Sunday, 14 January 2007

Closer to the ground

It's a different kind of adventure. Motorcycling has it's limitations when you want to cart sensitive photographic equipment. Besides, if a four year old bitten by the bug wants to clamber on to the seat behind you, it becomes woefully inadequate.

That's not a deterrent for us when our trips are not too distant and reasonably accessible to civilisation. Skanda has got used to holding on to my shirt without getting distracted by everything flowing past his curious gaze. A motorcycle offers a wider spectrum and a closer view than that afforded by a car so if given the choice two wheels is picked over four, unhesitatingly.

As we clock more kilometers I realize that two wheels have some distinct advantages that compensate for the limitations. Off-roading isn't so difficult anymore and narrow unfamiliar roads aren't a nightmare. Motorcycles are forgiving even if you made it go off the asphalt for an U-turn. In any case if it got tricky you could simply get off and push it without much effort.

Suddenly nature seems more closer. I can park just about anywhere and for however long, without fear of becoming responsible for a traffic jam - parking is no issue now.

It means I can spend more time searching and enjoying what nature throws up. The birds seemed less apprehensive and more approachable. Maybe a car is more intimidating.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Two wheels, the wind & me

For men, forty is a magic word. It is the turning point in our lives because it is the 'half way' mark for most of us. To many it is the beginning of 'the mid-life crisis' but some others like yours truly, it is a journey of re-discovery. My journey started with re-discovering my feet a few months ago and suddenly I feel, its not really that bad to be middle aged.

Motorcycling is not new to me. I used to own a Yamaha RX100 during my college days, some 15 years ago. After I became a 'respected' professional it didn't suit my image to be seen on a two-wheeler. So I graduated to four wheels in the early nineties. I had a brief crush on the CBZ a few years ago but it didn't become hot enough to blow into a full fledged affair. That is, till she changed her 'avtar' and became the curvy, seductive head turner she now is - CBZ Xtreme.

I'm a rather boring person when it comes to selecting a new vehicle. Most automobile dealers love me because I'm 'colour blind'. I love black and I can't think beyond it. Of course women and children may not approve, neither did my son. He is becoming a flamboyant character and attracts attention wherever he goes. Maybe that's why he insisted I pick a red bike (Yikes!!!) instead of black.

In her new re-incarnation she has managed to stay ahead of the pack as she first did when she appeared in my horizon five years ago. Now she has a self-start option (to save my leg), alloy wheels (to save me money) and disc brakes (to save my life)! What more can you ask for someone making an upgrade from an RX100?! Of course. Her colour. You can be sure she''ll attract men, and it wont be just a second look but plain unadulterated ogling.

I've only done less than a 100 kms on her but I feel I've been with her for ages. She doesn't seem to need breaking in like other new bikes. Maybe we share a bond from the last incarnation!!

Most of all, my son loves her. He is reluctant to get off once we finish a trip. Even if he did, reluctantly, he goes around her like a tabby that just had a litter!

As I rediscover the joy's of feeling the wind in my hair again, I'm hoping that life after forty will be one cool ride in the park.