal hadn’t ended, the cycles were taken to Pullachens place in Bellandur and we had to ride back to home from there a good 8 kilometers. We only took the rented cycle back leaving mine at his place. I pedaled half and Shyam pedaled half, with Pullachen kind enough to drop us each on his bike (Oil bills come and oil bills go! Haven’t we in India seen all this, eh?) to our respective destinations.

Finally we made it home and were given a heroes welcome, with dancing girls and free beer… don’t mind me, I am just hallucinating.

I applied some sort of cream on my muscles and on the back side of the tube, it said petroleum something. My last thought, before I fell asleep was… “Screw that bill!”

*Yes, twice we had tried to walk up to Nandi.


Blogger N!$#@N^# said...

hahaha absolutely funny... i missed this big time...

we will go when i am back ..
i liked the gras part.. made me laugh so much... what kind of an idea was that.... that grass might ve burned right away.. i bet he had a burning sensation also .... :))))

i can't stop laughing..

5:46 PM  
Blogger Abraham Menacherry said...

nishu: we will go when you are back... in the friggin car!!!
That grass idea was a classic... another legend about shyam after the "I wont repeat it" I guess...:D

10:58 PM  
Blogger Amal Ghosh said...

this was good .. U have tried walking and and cycling to nandi hills.. so what is next ?

1:30 PM  
Blogger Reflections said...

Heeeheee this was really funny.
Even I've been to Nandi Hills so many times...but never attempted cycling..infact it never crossed my mind...bikes it was...all the way:-D

3:34 PM  
Blogger Primitive Lyric said...

Hey Confused Mallu!
Funny post. Enjoyed reading it!

P.S: If you're wondering who i am, i wandered it, via Anooja's blog!

1:23 PM  

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