All about overcoming my fear of two wheels
From the time I began my schooling, my doting father always used to drop me off in his beloved car. Everyone who owns a vehicle in my family, own a car. The closest I had come to riding a two wheeler was when I had to get my driver's license done. Apart from that one ride I never had any acquaintance with a two wheeler, even as simple as a scooter was not very encouraged, as the "chances of fatality is higher on two wheels than on four", was the thought that kept my parents from allowing me to ride one. That is how protective my family is towards me.
Then came along Akshay in my life. A boy whose first love has always been motorcycles (even when we were dating I believe!). He showed me that motorcycles aren't so bad after all. He made me realize it's just another mode of transport and there is nothing to be afraid of. Thanks to him, we have made so many memories exploring places on our plethora of motorcycles over the years. I really started loving sitting pillion and viewing the journey 180 degrees (In cars you are pretty much restricted to the view of the side you are seated).
Akshay always encourages to be a better me. He recognizes my potential even before my mind can give birth to such a thought. He always said that I will one day be riding my own motorcycle and we would be riding beside each other. I being me, always laughed it off, calling it an impossible dream. But he believed in this dream more than I ever did. Akshay has always asked/demanded very less in our relationship. Though I was terrified of the idea of riding a motorcycle, I wanted to achieve this more than anything for his sake. He really looked forward for us to travel on our respective motorcycles and I wanted to make this a reality for him.
It had been several years since I rode in an actual traffic - specifically in an Indian metropolitan city traffic. My first fear to overcome was the fear of traffic itself. I had always been putting off the idea of buying a vehicle of my own. But one day I simply decided that it was time to face my fear and we went ahead and bought my FIRST two wheeler, a Scooty Pep Plus, which my husband lovingly named Senorita. It was an extremely light weight scooter and Akshay always said the song, 'Senorita' played in his head while riding it! But in my case, it was very hard for me to ride even a few hundred meters in live traffic. Akshay woke up early every morning to teach me to ride my scooter. He encouraged me every step of the way. He NEVER once lost faith in me, even though I had no confidence left in me after facing the ruthless traffic. His encouraging words and the sparkle in his eyes seeing me ride, kept me going. Few months later I was out on my own riding and going to office on my very own vehicle...for the first time in my life! Yes I rode with a Rynox jacket and an action camera fitted to my helmet. I was so paranoid about my safety that I wouldn't take a chance even if it meant I looked a bit too much for an ordinary scooter.
As I gained enough confidence with the vehicle and the traffic, it was time to take the next step. Upgrade to a motorcycle.
But we decided that buying a brand new motorcycle was a rookie mistake when I did not even know how to ride one. So we decided to buy a second hand vehicle so that I can gain confidence and experience riding it. But there were several pre-conditions from my end - mostly due to my fear. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not tall enough to ride all the beautiful motorcycles out there. So, yeah bike height being one of the first and foremost criteria. Then came the weight. You see I am a lean person. I had no experience handling a heavy vehicle. Some of you out there may argue that with time you get used to it. But I feared that with the slightest of the setback I am drop the idea of riding a motorcycle ever. As long as I did not give up on my own I really did not want to add any external factors to my bag of hurdles. I was picky. I was choosy. We had a hard time finding the one motorcycle that would fit my needs. Then finally one day like all things come together, I too ended up owning a second-hand motorcycle of my own! It was Hero Glamour. Can you believe it!? A girl, brought up within her parent's protective fence of love and care, has made her way out of that boundary and would be riding a motorcycle on the streets of Bangalore! Even when the motorcycle arrived at our place I still couldn't believe that I was the owner of one!
Then began my days of practice. Every bad scenario I could think under the sun played out in my head. How I might go dent someone's car or skid under a truck or lose control of the vehicle and simply watch in despair. A battle would be fought every morning when I climbed onto the motorcycle. Sometimes my confidence won and at other times fear lifted the trophy of taking over me. But I had to overcome this. For the very reason that there was another human being who had placed all his faith in me like there is no tomorrow. After several embarrassing moments, falls, some shouting and yelling from people on the road, I had learnt to ride a motorcycle the right way. I even did a Udupi-Mangalore ride, the first EVER ride of my life! Pluto was an old bike and he struggled to start many a times. Thanks to the battery issue, I even learned to kickstart a motorcycle! He was old but on the highway it was like he wanted to be set free. You can see that here in the video below.
Soon it was time to bid adieu to my first motorcycle, whom I lovingly called Pluto. No, there was no heart touching, magical story behind naming him that. It just popped in my head and I called him Pluto.
We decided to sell him off in Mangalore and decided to ship him off via train. And he arrived at the bustling city of Mangalore one morning. You should have seen my parent's faces when I announced that I would be picking up my motorcycle from the train station. It was a look of bewilderment and betrayal mix. Like a really bad cocktail. When Pluto arrived at our place he was not welcomed with open arms, but rather with resentment. I can understand my parent's feelings very well. They expected their daughter to be comfortably driving a car around or sitting passenger with her husband. But here I was, doing all things opposite that they dreamt for me. It took me sometime to get past, "What people might think" because ultimately it is my life and I DID NOT want mine to end up a stereotypical, mundane one.
Before we sold off the bike I rode the motorcycle around in my town to get the feel of the traffic there as well and on one fateful morning I met with an accident. It was loose soil on the road and the bike skid and all I remember was the vision in front of me tilting 90 degrees. Next thing I remember is people from the nearby shops coming to help me up and Akshay's face dense with worry. I dusted myself off, thanked everyone and acted all cool and rode off. But I was far from being cool. For the next several days we were staying with my parents I had to strategically hide my bruises on my arms and legs. Mangalore is a tropical place. Wearing full sleeve shirts were a bad, bad idea but I had no choice. It's either the heat or my parent's wrath. I chose the heat because that felt bearable than my parent's anger and worry. Akshay was always worried during this time about me and at one point he even considered asking me to put this motorcycling behind me. But I hadn't worked so hard to let one accident push me down. The time had come when I had to show what I was made of. Yes the accident did shake me up. Every time I passed by that road, I was reminded of that fall and my bruise hurt a bit more, adding a dramatic effect to all of it. But I was in no mood to be in the hall of quitters.
I was now sure that I wanted to continue motorcycling. So on a fine day, we sold Pluto off. I felt terrible about parting with him. I cried my eyes out. It was letting go of a member of my family. I knew I would not see him after that day. But Akshay reminded me that he would be out there fulfilling someone's dream, just like he fulfilled mine and that I should not be selfish. That brought a little consolation and we gave him off and I prayed he lands somewhere where he will be loved and cherished.
My family was relieved that I had finally given up on this "deadly" dream. But little did they know that I was far from giving up. I was now dreaming bigger and had plans of mine that they would not anticipate.
I will tell you all about my big dreams in my next post. It looks something like this!
But until then take care of yourself and enjoy your life :)