I had already become a cycle mechanic. I could easily repair many small components, but struggled mainly with the rear axle and the gear. Any problem in there and my bike was in the garage! One day I had some problem with the front wheel, I thought I could repair it; so from eve I worked on it till dinner time. Due to that I couldn’t complete my home work neither did I eat nor did I pack my bag, just took a bath and was fast asleep. I had the alarm clock set at 5 in the morning, so that I can easily complete my work. But negligently I had set it at around 6:15!! The next morning I woke, got fresh and scandalously looked at the clock…; WHAT TIME IS IT? I barked like a dog! I was told it was 6:20. I grabbed a pen and started completing the Homework, I had to finish it. Homework was done and now it was quarter to seven. I was starving, had a headache, my pockets were empty, had to pack the bag and travel all the way hoping my bike will have no problems.
At that morning I decided to fight all the challenges. Half an hour left for school to begin, I packed the bag and snatched away 50buks to eat in school. Thinking I could easily make it to school I quickly got to the cycle only to find a flat tire! Grabbed the hand air-pump and pushed it hard and fast. It was time to ride! Just on the road and I fell off and hit my shoulder hard. Lying down on the road I saw the front wheel roll into the gutter! I could hardly believe what was happening…It was time and I was sure my friends had already left. Now I had a broken cycle, an empty stomach and an agonizing shoulder! I washed the dirty front wheel and rushed to get the tools. I had left the main axle screws wide open! That was the reason for the crash. I tightened them rapidly and before getting exhausted took off on road. It was a smooth ride…!
Certainly I opted for the short cut to reach school. As I reached half-way I was surprised to see one of my friends in a same hasty condition like me! I reached him somehow and learned even he was late. But he had no problem like mine. It was decided we should race as it would help us reach school faster.
Fortunately the warning bell just rang as we crossed the entry gate and rushed to the parking area. But more unfortunately before we could park another crash was scheduled for me! Our bicycle handles interfered and all four of us had a great fall…me and my cycle, my friend and his bike! I was already colored with grease and dirt; but now it seemed I had a color dress on!!
We were welcomed in class with strange murmur and faces of all kind. I sat in class that day praying for a safe journey back! It was pathetic, but in a way I felt it was really grand!
There are also many good memories, one of the cherished one is the advantage I got over others who travelled in the school bus. They had to wait, had to squeeze into the packed vehicles, had to pay fees and I don’t remember what else. On the other hand we cyclists ruled over our lives, I had to wait for no one, sat comfortable like a king on the bike, only had to maintain them, the rest of money was in my pocket!, could roam as and when I liked more over I had a good exercise cycling.
But above all I was more exposed to the real world that existed around. I knew the many shortcuts, the various paths and we also used to have cycle trips to sea shores, the Vasai fort, the country side and lot more enjoyment…
The thrill was at the time of rainy season, whenever there was a heavy downpour; all of us used to deliberately ride to school with just a couple of books in our bag, as we knew it would certainly be a holiday. Some roads would be filled with flood water and we used to cycle through, as if cruising over! Safely wrapped in the rain-coats we then enjoyed the long and muddy road trails, the dirt race and the greenery all around the area. The trees we saw everyday which seemed to be thirsty, now had blooms appearing green and alive! I marveled at nature’s ability to sustain life and energy into plants and animals. On such days we got home late in the morning as we wandered around passing the time for good…!
There are other such memories, good and bad, of which I sometimes recall and just hope good days will be here again!
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