Saturday, January 31, 2009

over puffs of solitude

I remembered those old days when I used to sneak out of the crowded by-lanes of my locality into a secluded spot by the railway tracks. It was an isolated spot with ample quantities of solitude, freedom and peace. I would relax there and let my thoughts wander around into the unknown depths of my mind.

The spot was just next one of those signal rooms. From where I used to sit, I would occasionally hear the ringing of the telephone in the signal room and the ensuing conversation, and then the mechanical shifting of the gears which changed the colours of the light glowing on the distant railway signal pole. A short while later a train would come rolling down with all its monotony and the guy in the signal room would appear at the windows waving the flag at the train. It wasn't the same guy all the time, but no matter who was in charge, I would see that guy responding to the flagbearer of every passing train with a distinctive big smile exposing his full array of gutka stained teeth. :) By observing these men, I was quite unknowingly being an eyewitness to some great human characteristics. Later on I imagined, "What if the guy misses his shift ?"; "What if there is no one to answer that phone ?"; "What if there is no one to change the tracks or change the lights ?". Everyday thousands of people put their lives in the hands of these responsible men who do their duty in the sheer boredom of a distant cabin.

So you see... my mind would endlessly flutter between thoughts, mostly vague and some useful. In the later years when my kid nephew was able to walk around a bit, I used to take him to the signal room so he could watch trains whizz past at high speeds. He would enjoy the occasional breeze that the trains brought and when he would get bored we would drive back home.

One fine late evening I was sitting there and was hearing this song : "Name" by GooGooDolls
"And even though the moment passed me by,
I still can't turn away
Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose,
Got tossed along the way
And letters that you never meant to send,
Get lost or thrown away..."

I just drifted back to my past. I could feel the change; I don't know if I could ever measure it or know if all of it was good or bad, but I had changed...I laughed at the thought of those times when I used to score perfect 100's in school science exams. Now I know how overjudgemental I was about my abilities in science :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

heavier by a plate and 8 screws

Its been exactly a month and 3 weeks since that fateful day. I have imagined myself going through it again and again, and the part that I hate the most is the one in which I was trapped under my bike and being dragged on the tarmac by the vehicle for more than a meter (The accident happened when I was commuting to office. I suffered a broken bone in my left leg and some ligament damage at the ankle. The bone needed to be operated and my leg stayed in the cast for 6 weeks). And just for the record I had nothing personal against any motorist including this dude...
For once in his lifetime, if a motorist could only stop and think about how life has been for most of the cyclists out there, he would (and probably should) give a big salute to everyone. For his contributions to the society, a cyclist is very modest in his needs. All he requires is a 1ft x 6ft piece of road on the leftmost edge, for which he has to put up a brave front against threatening vehicles many times the size of his bike and not to mention the ridicule and the foul-mouthing. He bears all the insult and moves on believing that one day the world will not look down upon him anymore. His hopes of finding a fairer world might be a dream but it is a good thing that he hopes, because this hope is the only thing that will get him back to his bicycle everyday. And as long as he keeps doing that, there is One Less Car or One Less Motorbike on the road :)

My terrible experience came at a cost (or should I say "It cost me a lot of things...things that were important"), and I was surprised at myself for not never having cursed that gentleman. That is so unlike the temperamental and ever defensive ME. I wondered what had changed me in these years? And I couldn't think of any answer other than my obsessive hobby of the two wheels. Cycling , I realized, has taught me to be more practical and more balanced towards a situation , because we have been treated so much more worse than others. I realized that if not for that gentleman I would not have had a chance to experience the hospitality of Apollo Hospitals and the feeling of spending the new years eve with my family after 3 long years. If not for him I would never have felt my pseudo pain-thresholds, that I broke many a times and the constant reassurances of my buddies on the road & at work that "its all right man... you'll pull through".

Monday, January 26, 2009

lets get Critical !!!

When we started the Critical Mass ride on 28th November, we had just built it out of a argumentative discussion at about a week before the d'day. Now I am glad we had that argument. On the 31st of January we are having the third one ! The Critical Mass is going to happen in Bangalore every Last Saturday of the Month. We have a website built up (its actually a blog :| ) at Mind having a sneak-peek into the history of Critical Mass ? Click Here !

Just get your bicycles and join us ! Be assertive about your right as a cyclist. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Do The Test !

The bicycling culture is not new to anyone in this world. For many years in the last two centuries , the primary mode of commute has been bicycles. But with the advent of the motorcycles and cars , the number of people relying on this fairly simple human powered marvel has been dwindling. In the recent years the conflict between motorized modes of transport and bicycles has reached its heights. One of the places in the west where the things are turning really bad is the UK. These videos seek to demonstrate how things that share road with motorists (for example a bicyclist) are openly ignored. The messages in these videos pack quite a powerful punch. See for yourself :)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bi-Cycle .. Another great find !

I am overwhelmed with the amount of innovation I have been able to unearth today on the internet. Here's one more unique design based on the association of two unicycles and what a beauty has this turned out to be !! :) A unique tandem bicycle, Bi-Cycle allows both riders to contribute equally to the riding experience. Since both riders can steer and pedal at the
same time, riding this bike demands a trust bond between the riders.

The design is based around some key structural components that were custom built after many days of head-scratching ! And I haven't told u the coolest part yet ... its foldable :)
Now Ain't that cooooooool ! Click here to see the Bi-Cycle in action :)

Range Murata's fantasy come true :)

Well by now I have heard and seen so many people drool over beautiful and sweeeeeeeeeeeeet looking bikes. I bet they haven't seen something as weird and artistic as this one.. Range Murata is a famous figure worldwide and is a anime' designing hotshot. He has worked on many projects.. This is one of his personal fantasies come true :)

And some of his designs are absolutely wow !!!

Tell me folks.. Does it not feel good to do what you like and get satisfaction out of it. :)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

...In Between Questions...

There are numerous instances that come to my mind where i was touched by the innocence and brilliance of a kid. Times when they rush in packs of ten or more to hug me and greet me brings a sense of relief that I am not alone in Bangalore. The tender feel of their hands and the soothing smiles are worthy indications of the warmth that they share with each one of us.

…The Seekings…

There is also the sad side of the system that we so much want to change. This kid has forever yearned to study, wear clean clothes and walk ahead of his/her own times…but is for the time being content with getting that one delightful square meal a day. Education has taken a backseat and hunger as always remains his prime concern and reason to go to the school.

There was this kid in the Jogupalyam Urdu Primary School who expressed this concern one day that is still distinct and fresh in my mind. He said “I want to continue studying after my 7th class”. He is now in a Upper Primary school where the standard of education is nowhere close to what kids recieve in a proper municipality school. The many questions that arise out of this condition are baffling at times and only have one thing in common - They dont have an answer. Questions like “Will a good govt. school allow him to continue after his 7th class?”; “What about the other kids- WHY did they not have the same desire?”; “How will I be able to answer this question?” invoke a sense of gravity in me to this day.
It is this sense of questioning that brings all of us to a common platform of concern that will not fail to echo the intentions of the Volunteering comunity.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Howdy World !!

I guess its about time now that I let the blogging fever catch up to me.. After ignoring many calls from my friends and well-wishers to have a look at their blogs and after a half-hearted attempt to start blogging many months ago, I finally gave in to the phenomenon. I must admit that I have changed a lot over the years but I am still the same trusted and deep-rooted guy that people have known me as...

For most of us bicycling brings fond memories of childhood and innocence. Many choose to let them slip away to the farthest nooks of their brain and few others like me could never let go of them. Eversince the summer months of 2005 when I moved out of my folk's in eastern India, bicycles have contributed immensely to my process of self-discovery. Now I feel like me the most when I am on a bicycle :) I now take immense pride in the culture that I am part of and hope that many others will join me in the days to come.

I was never the bookish kind nor was I into reading all that much, but few years back I suddenly found a fascination for books that were mostly biographical and auto biographical in nature. Many of the chapters there started questioning my routine actions which were critically bound to my life, day-in and day-out. I found myself taking mental notes of personal experiences and retrospections very often and lost them every now and then. These are the kind of time when being a blogger really helps and I am glad to have started now.

When I first started real volunteering in 2006 I was doing it to serve my intentions of wisely utilizing my spare time. Little did I know that this one wise act of mine was going to change my life for ever. It was difficult to see so many people lack basic amenities, especially when we were basking in the luxuries of our white-collared jobs. I saw more of this with each passing day and then I realised that the biggest challenges didn't lie in cracking a bug in a program of 1 million lines of code but in building small changes for a sustainable social machinery where the deprived and the self-sufficient see this country through a phase of mutual development.

I strongly believe that many others around me must have had such moments like the ones's I have had. Through this blog I purely intend to share experiences new and old, that have touched me and have let me connect to the world and whats beyond. I am modest about my handicaps with the English language…I am still exploring it. A little tolerance from the readers is expected. Criticisms and suggestions are whole-heartedly welcome.

Hoping to have a introspective time with the blogging.