Before we got married, before we had even fallen in love, my husband called his family and said – “I’ve met the one. Her name is Christine.” For those of you who read this blog, you’ll know that my name is not Christine.
This is Christine. She’s got 350 cc under her skirts, packs 24 litres of fuel and can go all night long, well as long as 1000 Kms will take you. She’s a Royal Enfield and she’s been remodelled to resemble the next best thing, the Harley Davidson. The rear tyre has been changed to be wide, not for any performance enhancement but just because it makes her look good. The Royal Enfield has a cult following in India. It was originally the Royal Enfield Cycle Company but later sold to Norton Villiers Triumph, made in Worcestershire at which point production of the Enfield stopped. In 1956 Enfield of India was being assembled in Chennai and in 1995, the Royal Enfield name was bought here in India. The logo, “Made like a gun, goes like a bullet” has given this motorcycle it’s nickname, the Bullet.
Christine and my man have made many a road trip, the longest being 850 kms from Vishakapatnam to Vellore. On route, the fuel indicator seemed faulty and he needed to check how much fuel he had. It’s pretty hard to do this just looking in the tank. So what did my oh so clever man do – he knew he needed light, so he took out his zippo lighter and yes, he put the lighter close to the tank to have a peek in. KABOOM! Lets just say he rode back to Vellore with no eye brows. According to a Discovery Channel documentary at least once a week some idiot somewhere in the world looks in to their petrol tank with the light of a lighter. That week it was my idiot.
The bike clearly said, bachelor and I’m not sharing as there was only one seat. But the day we got engaged a double seat was installed. The man at the bike shop, who had serviced the bike for many years was full of congratulations. A double seat meant that finally a woman was involved.
Riding a bike in a city where you are rubbing up against big fat cars is frankly, no fun. In a car you are shielded from the fumes and loud honking of India’s congested roads. On a bike, it’s all up front and in your face. But when you’re out on the open road, or snaking through the cool hills of the Nilgiris, there’s nothing like riding on a bike, the sweet intense smell of the Eucalyptus and pine filling you up. In a car you are shielded from nature, on a bike you are really in it, one with the road.
And nature sure feels one with the bike. Here’s a chameleon taking a rest on the handle bars.
When we got our four legged little boy, we really wanted him to get used to the bike. He was clearly enamoured but slightly afraid.
Unfortunately once he grew up we could never get him to sit on the bike while we rode. My uncle’s late labrador, Sheila, was a real hunting dog. She would sit on the petrol tank while he patrolled the tea estates of the Nilgiris. Our fella, just liked to chew on the foot stand.
Abroozi may not ride on the bike but he can distinguish this Enfield’s distinctive Thump thump call. To you and me the low roar of all Enfields might sound the same and there are a few near our house too, but to our Abroozi his ears perk up and he runs to the door only when his appa’s bike is approaching. Clever fellow!
Christine is very much a part of our lives and this wife can willingly welcome her as the other woman.
This is my entry for the Castrol No.1 blogging contest on Indivine.