Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two wheels & a free spirit


My furnace-like home threatened to roast me like a stuffed turkey on one fine hot Jersey day. I picked up Jay's steely Schwinn in one spontaneous thrust & climbed down the block to rouse my lethargic spirit. Setting my Woodland feet to pedals, I rode out under the stark sunlight racing to the shadows of Johnson Park. Down the Cedar slope, towards the River Road signal, I let the wind caress my shamefully short hair as I closed my eyes to get that fleeting I-am-the-King-of-the-World feeling...

We are at the friendly neighborhood rental bike shop at Kastur Park. Papa chooses a medium size blue bike for me. I run my hand over the dotted handle & ring the shiny bell in delight. My brother sniggers at my impatience as he pets his new brown Atlas Fireshadow. We set off the road to the open ground near Ganpati mandir. It is one of my bicycle lessons. One foot on the pedal, one heave at the handle and I launch myself into the weed ridden, occasional dog-poo infested field uttering a cry of victory; only to notice my dad holding on tight, to the back of my seat. I assure him of my confidence and he lets go. I pedal in circles & eights with my brother crisscrossing my bold advances. Proud of my achievement, I beg Papa to let me ride the new larger-than-my-perky-self Atlas. Smiling at my cluck-clucking brother, Dad gives in. I hastily clamber upon the shiny Fireshadow to check my limb-to-pedal reach. I start wheeling voraciously with Papa running along, his one hand on shirt pocket to save the chillars from popping out. A yard, and a ten; I get myself freed from the clutches of my concerned father, riding into thin air. The sheer joy of speeding under a cotton-laden blue sky & on a wide open land in otherwise cluttered Mumbai breathes life into my pounding heart. I glance behind to see a diminishing figure & try to maneuver a turn to ride into the arms of a proud father. Abrupt decision, shaky hands and fickle gravel shred my calculations and I tilt over to one side hitting the ground with a resounding clunk. As I lie rubbing my wound, I see him, sprinting towards me, coins spilling over....




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When US beckoned me by Siddharth Wagh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

12 comments:

Sharat Chandra said...

you should become a full time writer man !

Jay Takle said...

Loved the phased out ending, imagined a movie scene from the eyes of the actor and then blurring out at the end. Chan ahe, pan atta jara "clouds" baddal lihayla chalu kara mhatla!

Rajat said...

adversity brings emotions also :P ... nice ending.

PoOjA SaGvEkAr said...

Dekha...fanmail zara seriously le. please please take this as a profession, even if its secondary.

V.B. said...

Very nice. :)

Found this blog just recently and have found it quite good. Will continue to follow!

Dreamy Eyed Gal said...

Wonderful post...
I remembered my bicycle lessons :)
...and the last line was really touching. Loved it!

Mohit said...

very nicely written!

Completely agree with Sharat Chandara's comment.

S.Wagh said...

@Pooja, Mohit, Sharat: I guess I should at least consider as a part-time career :)

@all: thanks. the last line was somewhat impromptu :)

@jay: clouds?

@V.B. May I know who this is? Thanx for the compliments :)

V.B. said...

Was thinking of this post again while I flipped over this old Atlas cycle ad the other day. Took a photo to induce more nostalgia for all here:

http://rci.rutgers.edu/~vbajaj/old_chandamama_atlas_ad.jpg

(Sorry, this laptop camera made all the print appear backwards in the image. But you get the idea. ;))



-Vandana

S.Wagh said...

good one Vandana... The chandamama can have a blog post of its own... ;)

Vibz said...

Awesme! BIG fan! *bows* :)

Kunal Shetye said...

Excellent piece of work.
Hats off to your writing skills.
I simply love the way you put down words so lucidly, makes me feel as if I am actually there..! :)