Not many Indians will believe that within three weeks of cycling my body rejuvenated; as if knees got oiled with best lubricant and all those creaky-croaky noises disappeared like a magical event. My health got much better than anything could have done, with just an investment of Rs 39,800. Isn’t it worth? My cycle is one of the best blessings in life as of now. I am feeling younger by 10 years within a month’s cycling. I hope I can remain on this wonderful saddle of my bicycle for life.
Soon after two weeks of cycling, I decided to make a solo cycling trip to Ambala Cantt., where my parents live. The inspiration? My father who is an avid cyclist at even 78 and has countless long cycling trips to his credit and that too on those conventional bicycles, which are a drag compared to these modern bicycles.
The day I told my father that I am contemplating a cycling trip to Amabala just to meet him, he was ecstatic about it and declared a reward of Rs 2000 for me, reward in appreciation is real reward, no matter how small is the amount. I was equally excited to do the trip, as I knew by now that this would make my father very happy.
On 30th April 2012, weather was quite pleasant, as it had rained the previous evening, it was quite tempting to take off for Ambala. But I did not wish to cycle on NH22 when road could get wet, so had a morning session of local 15 kms. I wanted to set out fresh with full of morning energy, as 55 kms of journey needs good stock of energy. Later when weather cleared, somehow by about 1100 hours I was pushed by my spirit and the itching legs. I quickly packed my small backpack and took off at 1200 hours, a wrong time of the day, even if it was pleasant morning. I did not realise that its summers and the moment sun is shining bright, it gets warm. After about 20 kms, I realised the mistake but was too late; doing reverse 20 kms and if done same forward would take me to Ambala, this pushed me to go ahead. I had two major breaks and had water many times, exhausting trip, hot weather. By the time I entered Ambala Cantt. I was desperate to reach home, badly tired after exposure to the sun. I paddled my last 5 kms with shear will power, I was keen to shelter under a shady tree till evening.
This solo ride has been dedicated to my loving father… This is the least I could do to make my father smile like never before in life and after a long time. About month ago, his one eye had replacement of lens, through surgical procedure. I realised that parents can be made happy with these small little gestures. They have done so much for us, made so many sacrifices to which we are oblivious and not even keen to know. Also, I don’t think one can ever repay for what parents have done for their children. They need only our touch and care and togetherness with smile to them. If they need only this much, then why do we deny them. Probably, we fear that they may take away all our earnings for their needs. Most of us are lost in such a rush of materialistic world, we do not want to think of all this. I took a vow on that day that I would do anything for my parents. I could see in the eyes of my father that he wanted me to spend an extra day with him, though I wanted to return after one day only. I did a big favour to my father by staying an extra day? Shame on me if I thought like that… My heart was filled with joy and transformed that I could make my father happy, no words can express that feeling of me. I am lucky? Yes, very much. Ask those of your friends who lost the guiding light and guarding shade of father at childhood. I think, majority of Indian parents are still lucky as their children do care for them, after all the Indian culture has not yet faded. But many Indian around me are `software coded’ by their wives in such a smart ways, they do what they are signalled for. Probably, most Indian men are enslaved by the beauty of their women greatly. And these Cleopatras of Indian blood despise their in-laws like a `thorny bush’.
Lucky me … I got a wife who supports me, kids and my parents very affectionately. Any guest coming home even at odd hours is welcome and offered food, so many of my friends have been surprised with the warm welcome they get here. She never discouraged me from buying this bicycle in spite of the present circumstances, very tough. Neither she said a word against my cycle trip to Ambala Cantt. Though some of friends sarcastically accuse me of enslaving my wife that I keep her busy for my comforts. Many have asked her questions to know what makes her happy leading such a life – she has explained them the joy she gets in all this has no bounds, one just needs to understand life a bit, which is so wonderful thereafter. I am lucky in life, I have been able to continue to live with great freedom, which most men lose the day they get married. As we say `feathers clipped on the wedding night’; whenever I see a wedding in India – I sigh – One More General Sacrificed …
Next morning very early, I poked my friend Vinod Sareen of Foto Craft out of his bed for a basic and quick photo session. We have been friend for 30 years now, have learnt a lot from him in the field of photography. This was for FB posting and to start the Blog on arrival at base. Some of FB friends had already started asking for photos of the trip, so had to do. After all, friends do matter.
On the 3rd of May, after two days of good heart warming break at home with my parents, I took off at 0500 hours for return trip. The bag got a bit heavier as I was carrying lots of love shared by my mother, she had packed eatables for me and my wife, I could not say no to it, though it was looking tough in the beginning. If I had agreed she wanted me to carry so much as if I was on a car. I touched the feet of my parents for their priceless blessings, as its done in our family (practice followed by most Indians, those are not yet spoilt by the `chill pill’ and `slut walks’ etc. etc….).
With two brief breaks enroute to have `lemon water’ which I carried from home, few water breaks while being on the road itself I reached home by 0825 hours. Not to forget, one puncture in the rear tyre, just 2 kms from base. A good lesson about how important it is to have a good puncture kit with good handy air pump.
About two years ago, my father had undergone angiography at Post Graduate Institute (the best in the whole of north), doctors told me that his arteries are as that of a young man. For he has been cycling all his life.