Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why men who can't ride bikes should learn swimming

I was once advised by a pal of mine to tie a brick around my neck and jump into a well. That I’m writing this post now is evidence enough that I paid no attention to it. However, I would want to apprise my readers of the turn of events that provoked this chump to dole out such advices, for if I don’t, the readers would quite naturally jump to a conclusion that he must be one hundred percent stone-hearted. True, that one would generally not have the heart to suggest a smart, dashing and young man like me to drown himself, but he isn’t all that bad as one is disposed to imagine. He is also what one might call a friend in need, for if I ever endeavour to jump into a well, of course carrying a stone in hand, and the process seems to take too much time than usual to complete, he would be there to offer his help by throwing an iron rod at me to speed up the whole process. Lovely chap, isn’t he?
So as I was saying(or writing, is it?), this chump wanted to see me drowned, because he felt I was a big disgrace to my gender. No, it was not because I was comprehensively beaten by a woman in an arm-wrestling event, which I would have considered a fair reason, but because I did not know how to ride a bike. How not knowning to ride a bike causes disgrace was beyond me, but he said with a firm conviction that a man, by the time he’s 18, should be able to make acrobatic stunts with the two-wheeler.
I didn’t argue over that, for I was sure that whatever I say will fall on deaf ears. Futhermore, I never get into any kind of arguements, because at the end of it, as it has always been, I would be all the more strong about my views and the other party would be all the more strong about what he stood for. So in order to redeem the pride of Balajis, which was wounded a great deal by a false accusation, I made up my mind to learn to ride a bike.
Have you ever heard of a book called bike-riding for dummies? If the answer is no, read on. If yes, please skip this para. In the first chapter ‘How to kick-start’ it says, to have the bike up and running, one must always start with by kicking the starter or whatever it is called, holding the clutch (Button start was non-existant during the first publication of this book). The above process must be repeated until the engine comes to life with a roaring noise. This done, one has to slowly release the clutch and give accleration simultaneoulsy, which will cause the wheel to rotate and, surprise surprise, sets the bike in motion.
I am a man of wide-reading and having read the book “bike-riding for dummies” thrice, I didn’t require the assistance of the one who asked me to drown myself. But I needed a bike though, and for this I needed his help. Reluctantly, he agreed to offer his bike, to have a practical lesson on the theortical knowledge I had acquired, but on one condition - he would take the pillion seat so that in the event of anything catastrophic he could take control of the proceedings and try to save the damage that could be wreaked. In the end, it turned out to be a wrong decision.
I seated myself comfortably in the bike and with my friend behind me I was all set. I kicked the starter and the engine responded back with a cacophonous noise. So far so good. Now came the trickiest part. Although I claimed that I had read that book thrice, I had blissfully forgotten the word “simultaneously”. I released the clutch first, and then I gave full accleration. The result: the bike stood on its hind leg(wheel) aka wheeling and sent my friend rolling over backwards several times and he finally come to rest on his stomache, biting the dust literally- an acrobatic somersault that could have had Nadia Comaneci jumping and hooting in appreciation. Fortunately, he did not suffer any physical injuries. Mentally though, there was a possibility that he could have got affected, for I could not make sense of the flurry of words(read invectitudes) he hauled at me when he was back on his feet again.
They say bad news travels faster and I guess this rule works without exceptions, because by the next day every Tom, Dick and Harry knew that I can’t ride bikes for nuts, and more importantly, they all knew that I almost caused a severe damage to my friend’s bike. The latter was the cause for concern because after that incident, nobody ever let me anywhere within one km of their bike, which meant no more of bike learning classes.
So that was the first and last time I made an attempt to ride a bike. This never worries me because I’m never charmed by bikes, unlike many men. Those who can’t ride bike, pillion-ride it. And I love pillion-riding. (It deserves a blog post in itself because I’ve had horrible experiences in that too).
If any of you, after reading this heart-wrenching post, is willing to teach me how to ride a bike, you are most welcome, with your bike that is.