Youthful musings

Everybody knows that music can stir up memories and even emotions. But more so, certain automobiles have the same effect on me.

My passion for motorcycles and all things motorised stems from the people I was surrounded by when I was growing up. My dad got me hooked onto motorcycles. I can't remember when I got my first ride, but by the age of 8, I could kick start my dad's JAWA on my own. We didn't get our first car till I was about 12 and it was a nice lemon green Padmini that was later repainted a rather boring shade of white. But my uncles and my dad's friends all had cars. Nothing exotic, but they were cherished by their owners and absolutely special to me. I drooled over their 118 NEs which were later replaced with Maruti 800s and subsequently with the venerable 1000. Then, there was an old Fiat Millicento (fondly called the Dukkar), a Standard Companion, a Contessa and yes, an Ambassador. I have many fond memories of these cars - of a time when my folks would gather my brother and me, bundle us into some or the other four-wheeler and take off for lunch. And we'd end up in Lonavala. Or Mahableshwar if the intention was some good tea coupled with bun and maska.

You might now wonder what this glimpse into the past was all about.  Well, all of this is all thanks to Surjith and a ride in his mighty fine Amby.

Today, I felt like I was 10 again. I felt I was trying to taste the rain by sticking my tongue out of the window, only to be noticed by my mom and thereafter, slapped silly. I remember riding a horse in Matheran, and nearly taking that damn animal to its grave when I kicked it hard enough to cause it to virtually leap off 'sunrise point'. I vince with the pain of a dislocated shoulder caused due to attempting what would later be called a Pugachev's Cobra. But unlike the Cobra, I tried doing it on a swing with the help of my brother, instead of in a Sukhoi. In retrospect, thank God it was on a swing. I can smell the scent of victory, gunpowder and horror when the cannon I built using an old PVC pipe and some left over fireworks from Diwali actually worked. It blew up the neighbours windows. Another beating followed. I shiver when I think of the first lesson I had on electricity from my grandfather. He had this old wind-up dynamo (which I cherish to this day) which gave out quite an output. He began the session on why electricity is great news for human kind but one ought to know that safety is a must. He then proceeded on how one mustn't touch naked wires or poke objects into plug sockets. And before I know it, I was presented with these two terminals on the dynamo and was asked to touch them. Innocently, I lay my podgy fingers on the things and then he cranked up the device, sending me howling about the house. Moral of the story: if 12 volts can do that to you, imagine what 240 V is capable of - few lectures have been retained in my brain  quite like this one.

So the next time I feel miserable about life, I'll get a ride in an Amby and relive all the glorious moments of my past. So what if it's just for a few hours. Try it - go around for a jaunt in the car of your youth. You will love the experience.