Monday, 23 July 2007

My take on riding motorcycles

I, Dhairya Gupta have been riding a bike since 1997. I always loved to just ride the bike. Something just inspired me put my thoughts together what it means to me. When I started riding the bike, I had just got into Class XII. I was preparing for my IIT-JEE and had never even come close to as much studying as I was doing at that time. Finally I had a dream, a driving force which would make me push myself to the limit. But with great ambition, hard work, expectations came stress. They were the most stressful days and it was hard coping with it. But every time I would put myself on my Yamaha, kick start the 2-stroke engine and revved it, the stress would vanish. It was like being uplifted to new levels of ecstasy. The best part about having power the twist of your wrist is ‘freedom’. You are free from the clutches of the world, free from the cacophony of people, stresses of life. The ride upto my school or my coaching centre used to be a short one. But it had stretches where I would reach break neck speeds, ran the risk of colliding with an unexpected visitor in the road, the risk of life but just the feel of wind on my body was enough not only to dry the sweat but the tensions got evaporated as well. Does every person who’s riding a bike thinks the way I do? Not really. Like most other things, it could mean differently to different people. There are no right and wrongs in it. For most of the people in this country it is just an inexpensive, reliable and convenient means of transport used for commuting for work, visiting tens of clients in a day to meet targets, go out with the entire family to the nearest restaurant for a family dinner. These masses would very willingly switch to cars given chance and money to own one. They are right in there own way. Why eat dust and smoke if you could afford the luxury of a car. Then there are people who use the bike to ‘show off’ either in front of the opposite sex or to just be recognized in their friends. They might not necessarily like riding a bike but would show they are ‘cool’ and happening by seen on two wheels. This breed got a lot of inspiration and new recruits after movies like DHOOM. They normally do not care much about the safety and responsibility which comes with a bike. They ride without helmets because helmets are either to be hung on the arms, or on the helmet lock or even if they wear it, its only when they see a policeman lurking around. After all helmet hides there ‘John Ibrahim’ looks. Don’t they? They think they are immortal and look at safety with blithe. They are right in their own way, after all does it matter for how long you stay on planet earth. ‘Show Off’ until the show ends. Then there are ‘bikers’, for whom bikes mean everything. Bikes is the first and the last word in the dictionary. For them it is just the pleasure of being in the company of their steeds which makes them a different person altogether. They love their machines. They know that with great power comes great responsibility. They might ride fast, might do stunts but always keep their and other’s safety in mind, take all due precautions, they know how to control the bike. They are the breed which took the two wheels from just being just a mode of transport to an engineering marvel. Just riding on open roads consummates their very existence. I am one of those. Touring on bike. Probably this is the passion I live for now. When I tour on two wheels, I face the elements of nature in their raw form, feel the winds at 100 kmph., smile at each corner, concentrate on the road for hours on stretch, see miles being eaten up and experience blessedness. Its not an easily acceptable hobby. It enjoys maximum opposition from the family, astonishments from friends and awe from acquaintances. People say its stupidity to embark on a long voyage on two wheels given all the comfortable modes of transport. People just try to grab you and pin you down to their abysmal levels of mediocrity by saying it is not the best idea to cover 500 odd kms. in a day on a ‘bike’. But then who was last who felt really excited about going on a bus journey? Who was the last person who smiled, jumped with joy and felt elated after seeing a train which would take him on his holiday and when was last someone savoured Airlines food and did not crib about the long queues and procedures of boarding a plane? I think no one would have this answer because this never happened. When was last a biker was sad because he had to go on a trip on his bike? It’s a passion which is lived through the heart. Touring is an experience where the journey is the destination. You need courage and attitude to start a tour and brains to complete it successfully. Its matter of choice whether you want to live everyday like just another day or whether everyday means the first day for the rest of your lives. While riding my bike, the real person in me is unleashed, it tranquillizes the bad energies within me. When you ride on the roads, when every curve poses a new challenge, when you become a part of the nature, when the scenery fades only to re-emerge in a new form, when the smell of earth is more soothing than the most expensive of perfumes, when the rain pierces your body, when the journey is what you look forward to, when vehicles ahead soon become a spec on rear view mirrors, that is when you realise the power of biking. The smiles on the face of village children, the awe in the eyes of the eternal youth, the stare from the driver you just overtook, the thumbs up from the truck driver, the racing by the city riders in towns you cross makes every journey a memorable one. For every rider, the BHP matters but what matters most is the enthusiasm in the wrist twisting the throttle, the quickness in the foot shifting the gears, the force inside the body balancing the bike, the concentration in the eyes fixed on the roads and the strength of mind controlling all this. The torque is the driving force for the bike but for the ebullient rider it is the courage which pushes him to the limits of beautitude. Riding a bike spells freedom for the body and soul. Riding the two wheels is let out of energy within, it channelises the underlying thoughts and ideas, the deep rooted ambition. If we look around we hardly see any true biker who does not have a creative side to his personality, be it in form of art, writing, singing or any other. It does to me what music does to a lot of people, the absolute arousal of the cerebera. For me nothing would ever replace the passion of biking. Biking is insanity but then sanity is the virtue of the underprivileged.

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