A chap and his cycle

It was an ordinary day. With incredible heat, a ton of sweat and a generous supply of dust that every passing car would kick up. It was a road side joint, that gave the tired passerby or the bored office goer some reprieve. It had an assortment of knick knacks, cigarettes and a host of items that would seek to be a valid excuse to take a break. Or sometimes, just to provide space for a conversation.

Out of nowhere, the refills for the day arrived. A chap and his cycle. Rather a chap on his cycle. Every conceivable part of the bicycle held some article that fuelled a supply chain of sorts.

Professor

Two plastic bags on either side of the front handlebar. Two on either side of the rear. One huge crate that occupied the ‘carrier’. When he removed that, a seat with strong spring coils became visible. The cycle in itself appeared as ancient as the man. Rusted and a tad beaten down. But arrived without making a fuss and departed without making any.

Out of curiosity and the general liberty that people take with perfect strangers I checked out the cycle. Regarding it as an object of interest like an art curator would. Walking around it and tapping on the e rims with two bent fingers. Like a coconut vendor checking out his coconuts to let you know his had two litres of water in them!

The tapping hurt my nails. This was no pushover aluminium. This was hard steel. Solid metal. If one of these fancy modern day cars rammed into this cycle, well, God save the car. That kind of hard steel. The cycle in itself was heavy and it was clear that riding it must be an ask.

IMG-20110502-00017

It was when the man was all set to leave that I spotted the branding. ‘Professor’ by an outfit called “Chowdhri & Co”. This more dated than me. I remembered Hercules. Atlas and Rallis as the conservative bicycle variety and the BSA SLR with Kapil Dev promoting it, as the upstart challenger. But Professor? No idea.

Some things stay. Don’t they. As much as they are a function of what they are made of, it is also because of how dearly they are held. How important they are.

I wonder how this bicycle survived the elements. Which is when, a thought struck that it may not about the survival of the bicycle. Perhaps it is about the flourishing of the family and the bicycle just being a means to it. Whichever way, the bicycle stories that were left untold, seemed to knock on me to look beyond the obvious.

Maybe a memory that the worn out chap that drives it, wants to preserve. I didn’t ask. He was tired and more importantly in a hurry.
For some strange reason the old rusted bicycle left an impression on me, even as the chap pedalled away into the next road with the Sun beating down on him. I wonder why.

That night, as I was reflecting on the day, I wondered if our daily work was as resolute and as worthy, as the bicycle that I saw. The ‘Professor’(s) that made me, seemed to give me a nudge. To dive into the next day with gusto.

Here’s to a glorious week people.

9 thoughts on “A chap and his cycle

  1. Rekha says:

    Must be a 50-60 years old bicycle. Museum material indeed.

  2. Kavi Arasu says:

    Hello Rekha, thank you for the comment. It did look older than that. But it is providing a livelihood and that is the delight! 🙂

  3. Jairam Mohan says:

    As is the norm with almost all your posts, a lovely write-up Kavi. Your ability to come up with some gems every now and then, keeping normal ordinary everyday people and things as the subject is quite something else.

  4. Kavi Arasu says:

    Hello Jairam, You provide me with the most inspiration to keep doing that. So here is a big thank you to you. Truth be told, it is in the ordinary, I find extra ordinary. The big tickets, are usually the small ones. Whatsay? 🙂

  5. ashish says:

    Wonderful…..if only we (Indians) had a general tendency to respect our past and cherish it…something like this in UK / US would fetch very high price….I see this in a TV programme from US called Pickers / Antique Road show…..and the respect they display for any thing antique and functional…indicates the deep down veneration for their heritage and nationalism …
    thank you Kavi…to notice the extraordinary within normal things and bring it in the highlight through your blog..

  6. Kavi Arasu says:

    Thanks Ashish. Our history is so common, that its taken for granted. So, are articles of this vintage that seamlessly merge with everyday life with such ease! Trust all is well with you and you are good!

  7. Vaishnavi says:

    Bicycle from a bygone era… Certainly the brand sounds too old to be recollected … And I must tell you, the man in white trousers in your dream has made his way. You not only blog from a different address but also respond to comments which means he is going to be on his way to send you traveling around the world… Good luck!

  8. Kavi Arasu says:

    Ah Vaishnavi! I am doing all that I can! To atone for past sins like not responding to comments 😉

    Thank you for stopping by. If the man in the white trousers comes up, I will keep you in mind! 😉

  9. Mrunal says:

    Dear Kavi,

    Thank you for giving us a peep inside you, through this blog.

    1. You have inspired me to look at my passion of photography- to add a commentary, reflection, perspective, a mike for the inner voice. However i doubt if I am disciplined enough to do that on regular basis. I can atleast do it irregularly. 🙂

    2. Writing a journal and daily reflection inspire me, however doing it daily sounds like a chore to me. I am inspired to have a new perspective to it- like looking at it which will build my competence as a facilitator, an ability to look at the happening of the day from diff perspectives, consciously and arrive at a new meaning. Something that didnt exist in my story earlier…

    Thank you for creating this space to keep visiting when I am in the mood to…like visiting your favourite garden… 🙂

    Mrunal

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