Sunday, June 03, 2007

Plus ce Change, Plus ce la Meme Chose

"The more things change, the more they remain the same!"

That's what I was thinking when I got my bike today. It was a long time ago that I used to ride a bike. Then I moved on motorcycle. Then to a car. And then, when I moved back to India, back to motorbike.

Then finally to public transport in UK. Maybe that's why I never liked UK. I never like public transport no matter how clean or how punctual it is. No, that's not true. In Germany, I loved the trams and trains, they were clean, and they were punctual not like here.

But biking is different here, or rather, now. Or are they just words that mean the same thing? Ok, I'll use the time-traveler's vocabulary and say, here-now. So, mountain biking is different from the kind of city-biking I did and the bikes here-now are also kind of different. But I had my good friend Steve to guide me through the starting hassles and also to actively help where I was too much of a novice.

The final result was that in the span of a few hours I could actually ride this bike which was not fit for use when I got it.

This being a Sunday evening, I decided to make use of the lull in traffic to do a dry run to the office on the bike.

The journey was not really long, only about 3 miles, but very educational. I know you are going to say that I philosophize (hope I spelled that right) too much, but I can't help it. Every Indian is half-philosopher by birth, life has pushed me the rest of the way. :-)

I had my bluetooth GPS receiver dangling by the handlebar while the sweet female voice whispered directions in my ear. I left my pocketpc on my belt clip as I did not have a bike clip for that yet. There came a point in the journey when the lady in my ear was telling me to "take the roundabout" repeatedly and no matter which way I turned on the bike lanes, I could not get into the roundabout nor find the road she was indicating. Yes, I checked the pocketpc screen but it didn't make sense either.

Time was not in my favour and I seriously considered turning back. And the factor that made me decide was not biking but life, it signified turning back, from a challenge, from adversarial conditions, and it signified giving up, something that I do not like to do. The thought in my mind was, "...that's not how I do things!"

The solution was in the same factor as in life - Risk. I had to leave the safety of the bike lanes and ride on to the big bad road if I wanted to reach my destination. And that's what I did! Never have I smiled so happily to see my office building come into view, any office building that I worked in!

As I stepped off, or rather jumped off, as it was the bike, from the curb to the road, my GPS receiver went "splat" on the road. No, there were no tears in my eyes as I picked it up in 3 pieces from the road. It was not just a loss of money but it was a special GPS receiver, the first of my life...I had spent so many hours looking for it in Germany, with the help of my friend, Thomas. I had it when I had no GPS software. When I got GPS software, I was riding in buses. No use for GPS.

And today, when the first time in my life I had use for it, it went and broke, with me so far from home. But did I cry? No! It's all part of life.

Well, I did make it back in one piece. One, tired, sore, sweaty, smelly, piece. But happy!

That last word is all that counts with me! Only that one!

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