driver and biker – prologue

As a kid, I was mesmerised by cars and bikes. Which kid isn’t? For me, it was more than the need for speed – it was, and is, about control. Think about it – hundreds, may be thousands, of parts, working in perfect time, controlled along precise axes – just to take us from point A to point B. Before I entered junior college, I wanted to become a journalist for one of the auto magazines published out of Pune. I never wanted to become an engineer and build cars. That I left to others. What I wanted was to drive them. Tune them. Control them. Till junior college, blessed with an encyclopaedia at home and a steady supply of auto magazines and books, I was up-to-date with the technology and jargon. In those days, I believed learning to ride a bike or drive a car was something I would do soon; as soon as I settled down in college. But two things conspired to wean me away from cars and bikes.

When I was in fourth grade, my father suffered a major accident while riding his CD100. The end result was a steel rod permanently implanted in his lower foot. Since then, my parents have discouraged me from seeking to ride a bike. And since we did not own a car, even driving was out. The other factor – I discovered electronics, computers and programming. I found a whole new world literally at my fingertips. A world which I could tune. Control. Before I knew it, I was hooked. Programming became an interest, turned into a hobby and finally, became my career choice.

But three years into my career, I felt a gnawing at my core. Something was not right. I was stagnating and could not figure out why. And then I had an epiphany. My case was like that of a football player. Both have turned an activity that took up their spare time while they were in school or college, into a career. Of course, I was a lot less serious about programming than a football player would have been about his game. But the parallel is otherwise exact. What the football player was doing right was he was not playing football in his off time. Once football became his career, he chose to do something else in his off time. I made the mistake of sticking in front of a computer even in my off time. The end result – I am suffering from a burn out.

The obvious thing would be to pick some other activity. Sports is out. I have never been athletic. The only physical activity I would like to engage in would be learning some sort of martial arts, may be kendo. But such an activity entails discipline and a structured investment of time, which I cannot not provide right now. May be I could have tried learning some musical instrument – a violin or a keyboard. But again, these activities require time to attend classes. And my friend, VR, bluntly told me I would be wasting my time. Given that my intention is to wrench myself away from the computer and not learn music, I would lose interest in the activity soon enough.

That stung.

Then for some reason, my mind retrieved my memories from long ago. Fuelled by my interest in Initial D, my interest in cars and bikes re-ignited. This is it – an excellent activity to do in my off time that would take me away from the computer.

As an immediate action point, I resolved to get a motorcycle. A bike in the executive commuter segment, but a sporty commuter none the less. In doing so, I broke my family’s taboo regarding two wheelers and am learning to ride a bike – snatching pitiful minutes from a packed weekly schedule.

As far as driving is concerned, I am learning to drive at a motor school, but I don’t have a car of my own and am not planning to buy one in the near future, not until Honda brings its Civic Type R to India. I am thinking of what could be the next best solution to that though!

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