It is the third time this morning that I’ve had to force my eyes open for reasons other than getting out of bed. As I lie twisting and twirling trying to figure out the meaning of waking up, the sound that woke me up gets louder. New neighbours are moving in perhaps. Tumbling boxes and the screech of heavy furniture being dragged in the corridor outside and hectic activity are successfully destroying my plans of sleeping in late this Sunday.
I claw my way to the kitchen and put the water to boil. A strong dose of caffeine is best to kick start my day, I know. Suddenly the chaos in the corridor is replaced with a soft female voice instructing the movers to exercise utmost care and caution with something. It seems something precious and fragile is being moved in. The caffeine has perked me up and I steal a peek as I pick up the newspaper .
A mover is carrying a box labelled ‘gear,’ another one follows carrying a skinny sunshine yellow coloured bicycle on his shoulder. He puts the bike on the floor and rolls it into the house. The steady clicking noise from it takes me back to my childhood when not a single day went by without pedalling maniacally on a cycle. These memories get the better of me.
I remember the begging, pleading, cajoling and blackmailing I had put my father through to get my first bike. I was desperate to get my own sense of freedom and the wind in my hair. A dear friend had one gifted to him on his birthday and he let me ride it sometimes. I learnt fast and was soon yearning for my own. Anyway, one morning when I woke up, I couldn’t understand why my parents were smiling as I walked into the veranda rubbing my eyes. Suddenly I understood. A beautiful shiny brand new red bicycle was waiting for me in the garden outside. It was the best surprise I ever got and I can almost feel it even today. I can even remember the bike. It was the best bike in the world. A quick thank you and I was off on the bike in a jiffy to my friends’ to show off. Oh what a sense of freedom, what a sense of independence. I was pedalling fast and furious and I thought nothing could now stop me from winning the world!
After this I remember the cycle became a part of me. Or should I say I became a part of the bike. We were inseparable. Wherever I went, the bike went. It slept next to me in my bedroom and was given a loving wash almost every day. It was actually like a pet and my best friend. To my mother’s chagrin it took me away even from my studies for some time. Oh that feeling! I haven’t experienced that for a long long time. Perhaps I need to ride again to get the romance back in my life.
Suddenly, the bell rang. I opened the door to face my new neighbour. She was my age, but a lot fitter. She inquired whether I had a spanner as she had to put her bike together and had misplaced her tools. I was a bit lost frankly. I was still reeling in the nostalgia of my first love. My beautiful shining red set of wheels…
To be continued…