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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Living on the edge with Gom Gom!

For all Gb lovers and that includes me,
I should have known everything was not right when I opened a blurry eye and saw Gaurav Banerjee or Geebka (as he is known to a few affectionate sources) sitting cross legged near my bed, looking all gung ho and full of beans. The man had never woken up for office before ten thirty, so to see him at my side at seven a.m was quite disconcerting to the eye.

“Choozay, chal driving sikhane”

The name’s Bond, not choozay phoozay.

I sighed and asked him if Neha had left her bike at our place. Earlier, she had been gracious enough to permit him to learn the art on her Activa and as we hopped down the steps and walked to it for the first time, the mauve thingie stared back at us bashfully.

Now before I launch into the most scalding of tirades any man has ever penned down, let me get this straight for I would not want to tarnish the reputation of a man if I am wrong. Do tell me, how many things do you have to remember while driving a non geared scooter besides increasing and decreasing the raise? That is all, right?

Apparently, this piece of information proved to be too complex for our man to assimilate. As we took the initial hesitant , also building block wala steps towards his ideal dream of driving an Avenger one day through the mountains, wind in his tresses et al, there were a number of issues that literally stared us in the face.

First of all, we were forced to contend with his shorts that flapped so gracefully that we were convinced it was in reality a divided skirt, yessir! Also, the skirt’s skittish movements exposed major chunks of his thighs and rendered me blind for several seconds.

We proceeded at a top speed of a couple of metres per hour, and soon cyclists, pedestrians and stationary objects were over taking us with consummate ease. I have a firm opinion that even if he had chosen to alight from the Activa and push it with only his chubby left thumb, it would have still moved with much greater velocity. “I think I can drive a chopper now, man” he voiced just before an eighty year old lady overtook us walking.

With Gom Gom (that’s what the Bengali world called him even when he was 16, hehe!) at the helm, the scooter seemed to have a mind of its own. I fail to understand why a bike would not move in a straight line when it is on a completely empty road, but the Activa just wouldn’t do so. It kept jerking its head left and right, swerving, halting - just like a dog on a walk.

The story of the turns needs another post to do justice to it. Although I have always thought of myself as a courageous and brave man, it is with the highest integrity I confess that today whenever that Bengali specie took a left, right or u-turn, my nerves jangled and rattled like a temple bell gone berserk.

"When Geebie drives the scootys, he gives me the cooties"

“Raise de, bike ghooma.” We were trying u-turns on an empty road flanked by vegetation on its sides. In the wisest move of the day, I got down from the bike citing that I had to check if he was making the cut properly.

He responded by turning the bike eighty four degrees (a U requires 180) and drove savagely into the bushes, stopping only when it was halfway up a tree. The next time he was told to turn right, the bike mysteriously tilted so much to the left that the steering almost met the road. Some times he would apply the correct amount of raise but would forget to turn the steering. Other times he would rotate it stylishly only to not provide any acceleration and see it splutter to a grinding lifeless stop. But mostly, he just drove into the bushes and halfway up the now quite annoyed tree.

I would have felt sorry but every time he crossed me, he would give me that impish smile that so warmed him to all and sundry at MICA. “Think I have got the hang of it, eh?” he’d say before streaking into the trees and scaring the living daylights of all the birds.

The best was saved for the last. After 84 U-Turns, none of which were a perfect semi circle, no not even a semi oval, nor a semi ellipse, we decided to take a few rounds of our colony before depositing the bike at Neha’s. So there we were, two alpha males riding through the wild (how else do you describe G’nagar?) with not a care in the world, in the middle of a mature conversation,

“I really think I should buy a Harley”
“Activa ki to Maarli, ab chahiye isko Harley”
{dry wit and poetry at its best, I say}

And that’s when she came out, breezing into the camera frame from seemingly nowhere. Oh no, you oafs, this isn’t a romantic scene and she wasn’t pretty and all that jazz. She was only crossing the road, but then stopped in the middle for no apparent reason. Hardly a reason to panic, because we were over a hundred metres away and could have chosen to follow any of the five hundred options that would avoid an accident – 1) Brake. 2)Turn the steering slightly to the left and cross her. 3)Or to the right and likewise. 4)Blow the horn blah blah

But no, Gb decided to do the one thing that would have ensured an accident. He accelerated the speed and drove the bike right into her. Note, till now we had not crossed the ten kilometer per hour barrier in the entirety of the day, but as soon as Gb saw the girl and the scope for the most ridiculous and avoidable accident, he raised the bar to fifty. In perfect synchronization, the girl remained oblivious to the entire scene, even though everyone around her screamed just like a good audience is supposed to. On our part, Gb eloquently mouthed “Oh shit shit shit” but refused to discontinue gunning the vehicle exactly towards her, while I assuaged myself by digging my hands deep into his collar in an attempt to reign him in, like a rider does his horse.

I always knew I was a prince in my last birth. Must have been an excellent horse rider. These things just don’t leave you, come new birth or a bozo roomy.

We somehow missed her. Gb claims it was his ‘sexy’ legs that altered the bike’s course and I think that she skipped at the last moment; either way we heard a high pitched scream. Maybe we mowed her down. We somehow returned home alive and right now, an hour past midnight, Geebka is sleeping happily, probably dreaming of a leather jacket and hot pillion riders.

Once he snores, I will turn that seven o clock alarm off.