Sometimes it’s odd how the most insignificant seeming things start to bother us, isn’t it? I take a quick look at the day’s tabloids from back home and almost nowhere is there a mention of Tharoor now focusing on road repair works in his constituency. Its unimportant to me personally, I know. It does not affect my daily routine but it still bothers me that the clown fest we call ‘Indian Media’ decides to stop giving him more mileage until he does something spicy like decides to start his own version of the IPL called TPL – Tharoor’s Premiere League. Or announces a book called “My experiments with lies”. Weird. I guess I should care about the fellow only as much as he cares about me but it is perhaps in these meaningless nothings that mundane lives like yours and mine finds its solace.
But back to what has caught my thoughts lately. As a way to finally get an exercise regiment going and to continue finding ways of blending into the local culture more, Jaya and I decided to buy a bicycle last week. As would have been expected, I took my chances with this new found delight of ours and went up and down our apartment building’s backyard (a miniscule distance of about a 100 meters really) a few times to ‘test drive’ Rocky. And there in lies the objective of my thoughts – the pedal brake.
Now, here in Denmark, for some unfathomable reason, cycles have this bizarre concept called a ‘pedal brake’. What is it? Well it’s a brake that kicks in when you pedal backwards. Yes! Imagine that! Horror of horrors!
Back in an Internet-less and cable TV-less India, the only activity I remember being absolutely obsessed with was cycling. Oh how I would zip through the neighborhood – up the steep streets of Basaveswarnagar, down the rocky paths of Rajajinagar, past the dusty corners of Magadi Road. Ah – bliss. My modest red colored Hero Ranger was a beauty! I still remember the day dad had brought home that magical piece from Raja Cycles in N.R.Road in Bangalore. With sweat dripping down my spine I would huff and puff my way into the house, kick away the slippers and run in for a quick bath before diving in to do homework or watching good old Doordarshan.
Now, during these eventful years, the one thing I remember enjoying more than actually flying forward with the mean machine was pedaling backwards. There was something cool about being able to move forward by accelerating backwards. Like a good old magician’s fascinating trick. It was like defying gravity or challenging the laws of mathematics. Fascinating indeed. In fact, that solitary action might have been the most enjoyable thing I can recall from my cycling days. And now, as I took my test drive with this new age punk called Rocky, it dawned upon me that pedaling backwards to go forward wasn’t an option anymore. I had to keep myself focused towards moving forward or staying still. No backwards movements here. No sir. If you attempt it, you stop. And rather rudely too!
Notwithstanding its blatantly obvious metaphorical value in today’s India, I did have to conclude that it was all about learning new tricks about the old dog. A relearning that truly brought back memories.