On the way to my office, I have to cross the most dense traffic of the city. Every day is a new challenge. And thanks to the repair works, even the footpaths are occupied by mud, slosh and huge circular pipes (God knows when they will finally be sent into the ground, and free up the footpath). So, the frustration levels of us commuters have crossed the limits.
The bike people: Now, the bikers are a bored lot. They just stand on the roads, and honk. While not moving, they are busy cleaning their rear-view mirrors, checking their smart phones for new notifications (Come on, everyone else you know is either also stuck in traffic or sleeping), looking at other bikes and cars while keeping a tab on the countdown on the traffic light. The countdown is like the start of a bike race. People start their engines at the count of 10, and slowly nudge forward and cross the lines already by the count of 5. Some people zoom ahead at the count of 3, and the idiots like me, don’t move an inch unless they see the green lights. But the funny thing is, somewhere down the road, I make a point to overtake all those who made a head-start. That gives me immense satisfaction, and is my way of enjoying the traffic. It even feels a lot better on the days when I am on my bicycle.
The car people: Well, they have already been past the frustration limits. They have accepted the traffic, and it’s troubles. They don’t care how much time it takes for them to reach their destinations any more. A car these days, might have a pair of faulty brakes, but their radio and the speakers would always be in prime condition. And the Radio stations, you have so many of them, you can actually tune in to your favorite song for just about any situation. The people on the 4 wheels are not as bored. Rather, it’s quite a comfortable ride for them. Just some time for themselves, their only alone time. It’s like being castaway, with a radio, and a smart phone.
The bus people:, first fight for boarding the already overcrowded buses. They fight for a seat. They fight to get a ticket and to get back their change from the conductor. They fight to get down at their stops. The only time when they are not fighting during their journey is when they manage to get a short nap, be it sitting or standing. The nap makes all these fights worth the effort. When they finally reach their destination, they are charged up, all because of this power nap. For that, I consider themselves the luckiest people on the roads.
People on foot: Now, the pedestrians are the happy lot. At-least they have got a few inches on the footpaths for themselves, which otherwise was being used as motor bike trails. More traffic is always better for them, since they can now cross the roads easily. The footpaths now have more space to walk on. The only thing that is bad for them is the copious white and black fumes that gets thrown on their faces. You can see most of them change into their “Daaku” costumes before they step out of their houses.
The rest: You must be wondering who else would be facing the troubles of traffic!!! Those four wheeled motor-less vehicles… No, not the hand carts. The four-legged animals. Yesterday, I saw a herd of cattle stuck in the middle of the road among vehicles all around them. And they were just clueless and stood their until the road got cleared. The only difference between them and the humans, they didn’t honk even once, unlike us.
Busy at home. Busy at office, and busy in sleep. That’s how the last month went.
Aadya (7 months now), is super-active now, and needs to have a few pair of eyes always on her. Within a minute, she can reach places which she is not supposed to. So, she has made me more alert, and I my brain is now programmed to always multi-task (well, at-least 2-tasks). My hand-eye co-ordination has improved manifold. All credit goes to her. At times when I try to force her to have lunch/dinner, she doesn’t like it. And expresses her displeasure by making it almost impossible for me to put spoon in her mouth. But, with lots of practice, I have now learnt to win against her. No matter what she does, I can now make her have the whole lunch without even spilling a drop. Although she is restless, and always throwing her arms and legs around, my hand-eye co-ordination is beyond her understanding.
She takes power naps a lot. At times, she sleeps after an hour of soothing and coercing her to sleep, and she wakes up before even I have finished praising myself for the accomplishment. Her power naps can be of durations anywhere between 5 – 30 minutes. More perseverance, a lot more, I guess.
Weekends are no more rest days. They are now the busiest days for us. I am so busy, that at times, I forget to brush my teeth, or take a bath for days together. Anyway, taking a shower doesn’t make sense these days, since she spoils the best of my T-shirts without any warning, whatsoever. I think I have to change the T-shirt that I am wearing right now. I can smell something.
When we are so close to a release, and think it’s going to happen anytime now, some new issues come out from their hiding. The release that we have been trying to do since the last 2 weeks, is finally out, and I can breath a little more oxygen. It’s been quite a busy month at office also. When I reach office, there’s always some fire burning.
The road to office is always busy. The traffic has been increasing day by day. The days I get stuck on the roads, I wish I could fly my bike, seriously, and then give up the idea, when I hear someone also is also thinking the same, but loudly. That situation would be much worse that the situation on the ground.
But now, since the fire at office has been in control, I can breath some fresh sleep into my busy schedule. And give some more time to do other things as well. And get a little order in my day to day activities, like brushing my teeth, and taking bath regularly. But I am worried if Aadya will recognize me if I shave off my overgrown beard.
The day I choose to do things in a planned way, everything works against me, and throws my well planned schedule out of course. This has happened to me time and again, and still I keep trying. I sometimes wonder if planning has actually worked for anyone at all, or its just me.
I wanted to wake up early. Finally woke up at 8 am.
I wanted to do some exercise today. It was too hot outside.
I wanted to reach office early today. Couldn’t leave early because a meeting was scheduled right before I was supposed to leave home.
Strange as it may seem, I am much less worried or tensed when my days are unplanned. No expectations, to targets to run for, and a happy and calm day. But then, being a husband and a dad, I am supposed to at least act as if I have planned everything perfectly. And it better be a good plan.
Good plan is the one which has unlimited number of backup plans in case any one of those fail.
When my wife asks, “Have you made your plans?” I answer, “Of course. Don’t you know me? I don’t keep anything for the last minute.”
And think to myself, I just told the biggest baddest lie of today and look at my wife. She smiles and probably is thinking the same. 😀
The distance to my office is about 16-17 kms one way, and the days I chose to cycle to office, it feels like a really long time. 34 kms, in a day, cycling, I had never imagined that I would be able to do it regularly, without fainting. I haven’t fainted yet. But, I do sweat a lot. And after reaching office, I have to take a mini shower before I can start to work.
It’s a Rockrider 5.0. Weights 14.5KG (Light weight comes with a higher price tag). 21 speed 3X7 grip shifters.
Overall cost: 11, 000 INR
I have already crossed 1000 kms on the odometer. But, I am quite far away from my target, 3500 kms in a year. And there are only 5 more months to complete the remaining 2500 kms. That’s about 16kms a day, which doesn’t look realistic. Let’s throw that target of mine out of the window for this year. I don’t want to revise the target for obvious reasons.
A few things for people who want to buy bicycles.
Don’t go for the geared ones unless you are planning to ride it for more than 10 kms at a stretch. It costs you more, and is not worth the trouble dealing with all those gears. Although you will get used to the gears, you would hardly use them during short commutes.
For Bangalore roads, you need good mud-guards which would ensure that your own tyre don’t throw mud on yourself. The shopkeeper was suggesting me not to fit the mud-guards while buying it. He asked me to come back after a month and get it fixed, since it was summer time then. I am glad I bought them. 4 days later, it did rain while I was out cycling.
A bell and a night light, (Rear view mirror is optional). You would probably think that they would never be used. But trust me, you will definitely need these.
A pair of gloves, if you are going for long rides.
And of course, a good helmet.
You might now want to buy everything here in one shot. If you are coming back from a long break, some practice before going on longer rides is definitely required. It will take some time to get adjusted to just about everything. Right from your posture, pedals, handles and the seats, it will be very uncomfortable. I took about 2-3 days to be absolutely sure that I could handle all kinds of roads, traffic and my fellow commuters on the roads. After all, I was starting to bicycle again, after a gap of 12 long years.