May 31, 2007

Well seasoned

I love the rains. I welcome the dread that invades the week before. The newspaper carries menacing little adverts that say 'MRF Rain Day is 6 days away' and sometimes I even think that the MRF man actually has a slight taunt in his smile.

Then, one day, I wake up and notice that the light outside isn't the almost obscenely bright Mumbai norm at all. The outdoors have turned into a still muggy, but now darker, more inviting looking hillstation type landscape. The sky has turned from its usual platinum-hard blue to a softer, but more invasive sort of grey. Then comes the mad scramble to rifle through the drawers, lofts, under-bed storage, old suitcases looking for my trust Rs 300 PVC rain oversuit, the waterproof gloves (Joe Rocket Ballistic – dry but not hot, a rare combo), the boot covers (from whitehorsepress.com). And the inevitable repack to find space for them in the tank bag. The extra set of clothes will already be in the office by this time... It's time to ride in the wet again.

The first day will always be the worst. Or I could say the worst day will always be the first. The roads go from dry to oily, Splendors slide around like 100 kpl snakes, lots of scared looking riders stop again and again to check if they have a puncture. It's a tragi-comic, really. As I slowly, steadily drone by, Sometimes their antics bring up a smile, and at other times, I feel for them.

And then it's over. We're in the thick of it. If we're lucky, the rain will come down hard, pelt down madly, stinging skin through two layers of protection. The smell of the wet and the sweat will become a mingled constant and the days will pass in a blur of smooth, studied, but still fast riding. Everyday will bring a new opportunity to learn something new about riding in high traffic and low traction. Last year, I learnt to remember what puddles ran how deep and use that to my benefit. What will I learn this year?

Some days, looking out of the office window, peering into the gathering clouds will be fun. The throttle hand will slowly unclench saying, 'I can't wait.' On other days, the 20 km that lie ahead will seem like a trip to neverland. And back. Every time I'll arrive wet only with my sweat, it will be a small victory, endorphins will flow and new bravura tales will born off their consequence.

The motorcycle will always, no matter how hard you try, be filthy. It will carefully clad itself in a ever larger coat of brown sludge, happy like an elephant on a hot day in a mud pool. The chaps who wash the bikes will stand beside it every morning and shake their heads in despair. Four months is too long, they will think.

And then suddenly, you'll catch yourself riding to work one day, wearing full waterproofs, not a cloud in sight, the bright sun burning a rather hot hole in your back, the sweat glands working overtime to keep things from reaching the red zone. And you will notice that at the bottom of potholes lies not mud, but dust. The rains are gone.

Your motorcycle skills have inched up another notch, and ahead lies the lovely, lovely winter. Your mind will leave your overheating waterproofs and linger over the prospect over crisp, cold mornings, of welcome heat from a ticking engine, gloved hands clasping a cup of hot highway tea, and the long look back at a clean, well-used motorcycle. I love the winter as well.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing. Superb stuff, really. You are da maan. Okkay BYE! :-)

rearset said...

Thank you sir. Okkay BYE! Fotu La, even

nJ said...

It was great reading it. It shows how things look beautiful when u think of them in a different, positive perspective.

I hate rains, well, i think u must be knowing the reason. But, after reading ur blog, i thought...well, i can even enjoy these rains!!!!

the main reason i hate these rains is that you cant ride as freely as u would on a normal day. especially if you are heading to some grand party or an important meeting. the raincoats u wear will be an added baggage when u r off the bike.i use a classic pulsar 150 and i dont have any dickys or hooks or bags attached to it.

i suppose urs is also da same situation. can u please throw some light on how u manage riding in the rainy season ??

thank you.

sriku said...

Hey rearset...thanks for the comments on my blog :) I've been riding in the rain for about 5 years now..on different bikes...first on an rx100, then a kinetic GF 125 and always on my rock solid bull. I've lived through everything you've said here, and though I don't have all your waterproofing equipment, I make up for it by riding to work wearing nothing but shorts, and a jacket...so if you see a bullet with huge handlebars and a wet, heavy idiot on it on the way to bandra, you can safely assume it'll be me :)
Am gonna read through all your posts...and from what I've read until now, am guessing I won't be disappointed...
Cheers dude

rearset said...

Done. Will keep an eye out for you Sriku!