Although all these days I was a staunch supporter of the school that believes your most private and productive moment is at the loo every morning, I realized yesterday that I was a little overzealous and perhaps too biased towards the potty break. You may attribute this affinity to my affection for this activity early morning, but when these morning visits become rarer and skinny down to about three times a week, you tend to go less and less creative. You find no time to be with yourself. You seem perpetually lost. In front of the keyboard, you stare at a blank screen.
Although the uninitiated call this “constipated” and the intellectual call it a “writer’s block,” it is not to be taken lightly if you remember the cases of Virginia Woolf, Hemingway, or Sylvia Plath. No matter how much their suicides have been associated with depression and the like, a well-informed research into their medical histories tells us that they were all staring blankly at the screen before their deaths. Okay, paper. Therefore, we can safely deduce that a clean WC = clean paper = depression = listlessness = suicide.
If you notice, I mention that this realization dawned on me only yesterday. I was inside a helmet looking at empty stretches of a highway with some bikers in red in front of me. Every bike had a red rider on it: Pallavi wearing her newly acquired red Cramster, Nita and Tana wearing their red Cramster Dynas, Love wearing his red Cramster K2K, and I too had a red Cramster Meteor on, but couldn’t see myself through the helmet. I was the sweep, so I was at the end of the group, riding at a steady speed, feeling numb, missing music, almost dozing off when it struck me: man, isn't this my most private moment?
(the red bikers: clicked by pallavi)
Yes, more prolonged and more private than the early morning break. This made me sit up and stretch, and my mind started wandering. My first instinct was to cuss at nobody in particular. So I muttered a light “behenchod” inside my helmet. It felt good. Then I shouted it out only for the word to reverberate and come back to my ears amplified. So the third time I lifted the visor and screamed “BEHENCHOD” at the road. Felt damn good. In your private moment, you are allowed to do anything. While on a mobike you can’t experiment too much except with your mouth, so there I was… cussing out loud and feeling very very good about it. I personally don’t like to cuss too much and soon got irritated with my choice of word and cussed at myself. Looked straight at Red Eye, with Love and Tana on it. Yes, I know you think it is a typo, but that’s the name of our new friend and fellow biker: Love Joshi. And although the name might want you to cast aspersions on how loud or tacky the real character is, he comes across as a pleasant surprise. Love.
I mean, what a name, man! Not even Luv of Luv and Kush. It is Love, and means love.
Yes, so I saw Love and Tana before me, riding at a steady pace. These uneventful highways make you go at a steady pace although the idea of a cruise control mechanism on bikes is rather preposterous and never occurred to me, I swear. Okay, maybe once when I was very sleepy. Love's bike is called Red Eye, and he has lovingly fixed a free-flow exhaust called Goldie. A very punjoo name, but your pickup does go up considerably assisted by a Goldie. So Love has a Goldie and he is riding in front of me. A free-flow exhaust, if you don't know a bullet, takes the beautiful thump of a bullet and makes it sound like a rocket in the need of . . . well . . . you got it. The sound hit my visor, made its way into the helmet, and kept wreaking havoc with my eardrums: FUT FUT FUT FUT FUT instead of the dub dub dub of a normal bullet. Our highways these days have some six lanes, so I quietly moved to the slow lane to avoid the exhaust hitting me.
Love followed suit.
In the midst of the unavoidable FUT FUT, I saw Love patting Tana's left knee at regular intervals. I never doubted his right as a husband to pat her knee, but the fatherly nature of the pat made me suspicious. What is he trying to tell her? "Don't worry, next time we won't ride with these guys," "Don't worry, I will stop at the next bookshop and buy you the copy of Hitchhiker's Guide that Pallavi never returned," "Don't worry, we will stop at the next filling station and you can use the loo there," my mind went on an overdrive. I told you it was a private feeling?We stopped at a dhaba for chai and food. There I learned that Tana was falling asleep every five minutes and Love was trying to keep her awake.
"Okay then, fertile brain, go take a walk, or worse, have some yellow egg fried rice."
"Did he sing 'love will keep us alive?'"
After the food I realized I need more than the FUT FUT to keep me awake and my mind working. As Confucius say, "Your reflex go better if you increase speed." He also say "no fart in empty elevator" and "no jerk off in tub full of water, it stick to your hair everywhere" but the increasing speed thing caught my fancy. I quit being the sweep and opened the throttle. Now Rocky and Pallavi are some riders. They increase their speed to such an extent that they almost fuse together and ride as one. Yesterday it was difficult because Pallavi's red jacket and Rocky's blue Fieldsheer were at loggerheads, but soon they fused and became like one black (red + blue = black, you color-challenged idiot!) Knight Rider. 100-120 kph on Indian roads is like flying and in my bid to follow them I felt someone had abducted my pilot and my bike had a mind of its own.
To my dismay, I found that QuikSilver, Rocky's bike, has an equally loud exhaust.
Earlier yesterday we left for a place called Lepakshi, which has some monolithic structures and an age old temple. Pallavi will blog about it soon. When we rode in the morning towards Lepakshi, I was still a member of the earlier school: your most private and creative moment is when you are alone with yourself "there." The entire onward journey was so eventful that never for a moment did this idea get challenged. Halfway through the journey a cyclist appeared from nowhere in front of Prateek's bike and they fell after hitting the cycle. As Prateek and Nita were trying to get up and gather themselves, I could see Pallavi promptly walking up to the guy on the cycle and practice some chaste Kannada swear words on him. It is a rare sight in any South Indian village to see a white woman in helmet cussing in the local language. I think the villagers had never seen people in spacesuits before.
(spacesuit: clicked by Pallavi)
After she had threatened the crowd to her heart's content, we promptly left the place lest those guys realized we were mere bikers and not space travelers and attacked us. We stopped a little while later to assess the damage. As Rocky and Prateek looked at the bike, we could see Pallavi scurrying after a couple of buffaloes with her huge camera. Tied to the buffaloes was a hapless old woman, who was being dragged around by the beasts, who too hadn't seen women in spacesuits charging at them before. Poor guys.
I was almost thinking of how the PETA activists would have reacted to Pallavi terrorizing the poor souls, when we spotted some HUGE trucks on trucks, and our attention got diverted.
Maybe that spontaneity makes her such a great photographer. Check out her pics of the trip here: http://flickr.com/photos/jilmil/sets/72157605893668838/
She points the camera at anything and anybody, anywhere, with such dexterity, that the Indian Army is planning to hire her to train their soldiers.
By the time the trucks passed, I noticed that Prateek and Nita were beaming, admiring their riding jackets and how they escaped unscathed. I didn't tell them I was thinking how it would feel to take a fall wearing my new jacket just a little before they actually fell. Will take their word for it.
Till then, let the private mind get wild in the confines of my helmet.