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An Ode To A Journey Of 40 Years

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Jul 2, 2023.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    It has been a looooong journey. Today I said good bye to my companion of 20 years - my Honda Activa. It broke my heart, but what is inevitable, is inevitable. An ode to 40 years of freedom and independence would certainly be in order.

    In the era when I grew up, having a bicycle was a matter of great privilege. People on scooters and cars belonged to another echelon altogether. So when I learned to ride a bicycle, it felt like the whole world and everything in it was mine. The sense of freedom was heady. Of course the bicycle was used only to cycle up and down the street.....till I entered the portals of college. Untii then there was a school bus which was a blessing to my parents - their offspring was taken to school and brought back home without any injury to life or limb.

    Once I stepped into college, the cycle was put to excellent use. It was a hand me down - as my niece once told her Hindi teacher 'mere pardada ki cycle'!!! :-D Yes, indeed it belonged once upon a time to my granddad. He handed it down to my dad. It then served my older sib to go to college. It was modified at that point into a ladies' bicycle. After her, I inherited it and went all over the city on that bike. Of course the 'all over the city' meant a 5 minute ride to college, a 5 minute ride back - about 3-4 times a day - once in the morning for PT, then back home, then for practicals, then home for lunch, then in a free period to feed my face, then back in the evening after classes were over. Any additional rides accrued were to run errands or to visit friends.

    When I went to university for post-graduation, my horizons expanded to 5-10 kms from home. Visits to the libraries of national institutes (NCL, NIV) to gather material were not very viable on a bicycle and I did not have the patience to wait for buses and change at least 2 buses to get to each end. So after much begging and pleading I managed to get a TVS. The old faithful was handed down to my nephew and later to my niece. Thereafter it was handed over to the neighbours kids and I have no idea what happened thereafter. Oh what a delight the TVS was, but that was not too long lived. I realized that it gave a lot of trouble and all the exercise of cycling that was spared was compensated by having to keep cycling on the TVS to start it up. I complained that the TVS rode me instead of vice versa. So eventually I did get a Luna and my dad decided to use the TVS. (I used to tell him to leave it on the road and give 4 anne ka haar aur dakshina to whoever would like to take it. How personally he used to take that!!! :-D) Once I got the Luna, I was totally converted ... into a Lunatic. The good old Luna kept ticking steadfastly - of course, the Luna and I would still take turns at riding each other - taking me all around town even 25 kms away from home and back .... much to the chagrin and disapproval of my mom.

    Once I moved to Bangalore, my luna was used everytime I visited my parents. Eventually it had to be sold off as dad found it hard to maintain it. The Luna was replaced by a Kinetic Spark here in Bangalore. But it was a vehicle without much spark and the spark plug always gave trouble. Eventually in 2002 I got the Activa and it was in my possession until today.

    It served me well. Never gave me any trouble - not once did I have a punctured tyre. I have done upto 60 kms a day on it. However last year, for fear of being knocked down by the maniacs on the road, I decided to get it converted into a handicapped vehicle (with the two extra wheels). I could not afford to jeopardize the integrity of my back. However, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. Driving that vehicle with those two extra wheels needed special balancing tactics and all the pressure of manoeuvring the vehicle had to be taken on by the shoulders. With one frozen shoulder, that proved impossible and I rammed into a divider and landed betweent the vehicle and the divider on the very first day. That was good bye to driving the two wheeler. Good bye to my independence. No more rides with my mind trying to beat the speed of the Activa, with the wind blowing into my face .... :-( Now have to be at the mercy of the whims of Uber or Ola drivers. The vehicle was handed over to someone who needed a vehicle today. it was a treat to see their 5 year old kid beaming ear to ear and waving as they took off. That was the only consolation to the whole story. I don't have to pay to maintain the vehicle which stands unused anymore. It will hopefully serve the new owner well. It still has a good 20 years life in it, as it is in sterling condition. Sukhi raho meri Activa! Jeeti raho.

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    Last edited: Jul 2, 2023
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  2. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Sachi,
    I too had the experience of cycle. It is bought by the gift money we used to get when grandparents or other relatives visited us and gift money we got from my parents when getting good marks. Finally when cycle arrived it was like a Mercedes Benz for me!
    Syamala
     
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  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Hi Syamala,

    so good to hear from you! No Mercedes Benz could ever give that joy one felt when one got a cycle of our own, be it new, a hand me down or even a rented one!
     
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  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    At his age of seventy, my late father in law used to struggle in the same manner with his tvs scooter . Once it picked up so soon and so unexpectedly, from his residence that it dashed against compound wall of opposite building and he got saved by skin of his teeth injuring only a toe.

    Cycling remind me of my day two learning cum riding hired bicycle in peak evening traffic ridden Mylapore. By blood froze when i was riding with closed eyes while two large buses going on opposite directions almost grazing me. My God i remained straight on my seat lest i would have git sandwiched.

    for many years, i didn’t attempt riding cycle. As a day-scholar in the vicinity of college and inside college complex i need to own and ride bicycle again for three years. Cycle came handy to get parked close to large open window to hop into ongoing class at ground floor for attendance and quick exit.

    In urban cities excepting Munbai, it is nonsense to follow traffic signs and regulations. In Chennai one would find hiw danderous it is to follow rules of the road. In one way street one would find many two wheelers come in opposite direction and they derive delectable joy ruding their scooter or bike over pedestrian side walk which is occupied by stray cattles or and by cars/autos .

    Clues for frozen shoulder is in the image posted here. Pillion’s right palm on your right shoulder! ..had that vehicle regn number (thoughtfully) not blocked One could hv traced you. Front Tyre treads reveals tyre still brand new less used.
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Migration from Bicycle to TVS to Luna to Activa is a great progress. Any autorickshaw driver or Uber driver will be happy to have you as a passenger as you are friendly and tip them well. Commute in Bangalore needs a small vehicle and once you outsource it to someone else, at least, you don't have any mental impact other than the anxiety of getting to the destination safely. At least, you are not worried about your flexibility to navigate through traffic.

    Nowadays, most work is done at home but still the traffic is not dying down. You have at least planted enough trees/plants to compensate for the CO2 emission you were responsible for.

    Note: I thought we can't post our photographs in IL. You may be excused as your intention is to post your Activa and not yourself. :)
     
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  6. umaakumar

    umaakumar Gold IL'ite

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    Wonderful write up. Owning a vehicle gives you a lot of independence.
    I never learnt to ride a two wheeler. All my sister's did. My sister's would drop off their child in school and pick up and later the bought a car.
    I knew I missed something.
    When my daughter was in the 5th standard I got her a cycle. From 6 th grade she went on the cycle. The in college she got a kinetic Honda.
    Many people would ask me, if I am not worried to send her in a two wheeler. Though worried I wanted her to have her independence.
    Once out of college she learnt to drive a car. She bought one after getting a job.
    You write up brought back the old memories
     
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  7. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

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    All my siblings also learnt to ride cycles even before they entered their teens, but I couldnt - I would keep falling off and I gave it up too easily! So, I walked and walked and walked everywhere or used autos, cabs, buses for school, college, office, everything !

    Fast forward to one hot day when my dear darling son was 5, we were walking back from school (hardly 600m) - he didnt complain, but it was really really really HOT! (Chennai then !)

    ANNND my maternal instincts completely overpowered my fear of driving!!
    The very next day, I dropped him at the school and walked to the nearest ATM, withdrew 40k and crossed to the nearest TVS showroom and bought my scooty pep+ !!
    When the shop guy came to deliver, I didnt even know how to hold the handle or park it properly!

    The entire next month, everyday my Dear husband took me to an open place and sat down with a book :rage: while I would just drive around and try not to fall down! I kept wondering if I will ever get the confidence to drive on the roads!

    And one day a call came from son's school - he was sick!
    Oh no, I couldnt get an auto, he wont be able to walk back - let me take my scooty!
    That day, when I brought him home in that desperate situation, I got the confidence that I can drive!

    After that it has been easy - it has been 14 years since then, my scooty is still my saathi! All after-school classes, grocery, vegetables, friends homes - me and my scooty had a great run!
    But, nowadays that same thought runs through me too - "My back is more important, what if I fall!"
    Yes, I have thought about adding those wheels - but now I have learnt from your experience that it would not solve the problem! Thank you for that!
    Since I have always worked mostly online and my DH does the grocery shopping nowadays, travel is not an everyday occurrence!

    Currently, in Bangalore, walking is still easier than fighting the traffic!
    I prefer the rapido bikes for shorter distances, and autos/cabs for longer distances!

    Of course these rapido bikes are a bit "modern" - read "speed"
    - I tell the driver - see kanna/beta (although my DH claims I dont look a day over 30, I do have a 19 yo beta, so I have the right)
    I say - Kanna/beta - you are like my son, so please drive as if your mother is sitting behind you :tonguewink:

    Thanx @satchitananda for your interesting journey! You inspired me to write my own story and I enjoyed my nostalgia while writing it!

    Keep smiling
    HR
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2023
  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    Scooter number is covered and so there are less chances of any one attempting to trace OP. Helmet covers almost the face besides specs. But I presume the image is not of of OP Whose right shoulder reported frozen!
     
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  9. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Some times a little things triggers us to take up something. Your son's walking in the hot sonn did that to you. And always the first step is difficulty. Subsequent steps follow easily.
    Syamala
     
  10. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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