Memoirs of a Scooter
Short Story by: Subramani
The End….. Tip Tip Tip …… The water droplets started falling on me gradually. The source of the water droplet is the drenched waste cloth that just fell on me. That waste cloth was thrown by Sreethar. He had just wiped his majestic “Royal Enfield Thunderbird” bike with that cloth and threw it over me. I felt spiteful on looking at that bike. It was standing boldly right in the middle of the veranda; the veranda that had been my place. To be more specific, that had been my place till today’s morning. To be frank, I shouldn’t be complaining that I was pushed to the corner. As an old Bajaj M80 scooter, I should be thankful, that I was not yet been sold, and at least still have a place in this corner. Actually I feared I might even be sold this morning…. Today Morning……. “That’s why I asked you to sell this….” – Sreethar was talking in a deafening voice with his dad and my proud owner. “Don’t raise your voice. After all that was his first vehicle. How can he sell it?” interrupted Sreethar’s mother, who had always played a mediator role between them. “No Ma, but please understand. Where will I park my bike then?” – Sreethar had just returned a week earlier from Pune; he got transfer from his office there after a mighty struggle and after bogus threats of quitting the company. I was very happy when he came back; I have warm memories of him. However my cheerfulness was short lived, as his bike followed him a weak later. It turned out to be a contender for my place. “If you want I will leave the bike at the outside. Let some one steal it”, – saying this he stormed into the room furiously, showing his annoyance clearly towards me. “Its okay pa. I will leave my scooter at the corner. You don’t get angry” – His Dad, slowly moved me from the veranda, towards the corner. I just lost my place of 15 years to this new bike. I could see the tear in his eyes. However I am not sure if that tears were for me or for him. Probably for both of us, as we both felt worthless now. Today Sreethar may feel that I am useless, but I had not always been useless. In fact I had not ever been once to mechanic shop for major repair, until that fatal day. That fatal day, I met with my first severe accident. The first accident ….. Sreethar even then didn’t have very good view about me. He was then studying in the third year of his Engineering, but had been pestering his Dad for a new bike. “I don’t even want for me Dad. At least you buy a new one. I will use it very rarely.” – He always used to say. “For this Clerk in Government office, who isn’t bold enough to get bribes, who had to marry off three of his younger sister’s with his salary, who had to ….” – His dad went on ranting, but the bottom line was that he couldn’t afford another bike that time. I would have rather preferred if he had said “Nope, I can’t think of any other bike when I have such a valuable scooter”, but was at least contented that I was still of use to them. However on that day, Sreethar had to rely on me, whatever be his attitude towards me. He was watching an Indo Pak cricket match, when his friend called him. He came out with his newly brought Mobile phone outside the house, as he normally does when he doesn’t want his mother to eavesdrop his secrets. Today his face turned passionate as he listened to the communication from the other side. He right away went inside, came back wearing a better shirt and combing his hair for the first time in his life. After a moment of indecisiveness, he decided to make use of my services. He started to murmur the then latest love songs and tried to make me go to more than 50 Km per hour. For me who was used to run at conservative secure 35 Km per hour (when his dad drives), it was little too much. On seeing his cheerful mood, I tried my best to help him out. But he didn’t seem to understand my concern, and hurled abuse at me for not moving fast. “I can never meet her, travelling in this tortoise” – he said. Again his mobile rang, and he decided to attend the call, still trying to gather every bit of pace from me. As his attention was disturbed, I saw the car coming off from a turning at a higher speed. That was one of those rare instances in my life, when I thought “How nice it would be if I had been given a control to stop myself, when in risk.” However when I was made, the science had not yet developed so much, and I had to go and hit straight into the car, putting me in disarray and throwing Sreethar into the nearby bush. I had to spend 15 days in the mechanic shop, whereas Sreethar spent 3 days more in the hospital. There’s nothing more to say about that incident to you; having said that my interactions with Sreethar had not always been that mournful. We have had happier moments together. Secret Rendezvous…… It was two thirty in the afternoon on yet another sweltering Sunday. Sreethar tipped out of the house cautiously. His now much famed moustache had then just started to grow and he was then in ninth standard. I was also much younger then and more blissful. He slowly pushed me out of the veranda, careful not to make any noise. For this clandestine rendezvous with me, he always selected this time. This is the time his father would be taking his Sunday afternoon nap after having heavy meals. His mother and younger sister would have gone to the aunt’s house in the next street. So there will be no one in the house, to warn him that he is too immature to drive a scooter. He will not start me till he reaches the end of the road, to make sure he doesn’t wake his dad up. Once he reaches the main road, he will kick start me. Normally he will succeed in third or fourth attempt. He will then proceed through the streets, where none of his relatives and his father’s friends resides. Then within an hour, I would be back in my usual place in verandah, before his father wakes up and drives me to a Siva temple, where he will meet his set of friends. I just used to love those days. But then it was not that Sreethar started driving me only when he was in ninth standard. He used to partially drive me, even when he was as little as in forth standard. Those were much sweeter memories. Much Younger Days….. The beautiful moments of when I was driven partially always happened, when Sreethar’s dad takes him alone on me to a trip to some far-flung places outside the city on weekends. Those were days, when I was very new having been just brought. It also coincided with the time, when Sreethar’s mother was carrying her second child. As Sreethar’s dad wanted to drive me as much as possible, and his wife refused to accompany him, citing pregnancy as the reason, Sreethar always got the chance to accompany him. As they crossed the city limits, and reached empty roads, Sreethar, sitting in front of his dad, was given the opportunity to control the accelerator alone. With the combination of horrified and passionate look in his face, he used to control the accelerator, driving me carefully only in thirties. He always used to listen to his Dad’s instruction of “Slow down, go little quicker” carefully, and handle me so well. Thinking back now, it must have been the most wonderful moment of my life, but then there was one more day. The day I was brought by his dad. Genesis That was a week before Diwali. I was just brought by Sreethar’s dad. I still remember the day so vividly. I was moved to the centre of the verandah. Sreethar, his mom, dad, and his grand dad all looked at me in awe. I was given special Poojas. Every one just adored me. I felt so proud about myself. It was then Sreethar’s dad noticed a small dust over my seat. He felt so troubled, that he immediately shouted at this wife to bring a wet waste cloth. He cleaned the dirt carefully. I was proud that I was brought by people who take such a good care of me. He threw the wet cloth after cleaning me. It went and fell on the old cycle standing in the corner. I looked at the bicycle in a degrading way. The water droplets started falling on the bicycle gradually…. Tip Tip Tip ……
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