Friday, February 1, 2008


When I rode a bicycle as a child and then as an early teenager, I saw a lot of bicycles around me. When I rode a bicycle, bicycles were important things. I saw a large number of people riding their own, it made me wonder why the elder people don't ride it swashbuckling swiftly the way I did. Probably they underestimated their bicycle's thrill value, was what I often concluded to myself. Then I stopped using one. And before I could realise, or more appropriately, pay any heed, they were gone. They weren't to be seen in schools, or in college streets. They weren't even thought about, except in irritation when some sluggishly moving bicycle with an old man on top of it, or a trembling one ridden by a kid, either hindered my speed or blocked my way for a second; and I thought of them as mere nuisance for those, like me, on their respective vehicles out for some real, valuable, get-things-done work. So, effectively, I didn't want to think about them when I thought about them, and for the most part I actually didn't think about them. They were as if they were not. Today, as I was walking down a road after my own assessment of people having had stumped me, I was quite unsure of myself, actually still am. For a while it was as if all strong opinions I had formed in these years were falling down on me after having completed their way up against gravity. I was unsure of the wisdom I always thought I was only too comfortable with. A bomb alert at that time wouldn't perhaps have diverted my mind from my own perplexity, but after I sat down on the pavement I saw a bicycle travel inches from me at great speed. I somehow felt that this kid looked like I did, but was even more sure that this feeling would also turn out to be another absurd figment of my chimera, that I had started trusting over these years. Lazily I turned my head towards it when it was already three cricket pitches from me, and frankly I hardly cared. I turned back again, and a few bicycles passed over again. I stood up, and about-turned to see as far in the horizon as I could, to figure how many more are there coming at me, and there were scores. More than the cars, or the motorbikes. I could instantly see that they were always there, had always been. I could sense that I had grown oblivious, though 'grown' wouldn't be apt to use here. Whilst my cultivated wisdom should have made me more aware, it made me slightly the other way. And I wish I don't become oblivious to bikes when I graduate to cars. Being unsure, ironically, has always taught me more than being sure and confident.

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