We motorcyclists are a unique breed. Among the most obvious quirk - the desire to spend hours on a machine whose sole goal is to put you down into the dirt - we lovingly adore roughing it out.
Far from getting cozy in the cool confines of an air-conditioned car, we ride through sun and rain, tanning our skin, collecting insects in our teeth (all thanks to that almost demented grin we have when we're riding) and picking up all the dust that blows our way onto our riding jackets.
An ardent motorcyclist's home is merely a place to sleep in and a nice warm place to store bike spares. Maybe we'll sometimes drink some beer in there too. Our choice of clothing is functional. A pair of jeans and a tee worn on sturdy leather work boots sum up our everyday wardrobe. And for those formal occasions, we might wear a shirt too.
So what happens when the need of a four-wheeler crops up? We think of something that will ferry half disemboweled motorcycles and take in at least 5 people. Comfort? Ha! That's for sissies. We want the wind to rustle in, we want the thing to be temperamental and we want it to go where we want it - just like that motorcycle we love.
As I type this, I am waiting for a phone call. A call to tell me where to rendezvous with this pal of mine. I am about to go check out a Jeep with him that's up on sale. This will be my second four-wheeler, the first being an old Fiat Millicento that I had years ago.
Those times were different, I was younger and money was rarer to come by than hens' teeth.
I bought the Fiat from an old man who couldn't drive it anymore. He signed the transfer papers while I stood outside the ambulance that was ferrying him home from the hospital. It was all very emotional, he wanted his car to go to the right hands, to someone who would actually drive the cute Fiat around instead of letting it rot away outside his bedroom window.
Mechanically sound, the car never let me down for all of the 3 years that I had it. Although the body was in bad shape, it ferried me around, picking up my then girlfriend for a spin around Bandra and late night feasts on kababs spread out on the bonnet. I don't think the car impressed anybody, but I didn't care. It was my very own set of 4 wheels, bought with my meagre salary as a mechanic in a service centre.
I still regret letting the old girl (the car, not the girlfriend) go, but I needed the money real bad. Yes, to buy another bike. Sigh.