Riding, Driving or backpacking…

To be frank, this is an elongated answer to a prospective friend on why I don’t ride a bike.

The question came like this…

The friend is a biker and I told her “And I don’t know how to ride a bike”. The reply was “You must be a car person”. For which I couldn’t find a reply short enough to ensure that the listener or reader is not bored. Hence I thought I should write it here where people have a choice to read or not to read. If someone wants to choose boredom, they should have the right to do so…

So coming back to riding, I do ride a Honda Activa scooter in Delhi and another Honda Activa when in Kerala, and just like Kanjiram, you can make a statue of me sitting on the Honda Activa when you decide to build a temple for me…

But, I don’t ride a real bike with gear and all and the story starts in upper primary school.

Once, when I was in 7th class, my uncle met with an accident. He was an avid biker, and those days had various models of Hero Honda bikes in the market. He was also one of the founder members of Vypeen Island Twowheelers Association(VITA). So, he met with an accident, and fortunately, nothing was serious, but he got several layers of skin peeled off from his arms which refused to heal for about a month or so. The accident happened because of a pothole in the darkest corner of the road where street lights were not working when he was returning after a late night movie. The uncle in question is the youngest brother of my mother and was also a favourite brother to her.

Now, what do this accident has to do with my riding? The uncle told my parents ‘teach the kids to drive, not to ride’ and according to him riding was too risky even if we are careful. I think he said it in a moment of emotion because he himself bought another bike later and continued biking for a longer time. But this statement had a bearing on my parents mind for a longer period than needed.

I learned to drive when I was 13 years old. I was studying in 8th class, and Nazar known as Nani, an experienced driver of a senior lawyer who also assists my father with his driving skills sometimes, decide to teach me to drive in our old second hand Ambassador car after school hours. Later, after I was 18, I joined a local driving school to ensure that I can drive in ‘H’ shape to get a license for driving Light Motor Vehicle.

We had an old Hero Honda RS 100 also at that time. Nani was of the opinion that people should learn to ride two wheelers also, and even three wheelers (Auto Rikshaws used as local taxis). He wanted to teach me riding once when I was comfortable with driving. It must be when I was in 9th class or 8th class. We started the lessons and riding was difficult compared to driving because I was not big enough support the weight of the bike at that age(I was a small kid, one of the smallest kid in my class room). And then the worst happened!

One fine morning when we woke up and was getting ready to go to school, the bike was not in the garage. It was stolen. My bike lessons stopped there and I never learned to ride afterwards.

During my college days, I could have learned to ride, but I never did, for unknown reasons. But once while I went to an uncle’s house in Kaloor and had to visit another uncle nearby, the uncle insisted me to take his Kinetic Honda for the commute. When I told him I don’t ride, he told me it is as easy as bicycling and insisted me to ride. That was perhaps my first riding experience or experiment which I found to be easy.

Thereafter I got a licence for driving two-wheeler added to my existing licence to drive LMV. The test for riding two-wheeler was done with an M80 scooter with gear, used by a driving school in the area, and they have adjustments to ensure that the vehicle responds perfectly irrespective of the gear in which we have put it. So, I got a licence to ride a two-wheeler with gear.

In between, I had got a Honda Activa and I enjoyed riding it to the core. I used to travel to my college which was one and a half hours away from my home, on this scooter. I used to take the scooter even I. The late-night far away rides and I never hesitated to ride.

Then I got a red coloured Maruti 800. I started alternating between riding and driving. I enjoyed both and it continued for a few years.

Me, on my friend’s bullet, a posed click.

In between, I met with a few minor accidents but nothing was relevant. But there was an accident that I actually remember. I was so overconfident about my driving skills and in an attempt to overtake a truck, my car came face to face with a bus on a curve. There was nothing to do!

The bus driver had better presence of mind and he steered away from me and hit an electric post and stopped just before falling to a well. Thereafter I mellowed down and became a careful driver.

Then I shifted to Delhi, I had no cars and scooters here. So never used to drive or ride, and I forgot the pleasure altogether. In due course of time when I shifted my place of job, the buses were less between my house and office, though the distance was hardly 2 kilometres and I was forced to invest in a scooter again. Thus I started riding the scooter again.

In the meantime, the schedules got busier, and when I go home for vacations I had to travel a lot and I was forced to drive again and I started driving when in Kerala.

So, now I do drive occasionally, ride gearless vehicles regularly, has a licence for geared two-wheelers, but don’t ride them.

Finally, coming to my choice of travelling, I prefer to be a backpacker, using the public conveyance, with free hands to focus and shoot when I feel like. Even if I have to travel in a rented car or family car, if possible, I prefer to switch myself into the backpacker mode, with a camera in my hands…

Perhaps, I have become Lazy…

Forwarded as received…

Webqoof: “webqoof is one who believes every word or information on the Internet and Social Media is true”

Yes, I too am getting a minimum of 10 forwards a day, on WhatsApp or other messaging apps. Some of them tell me about self CPCR(Cardio Pulmonary Cerebral Resuscitation) if I get a cardiac arrest when alone, some talks about the HIV patient who dropped few drops of blood into the soft drink, some about a new monster which was spotted in a nearby forest or lake. It is an endless list, that began with God and Satan many years back in the era of snail mail.

In those olden times, it was postcards or notices with a message from the Almighty. The God even used to keep a register at those times to write down, how many people took 20 copies of his message and redistributed it, and how many people ignored his message. He used to deposit money in accounts of people who shared the message and he used to get contract killers for those who ignored to forward the message.

Then the mails became emails, and the forwards became easier, just a click away. Gods continued their business. But, there was stiff competition from philanthropy messages. It states that if you forward this mail to 100 people the child in the photo will be given 10 Rupees by Yahoo and that will be added to 10lakh that is needed to perform a surgery on the child. The internet philanthropists contributed forwards and soon the child became a millionaire and with the left over money after surgery, she bought a private island in Caribbeans and also invested in shares of Apple and Microsoft.

And then came the era of short messages and various internet messengers cum chat applications. More children needed surgeries and each forward was paid again. The old world gods also came back with their photographs to be forwarded, or the photo of a cloud with their resemblance to be forwarded. Now they discarded the registers because google analytics was sufficient for them to track the number of forwards and they continued with blessings based on forwards.

But it was soon realised that the market value for gods and child needing surgery is coming down. Thus emerged health advisories and technical advisories through forwards. Most of them were in clear details of what is the issue and what can be the solution. Suddenly all of us become healthier and wealthier. Even newspapers publish them after the editor gets a forward through WhatsApp.

I also learned to do CPCR on myself if I am unconscious due to heart attack when alone, I learned to enter my ATM pin reverse if attacked in ATM, I stopped drinking Frooti because every week the same HIV patient in Frooti factory in Gurugram, mixes his blood to Frooti, so on and on and on. Always, these pieces of advice were from experts in the field. Commissioner of Delhi Police, Chief Medical Officer of Mayo Clinic USA, senior cardiologist of Appolo Hospital Chennai, a senior oncologist of AIMS etc. So I had no choice other than to follow all these. I had to stop eating eggs and cabbages because they are made with plastic and sold by Chinese in India.

Thus, I became a webqoof among crores and crores of webqoofs.

PS: If you forward this article to 25 persons, you will be blessed with a weekend after every five days. If you forward this to 100 people, you will get 4 weekends per month and If you ignore this, your WhatsApp will be blocked, Facebook will be hacked and SIM card will be deactivated.

PS to PS:
Before every forward read and think, whether it is logical. If it seems logical, ask a friend who learned that subject. If your friend confirms it, just do a google search (There are sites like hoax slayer who reports hoax forwards). If you don’t want to take all these pains, don’t forward it. Important messages are announced by official bodies through a newspaper, not through WhatsApp or Facebook.

A Penguin’s First Swim…

The Penguin species breed in large colonies for protection, ranging from 200 to hundreds of thousands of birds. At the end of mating season, there will be hundreds of baby penguins in the nursery, ready to go out into the harsh world.

But the first swim in the real world is not only exciting but also fearsome. The predators of the sea know the mating season and are eagerly awaiting for the first swim of the babies. They know that the babies with weaker wings can be easily captured and devoured.

The babies are also anxious as they have to venture into the hitherto unknown territory. They don’t know what all nasty surprises are sneaking below the water surface.

Hence, the babies instead of jumping into the water and swimming crowds together at the cliff adjoining to the sea, afraid to jump. Everyone tries to push the other into the sea, to see what might happen, unwilling to jump themselves while trying to defend the push from others.

Once a penguin falls and others see that everything is fine, one by one baby penguins jumps into the water.  The ones who are already in water encourages others to join, perhaps because the strength of numbers will help in confusing the predators. Or, perhaps because the ones in the sea know that the predators can be outswum if you are good enough. They also know that now or later everyone has to explore the sea for survival.

You may be wondering why I said this long story of penguins. The same is applicable to marriages also, at least in India. Every one of your unmarried friend wants to push you into the marriage life. Those who are married encourages you to jump in. However you may resist, you have to get married now or later.

It is only a question of time!