My story begins with not a bicycle but a Tricycle. Yes, the one that had three wheels. No, I'm not talking about NOW. This was the beginning of my love affair for anything with wheels.Although my memory of those days on the trike are hazy, some incidents are vividly engraved, like the memory of I going round and round in my small compound of my middle-class home (surprisingly, in which I still live in. Surprising because I always thought I'd have to move to another place or even another city once I get a job, anyways, that topic's for another day) without a care in the world! Aaah... Miss those days.
Then came the bicycle when I was in the 1st standard. Complete with a Banana seat, a set of training wheels and painted with a dual tone of bright red and white, it stole my imagination. This was the first cycle on which I learnt to ride a two-wheeler. This was bought from Vellore and was transported all the way to Bangalore, after my holidays got over and I had to return. I very vividly remember the back alleys of this small town in which my Uncle lived until (until a few years ago) where I used to practice on this cycle with training wheels on.
Even today, it is hilarious, when I run the film in my mind, of how my uncles, aunts, grandma, mom, everyone used to run behind me when I first took of those training wheels, to prevent me from falling. To the best of my memory, ironically, I never remember falling while trying to learn but remember a lot of accidents after I had finished learning. This bicycle was probably my only "grand" birthday gift ever! Sorry, Mom & Dad, if you remember giving me anything else, but my memory fails me.
Usually, most of my gifts were from my uncle. He used to travel to Bangalore and surprise me every single time. I used to always look forward to the holidays to go visit him or keep secretly wishing for him to visit us so that I can get all the things I want. Mom & Dad were usually strict about what they bought for me. Uncle was far more lenient. And at the time, he able to afford to buy new stuff, made it even more fun for all of us.
My next Bicycle, you guessed it right, was gifted to me, again, by my uncle. This time, it was the real deal. The full-size, Black & yellow, "Hero Ranger". Although I had practiced riding my Dad's full sized cycle - the Hero classic, this one really blew my mind. I had specially requested for the brake guards, stickers, electronic horn (which some A hole, later stole), a water bottle holder. The only thing missing, in hind-sight is multiple gears, which wasn't very common at the time. Nevertheless, this became my only medium of transport around town. I never left home without it. Whether it be to school, to go out shopping, attend events, though, not many at the time, as I was just a kid, or even to the corner tuck shop very near home, I used my beloved bicycle.
Then came the time when I finished school and had graduated to PU college which was 7KM from my house. Thanks to the pathetic state of public transport, after only a couple of days of travel by buses to college, I was fed-up with it. I had to go in the opposite direction to my college in order to reach the terminus and change buses to go back to college. It was SICKENING!
Then I took the bicycle again. Very loyally, it came to my rescue. My one hour commute reduced to just 20 minutes and in the process, the obese me turned into a taller, fitter me. And then, I lost my bicycle...
Stay tuned for Part 2!