nice sharing /up
Missing the good, ol' bicycle
By Salman LatifIn life, one faces many things. Many pleasant and harsh memories remain engraved on one's mind. And though in this fast-paced world, one has little time to stretch on the sofa, lay back cozily and think of the days gone by and their memories, yet sometimes, too rare be it may, we do have the opportunity to afford the luxury and retrieve those memories from time's archives. Unlike most people, I'm least perturbed with the strokes of nostalgia -- they don't make me gloomy. Rather, the happy memories of the past pleasantly caress down my tiredness and give me few moments to refresh my mind.
And just now, as I lounge upon the sofa in the rusty shade of the autumn evening and frisk my mind languidly across the pages of the past, I am thinking of all sorts of amusements and fun I used to have as a kid -- and that brings a silent smile to my face. I was just thinking about the hot, baking afternoons I've spent in the hot streets of Multan on the little two-wheeled thing called bicycle.
With plenty of time to spare and a vintage of absolute care-freeness, early teens was perhaps one of those phases of my life I cherish the most, (don't think of me as a haggard, old man in my late seventies recalling the good ol' childhood days – I am not out of my teens yet!!! ). And the credit goes to my little bicycle, a medium-sized BMX, together with an ever-mounting crick-o-mania. It was due to my incessant, stubborn insistence of having a bike that dad finally gave in to my wish despite mom's elaborate depictions of the dangers of the ride (never mind, all mothers do that: P)
And, when I had it, my joy knew no bounds. After completing the session of boasting the bike across all neighbourhood and scolding every kid who as much as touched the flashy rear mudguards, I thought it was finally the moment to have some adventure. And with mounting excitement, I took the driving seat and off I went, barely making the pedal-stroke till the lowest point, yet managing to move the bike anyway. It seemed the most beautiful feeling back then, making me feel as if I was flying in the air, light as a feather. And the air that brushed across my face and the melodious symphony of the bike's chains -- my soul seemed to be elating to an experience which was as spiritual as well as physical.
I had not yet fully relished the 'spiritual' experience when the ride finally came to a not-so-pleasant halt with me plunging wildly into a woman, after bellowing 'hat jao!!!', 'get aside' frantically, since I didn't yet know where on earth were the brakes. What happened then remains a shameful blot on my escutcheon. The women seemed to be one blessed with creative expressions used to effectively humiliate the other person. After listening to her for few moments in shame, I got up, dusted off my clothes and with an air of dignity (for many eager kids were still around), walked home.
Once back home, I narrated to my younger siblings how exhilarating the experience of my first ride was! And that was just the start!! With a never-wavering resoluteness and passion, I scaled along the lengths of Shah Rukn-e-Alam Colony's streets which hardly bore any traces of green things called trees. Bruises, falls, untimely punctures and unplanned hits -- nothing could ever tone down my love for bicycling. And as if that alone was not enough, I soon was the head of the 'biking gang' of my area, being the winner of nearly all the races. In the dead of summer afternoon with the wind blowing as if ventilated directly from nature's chimneys, we had the streets and even roads all to ourselves and a glad opportunity to drive in the wrong lanes -- one of those heartiest desires we often have! Those were pleasant days; their memories still exhilarate me.
But little did we know that a conspiracy was up against our dear bicycles. With the tide and turn of time, soon we saw a mighty flow of motorcycles into the market and sooner they were replacing bicycles. Not only that I was persuaded to give up my love for the bicycles, I also had to jump on the bandwagon of motorcycles, for my college was a long way off my home and I couldn't have 'stroke(d)' my way to it on a bicycle. And thence, came to end, my love-story with my bicycle, now resting in the storeroom at home. Initially, I would dust it every week, then every month and now rarely ever. Though still, when the mood is inclined to it, I pull it out and go on a bike-ride in the winter evenings. That always reminds me the old days I spent with this little friend of mine. But well…it's true that times change. And so do we!
nice sharing /up