Saturday, 14 August 2010

Two wheeled ramblings..

So, the other day, someone sort of told me i'm a good driver. It was a friend of a friend whom i was not previously acquainted with, and apparently my friend had contrasted our driving styles and told him that i am a good driver. i was understandably miffed that my friend didn't convey this piece of valuable opinion directly to me, but i suppose there were reasons behind that. obviously, my head would grow heavy from the praise, to the effect that it would hideously upset my center of gravity when cornering, and that is decidedly not a good thing. of course, i didn't start writing this as an exercise in self-effacing humour, i had other reasons. reasons like the fact that i have probably received maybe five or six compliments on my driving ever since i've been legally allowed to drive.

to put things in perspective, my mom was once so terrified sitting behind me on her 50cc two stroke moped(that had a speedometer that maxed at 60kmph) that she actually jumped off it when she thought i was going to crash it. she preferred scrapes and bruises from the road to broken limbs from the lamp-post i was heading too close to. to this day she does not believe my explanation that i was avoiding a speed bump adjacent to the lamp-post, and that i was in control of the vehicle the entire time. she has never ridden pillion on a two wheeler that had me on the front seat ever since then, and this is a true story. those of you fortunate enough to have met amma would know for a fact that i can't possibly make up stuff like this. when i got my bike four years ago, people who used to ride with me used to employ words like lunatic, batshit insane etc, to describe my style of driving. several people had sworn never to get on my bike again, and there was one case where a friend's boyfriend had specifically forbidden her from ever getting on a bike being ridden by me. each time i try telling someone that i think my driving is pretty okay, they invariably point out my accident record, which stands at 28 accidents if you count the minor bumps and spills as well, and my claim of being at least a halfway decent driver would end there. so, to be introduced to a total stranger as a man with good driving manners, was a surprise to say the least.

So, all this brings me to lunacy. I recently turned [classified number], and well, since birthdays usually remind you of how old you're getting, i did a bit of introspection. i always used to believe that the lunacy you have when you're a kid sort of evaporates away with age, and is replaced with sensibleness and boredom. this is true for most of the population, but there are exceptions of course. and i used to rue it on each birthday, since i knew i would be doing less crazy things in the year ahead, on account of being older. my theory was that this lunacy and sense of invincibility are absolutely essential if i wanted to live life on my terms, and these qualities draining away with age isn't a prospect one can look forward to. but then, ever since i got my bike, my opinion on this subject has been varying slowly as well. i now kinda realize that this lunacy, if untempered, isn't the adamantium that i thought it to be, but instead it was more like kryptonite, if you would pardon the superhero references.

sure a few close calls and accidents helped me along with this realization, but thats not the point. the point has more to do with the sense of invincibility that i mentioned earlier. the point, even more specifically, is that it is false, this sense of invincibility. there are those who would, after a close call or accident they escaped unscathed from, think that it was a matter of their invincibility. that nothing would happen to them. i admit to thinking that way a few times as well. but as you go along, and as you evolve as a biker (a familiar refrain for those amongst my annual readership of 1.78 people who were probably patient enough to read these musings of mine on biking), you realize that there is a significant difference between what you can actually do and what you think you can do. there is a difference between how fast you can go as opposed to how fast you think you can go, how much you can bank as opposed to how much you think you can, and how quickly you can stop as opposed to how quickly you think you can stop. and that realization isn't necessarily the death of lunacy, it's more of a tempering.

the lunacy and invincibility would make you want to try out MotoGP levels of bank angles on the curvy road leading to your office. and let's be honest, it would be fun to try that. in fact, to push yourself to the limit doing anything like that does require a healthy amount of insanity. the tempering business that i'm talking about would try and keep you from going over your limits and making a spectacle of yourself for the other employees walking on that same road after their lunch breaks. the fact that you didn't crash isn't a victory for sensibleness. but the fact that you pushed a limit while acknowledging it, the fact that you tried, is a victory for a tempered lunacy. while all of this might sound like a justification for doing less dangerous stuff on account of getting older, i sincerely believe in it.

in the end, i do realize that i'm still far from a perfect driver. like i've mentioned in one of these posts long back, i still make mistakes that warrant a kick on the backside sometimes. but as the kilometers have been racking up on my odometer, the realization that all of these evaluations and self-appraisals and improvement efforts mean nothing in the face of things beyond your control has planted itself firmly in my mind. and that all you can do in the face of things like chance is to continuously try and get better, have fun doing it, and to hell with the rest. and i suspect i could apply that to other walks of my life as well.

PS - i think the really dangerous thing i did here was posting twice in a day. also, it's funny how these ramblings materialize when i'm sleep-deprived. it's bloody five thirty in the morning, good night.

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