Even today, I can recall the day my parents first bought me my bicycle, seven years ago. It was a lazy October afternoon and I was busy reading ‘The Adventures of the Wishing chair‘ . My usually frowning faced father entered through the door grinning widely, telling me to go to the window urgently.
I did as told and saw nothing out-of-place. The compound was full of the usual cars parked in front of my gate, the watchman fast asleep with his mouth wide open and the road filled with nonchalant pedestrians. However right in front of the window stood a brand new cycle, still covered in bubble wrap.
‘Whose new bicycle is that?’ I asked curiously, wondering who would be the new show off on the playground today.
“Its your’s” he replied.
I turned around to see if he was joking, but he was smiling widely, holding out the keys to the new bicycle in his hand. I snatched the keys from my father’s palm and rushed outside. This time, I observed the bike more closely. It was a handsome new Hercules Turbo drive, red and black in colour. ‘This is awesome’ I screamed ringing the cycle bell in wild ecstasy,so that everybody could hear.
This bicycle wasn’t my first. I did own another bike before this one, but I had grown out of it. However, this bike was my first bicycle without side wheels’
From the day of its arrival, I would never let go off the bicycle. I would even ride to places that were within walking distance. It wasn’t long after that I soon became popular around my neighbourhood as ‘that little girl on the red bike.’ I was hopelessly in love with my bicycle, so much so that I would even talk to it sometimes, often referring to it as ‘Fiera’. I would spend hours neurotically cleaning the cycle and getting it serviced on time. On school nights as well as on weekends, I would haunt the lane in front of my house, way past my curfew riding the bicycle with my short hair flying wildly in the wind.
I felt a high, whenever i rode the bicycle. I would pretend to be a badass biker hunk and pedal away in full speed. My fantasies ranged from being a cowgirl destined to save the universe with her faithful ‘horse’ Fiera, to being a clever genius scientist who had to combat aliens with a super, high-tech, advanced vehicle that was the earth’s only hope of survival. In my imagination, i would race against time, to save the world from extinction, to deserts, to tricky caves even to the victorian era . It was a wonder, however that I never had an accident.
Life was beautiful and thrilling but time passed. And as it did, I traded my short crop for long tresses and my tomboyish attitude for a skirt. Over time, I stopped riding my bike altogether, as other activities occupied my time. the notion of taking a cycle everywhere, began to seem childish and ridiculous. However the bike stood in the shed corner gathering dirt and rust, lonely and unused. On weekends, I would clean it but it began seeming a lot like a chore.
One day, my father suggested that I sell the bicycle, but I refused to part with it. He complained to me saying I never used it, and selling it was a better option. However, I was adamant that the bike would stay. To prove my point, I took the bicycle for servicing and after cleaning it up and getting it back to working condition, I decided to take it for a round, one evening. The idea was a major flop. I, who was used to cycling 3 hours straight, felt exhausted after 2 rounds. The traffic and the honking intimidated me and I experienced hesitation something that 12-year-old Ramona, who would ride ‘rash’ on the main road during rush hour, never experienced.
I realised how much time had altered me as a person. From being the young, cheerful and brave girl, I was now a woman, unsure of my place and purpose in the world. We similarly outgrow experiences, we want to hold on to. Priorities take over simple joys in life. In our minds, we still yearn to be, the happier people we once were, but we are far from being that person. In recesses of our hearts, though we still look upon those beautiful experiences we forget on the shores of our childhood, till reality urges us to come back to the present and continue with our chosen paths and our attempts to find excuses for true happiness.