Vahini’s tryst with locomotory machines started in her early teens. As precisely as she could recollect, she had miserably failed to peddle a bicycle in a straight line. While her younger siblings had started doing short sorties in their large front yard, she could barely cover a few feet. All her attempts to take control of the poor bicycle had resulted in crashed landings on the innumerable potted plants, destroying them in single hits. The beautiful pots were immediately moved to the terrace to prevent any more damage from Vahini’s riding assaults. She didn’t even spare the well-manicured lawn tearing and erasing lush green grass creating small ditches all over.
After encouraging for a few days, the family members grew wary about Vahini’s bicycle ride debacles and gave up on her. Even the canine family members were damn excited as all the siblings learned to ride. The doggies were first curious and excited to see the siblings practice riding and run behind the zipping bicycles. But Vahini’s numerous crashes only startled the dogs so much that they used to growl and bark at her every fall. Making Vahini even more anxious. So for doggies’ well-being, Vahini’s father ordered to chain the poor pups for the period Vahini practiced.
It was too much. You see, Vahini had to peddle, maneuver the handle in the proper direction, use the brake lever at the appropriate time. And most importantly, she had to balance the cycle while doing all these necessary complicated actions. She could never use the brakes at the right moment, even when everybody around gave her cues to stop peddling or use the brakes. Uh oh! what a herculean task!
Every single time, it was like she would push the kickstand and mount the bicycle in style and with all the confidence. Peddle a few minutes, and it was zoom, boom, and thud. Ayyo, yes, every single time!!
Add to all this was added peer pressure along with the pet puppies crushing loud yapping. And in between all this, every time she sat on the bicycle seat, her very creative mind imagined that she rode straight into their open well.
Fed up of all the bruises and worried about her father’s wrath, she had finally abandoned the idea of happiness of a bicycle ride… Most notably, her imagined fear of riding into the well was the sole reason for such a drastic decision. At least for that moment and for everyone’s relief, including the pets. Hmmm. But privately, she dreamt of flying, not just this bicycle, but every transport machine that mankind ever invented. But for the time being, she kept her dreams to herself and tried to concentrate on her studies which she was good at. She told herself, “It’s Okay…I will learn one day. I will, I will conquer every automobile..crane to a plane.
Vahini’s inability to use a transport device resurfaced again when her siblings and her degree classmates started using the Luna. The whole middle-class India was enamored with this new moped, a hybrid between a cycle and a motorcycle. Along with India, their household also upgraded themselves, saying “Chal meri, Luna” and riding “The Safalata Ki Sawari.”
The dream of “happiness on a bicycle” was rekindled every time she saw someone zip by on their Luna. But, she somehow could never garner enough courage to kick start the Blue Luna stationed beside their Premier Padmini. What to do…In addition to all the problems she faced, learning and controlling the humble bicycle, she also had to control the speed. She felt an enormous amount of pressure building up her capillaries, even with just the thought of taking a ride within their premises. And to her utter annoyance and unease, her friends and her younger siblings were already taking four-wheeler driving classes. She knew very well that they would step on the gas and zip around the whole of Hyderabad very soon.
One fine day after the post-grad last exam, Vahini decided, “Enough of this, to be timid and scared. Now is the time.” She gathered all her courage and sat on the seat with great determination. While her siblings authoritatively guided her with the workings of the moped. For her good fortune this time, there were no falls and freaks. “Ahh!! What a feeling!!” She exclaimed, taking a mini spin within the boundaries of their home. When she seemed slightly comfortable riding within the home boundaries of their front yard, the siblings suggested that she take the moped out on the road.
Vahini was looking forward to testing her skills on the road…at least in the bylanes first, if not the main roads. However, that did not happen. The very next day, a prospective groom with his family came over to see Vahini. And as luck would have it, the boy and the girl were advised and encouraged by their respective families, fell in love at first sight.
To be continued…stay tuned to be with Vahini’s adventures with the wheels.
Content Copyrights: This Adbhut Life!
10, Kartika Krishna Paksha, Dashami 2078 Aananda, Vikrama Samvata Singapore, 31October 2021