Shocked silence greeted me when I identified myself as the bike’s prospective owner at the showroom. Of diminutive appearance, I did not appear up to the task of riding an Royal Enfield let alone a tricycle.
After a few mumbles to recover his stance, the salesman ran me through the choice of colors available.
I had done my research on the bikes made in the stables of this particular brand and needed to make a final decision. The salesman was not really helping my cause. Little did he know that I had grown up around these roaring and beautiful machines.
My first bike was an old Java, when it was neither a type of coffee or a programming language. It was a great bike of its times. We actually, it was my Dad’s bike. Every now and then I would demand to be given my fair share of rides on the mean machine. As I started saying my first words, I used them to make sure the rides lasted longer and longer. My parents did not know how the loud monster could hold any fascination for a little girl. They realized though that I was hooked.
When the Java finally gave out after decades of joyous rides, Dad opted for a sleeker and more ergonomic Hero Honda bike. I had a big say in that choice. I loved the smooth lines, and the uncluttered look. Though my father never ever gave in to my request to ride the bike by myself, he always indulged my hunger to go for a ride with him. This one made much lesser noise and I could hear the wind whistle in my ears. I loved the rides we went on, away from town where the roads opened up, the skies seemed blue-er and the wind blew unfettered. I loved the bike for enabling me to experience these moments of pureness and natural beauty.
We seemed to like the brand, Hero Honda. The next bike I bought, on my Dad’s behalf, was one of its kind. Again a breezy design. This one was more powerful than the first, at my insistence. I would soon be legally eligible to drive and I wanted to cut my teeth on a racy machine.
The learning lessons went well, I took to the bike like a fish to water. Most of my early rides were on country roads. We’d take a nice picnic basket, pack a camera and Dad took the driving seat till we left the city chaos behind. Then I’d take over. Though country roads do not need you to walk a tight rope between other vehicles who do their best to drive you off the road, you really have to watch out for the unexpected. And I have a scar on my chin to prove it.
That buffalo just turned up from nowhere right on to the path I was riding and decided at that very moment, that this spot was nice to stand and gaze. Along we came, crashing headlong into the surprised beast. The bike fell sideways, throwing me and Dad off. The helmet I wore saved my head but could not prevent a loose rock from scratching my chin badly. Dad managed to injure his leg.
And what of the big beast? Well, it just stood there as if a fly had settled on him and without a second glance at us, set off at an easy pace.
Soon it was time for Dad to let go and watch his princess take the machine out for a spin all by herself. With the usual dire warning that only Dad’s can give, I was handed the keys. It was the most joyous day of my life. I could ride to college, I could ride to the umpteen classes I had enrolled in, I could take a friend along and I could ride when I felt like. The bike meant freedom to me in many ways than one. Where girls had posters of their favourite heroes, I had those of the world’s most powerful bikes.
The bike was with me when I applied and got selected for my first job, but sadly it was my turn to let go now. Which brought me to the Royal Enfield showroom a while afterwards. It was the culmination of the passion of my entire life so far. The Royal machine with the famous thunderous firing. I gazed spell bound at the shiny machine, powerful and majestic in appearance. Inviting enough for me to want one right away.
Finally I gave up on the salesman and decided to take things in my own hands. I made my selection, I handed over my hard earned money—a result of many months of savings. The Bike was mine. Mine.
On a cloudy evening, with signs of imminent rain I took possession of my dream bike. Then I took my Dad on a long ride back to those country roads we loved so much.
This is my entry to the The Castrol Power1 Blogging Contest.