Nostalgic About Bikes

April 30th, 2012, 9am

One fine morning the Security Supervisor brought a Kabadiwala to my office as per my request to find one. The Kabadiwala introduced himself as a Marwadi and he was briefed by my intermediary on the purpose of his visit. He later clarified his surname was Marwadi and he was not boasting of being one.

The reason why he was standing in front me with a feeble look and carelessness towards a television set behind him which was beaming live speech of Indian Finance Minister was very emotional. I was parting with something that was with me for the last 20 years. It came to be in 1993 and exactly 20 years later, I was emotionally detaching from it.

No, dont come to any conclusions. It was my bike which was no more in use since the last year or so and I had no choice but to condemn it.

The Bike that I used for 20 long years is no more with me. Condemned

The price on offer (olx and quickr doesnt accept these type of bikes right?) was Rs 2000. There was no point in bargaining. I fixed the deal. But there was a catch. The bike is registered in my brother’s name for the sake of getting a loan. In 1993, the loan scenario was reverse to what it is today. We had to chase banks to get a loan. The paper work was so huge that sometimes I wondered how Indians are so laborious to be taking so much pain. Me included. I got a recommendation from a bank manager to pass the loan quickly. Today the loan is passed before the bike reaches your home.

Now to add insult to injury, my bro got shifted to Mumbai and he insisted he will take the bike and register with Thane RTO. I did the paper work with a local RTO agent here in Ahmedabad and got the transfer papers. We transported the bike to Mumbai. Carelessness has been the hallmark of my bro and keeping his standards very high, he craftily lost the papers before he could register the vehicle in Thane. And yes, to rub salt to injury, he left for the US leaving the bike in Mumbai. I took it back to Ahmedabad with great care and started using it gleefully. The sudden separation for a few months had weakened me mentally and physically. I lost 3 kilos in bargain trying to start the Bajaj Super that I had. I tried to re-register with Ahmedabad RTO but I was told I need a certificate from Thane that it was never registered there. So as all Amdavadis do, I tried a short cut. I approached a friend of mine who stayed near RTO. He in turn, approached a purportedly agent who roamed around the RTO for petty works. He told me to prepare an affidavit instead that the bike did not get registered anywhere in India. I did it and got it signed from my bro in the US. I gave the book and affidavit to this guy whose name I dont remember now. For the next one year, neither my friend nor me had any idea where this guy was. Ultimately we came to know he was caught by the police for some petty crime and was in Jail for close to an year as un under trial. He seems to have thoroughly enjoyed his stint at the jail as he was explaining everything about his colleagues at the jail. But he was not mentioning my ROC Book. He promised to return it next week.

The next week never came and he kept looping in and out of jail and I lost contact with him altogether. I was left with a photo copy of the book instead.

“Sir, the papers,” Marwadi quipped in breaking my quick flashback. Instead I offered him an undertaking which he agreed with both hands, eyes and legs. I asked for his identity and he gave me his PAN card which started with a word Acharya. “Yes sir, I am a Brahmin,” he responded to my querry on difference of names in his visiting card and PAN Card. Caste and religion plays a major role in any business, I know but I would have given the bike to him even if he was not a brahmin.

He gave me two thousand rupee note and I handed him the key, last time I was touching the key which used to rub shoulders with my body for couple of decades. It was worn out but still shining. The steel in it had disappeared and it now looked past its prime. But it had the capacity to take me farther.

I made him sign the papers that any eventuality hereafter anything happens with any parts of the bike - including usage in any blasts or accident etc - I will not be responsible. I translated and read out to him. He nodded his head again indifferent to various fiscal deficit measures P Chidambaram was announcing behind his back.

It was time to bid the farewell. It was parked at my office. For the last two years, my office boy used it for official purpose. But then the burden on him for repairs increased and he gave up and bought a new one. I preferred not to see it for the last time. With tears in my eyes, I handed him the key and asked it to be taken away. By evening or latest by tomorrow, it will be broken into pieces and melted.

With full condolences to the bereaved bike, my memories goes back to the era when bike was a luxury. It had transported me from nook and corner of the city to intra city rides very comfortably. Not once it had ditched me. Was always loyal. The tyre that we race are the tyre you buy is an MRF catch line. But not once the tyres were changed. Wrinkles were not visible at all and there were few internal injuries as well.

Today when I see the planes of Vijay Mallya vanish in thin air, petrol pumps of Reliance disappears immediately after construction, value of human beings eroded, huge scams unfolded I remember the loyalty this bike had given me. At the time of departure too, the bike was smiling and was youthful and charming. Why I didnt keep it for archeological value will always remain a mystery with me just as the Godhra training burning or Akshardham shooting.

And by the way, I am left with no bike now.

Originally Published on my blog Just a nostalgic reproduction

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Binu Alex

Jack of all master of none. Reckless Thinker, Bad writer, Tech lover, Safe Driver in Dry Republic of Gujarat. 2 decades in print, web and radio. Unglorified tweeter. No Admirers. Unlimited Foes, Endless envy. Not to be loose shunted

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