It all started two weeks back, when I received an email from Lokesh about a proposed ride for Jawa / Yezdi bikers on 25th January 2009 to the “Big Banyan Tree”.
I spoke to my wife about this ride a week back and she agreed to postpone a few important tasks that she had planned for Sunday, letting me go and enjoy my day with buddies, wondering, what these crazy guys do with their bikes every now and then.
After so many years of marriage, while continuing to own this 1975 Yezdi bike, I have been able to maintain this dual relationship in my life without much problems but my wife’s perplexed look made me think of breaking one rule.
There are rules in every family. There are few in our family, too. One of those rules is, “No one comes between me and my bike, not even my wife”. This rule has been in practice for many years now and yesterday I decided to break this rule.
“Do you want to join me for this one?” I asked her, expecting her to scream in surprise. “Yes”, calmly she said, as always, surprising me more than ever.
Marriage is like a bottomless glass or an endless book. There are volumes and volumes of this book to be read before realizing that every day is a new chapter.
“We got to leave at 6 AM tomorrow morning”, I said, hoping that the prospect of rising early on a Sunday may put her off. “Okay”, she said in the same calm manner.
6.15 AM on 25th January 2009
With a gentle kick, my beast came alive outside Bannerghatta Road and the two of us, clad in black jackets and black helmets, started our journey towards Raj Rajeshwari Nagar Arch, where we would meet fellow bikers and proceed towards the Big Banyan Tree.
On the silent roads with the darkness of night yet to fade away making way for sunshine, there was a booming sound from twin silencers of my bike, while onlookers turned their heads around to see this noisy beast. “Why are they called silencers, when they generate such a loud sound?” my wife asked me. “They silence every one around them”, I replied.
After a while, when we took a turn towards Devegowda petrol pump, a white colored Pulsar bike approached us with a cop riding it, looking at us suspiciously. I smiled at him and that deepened the suspicion on his face. He kept staring at me and my wife, while riding his bike parallel to ours. After few minutes, he turned into one of the lanes and disappeared.
We reached Raj Rajeshwari Nagar Arch and met Amrit, Lokesh, Satish and other fellow bikers waiting for our group to gather.
“What do you think the cop was thinking?” I asked my wife.
“Perhaps, he thought, we are eloping – running away from our families”, she quipped and I was into splits.
There were 20 bikes in all, starting from a 1962 Jawa till the last Roadking made in early nineties. As usual, there were stock bikes, customized ones and they came in all colors. And so were the riders, starting from a 6 year old boy riding with his father to a 55 year old biker.
After a few group photos, we all started our journey towards the Big Banyan Tree. On Mysore Road, there is an immediate right turn from the Raj Rajeshwari Dental College. As you take this turn from the usually busy Mysore Road, you are transported into a different world. There is serene beauty, well paved road, no traffic, sleepy houses on a Sunday morning with relatively cooler breeze. The only thing that shattered the stillness of this environment was some twenty booming bikers, strolling at the speed of 30 – 40 kilo meters per hour.
Bike is all about riding as fast as you can and you must be wondering, why on earth we were riding at such a slow speed. Who cares for the destination, when the journey itself is so much fun?
The combined sound of some twenty Jawa / yezdi bikes gives a feeling of hard rock music without the guitar or drums. We all wanted to enjoy this music as long as we could, especially, when we knew that our journey is hardly 30 – 35 Kilo meters. Riding slow was the only option we had to prolong this music.
We all passed the Big Banyan Tree and around 100 yards away, took a left turn on a sand lane into the fields heading towards a patch of land, where we all would park our bikes and chit chat, have a few snaps and go for breakfast.
Bikers were standing in various groups, talking to each other. I and my wife hopped around to see what these different groups of people are talking about. The groups were different, but the topic of their discussion was always the same, their bikes. Every one had a word or two about the model he owned and also a word or two for the model that he did not own. Some spoke about mechanics, some chatted about spares. No matter which group we observed, it all started and ended with their bikes.
“This is a nice set of people”, my wife said. “I expected only young boys racing each other risking their lives while trying to impress their friends through a trick of two of theirs. But this is really a gentle and matured group of people, deeply passionate about their bikes with no hint of any rudeness or harshness around the whole event”, she was thinking aloud.
We had a very large idli, almost the size of a saucer. This was the largest idli we had ever seen. “This is called Tada Idli. That is how they make these idly in the Bidadi region”, one biker explained.
We all proceeded towards Machinbele Dam. This dam is just 8 kilometres away from the Big Banyan Tree, but the road is very bad, with few patches of tar and rest is sand and stone. Reaching the dam, we all decided to have another photo shoot. Grownup men were giggling like boys, clicking each other’s photos and were poking fun at each other. It was a wonderful site of so many gentlemen, unknown to each other for most part of the year, meet only twice or thrice a year to have so much fun.
Upon our return, my wife asked me, “But we did not even go inside the park to see the Big Banyan Tree”. I smiled and replied, “Who cares for the destination, when the journey itself is so much fun”.