Thursday, July 20, 2006

Freedom with my 'four-stroke' past midnight

They say 'youth never turns back' and I am sure IIT days don't come back either.

With a tinge of sadness, I remember those wonderful days at IIT where 2:32 am did not indicate that it was too late in the night. It is 2:32 am right now, and I am in my office in West End of Richmond, very sure that in a 1 mile radius around me no one other than the cops is awake. Things were not the same 1 year ago.

A long bike ride to almost anywhere in Bombay was just 4 phone calls and 20 rupees away. Friends were abundant, different types of friends. Department friends, Mood Indigo friends, hostel friends, PAF friends, some special friends. Money for the fifth year DD was abundant. And more abundant were our spirits.

We always loved this freedom. Freedom to go out for a coffee at Hiranandani, freedom to visit Cafe Mocha at Juhu or Bandra.
  • Distance - was never an issue.
  • Money - plenty
  • Drunken driving - DUI is for the US, buddy! For those who drank this was the best time to drink and drive freely over the unusually empty Bombay flyovers and sea-fronts.
  • Helmets - was never a compulsion.
  • Driver's license - always a way to tackle that
  • Safety - It's 'Amchi Mumbai' for you. Always safe.
  • Speed limit - Uh? What's that?

We bitched the dean when he wanted to ban the bike. What about our freedom? - we asked him.

We ridiculed the watchmen when they asked for entry. You fool - we laughed at them.

We hated the Mumbai Police when they stopped us. Pain in the @$$ - we quietly grumbled.

But never ever, never ever did we treasure this freedom. Never ever did we thank the people who got us this freedom. Never ever did we feel happy about the constitution that allowed us this freedom. Never ever did we bless the Mumbai Police who dispensed us this freedom at an unearthly hour at 2:32am. We never valued the money which our parents made available and we never wore helmets and we never drove below 55 kmph. Those who did (like me), were pecked at and had to digest the repeated insult of reaching IIT gates whole 10 minutes after everyone else.

We lost a sweet chap called Sachin Garg on the roads. Had the dean been successful in imposing his bike ban, Sachin would have been amongst us.

We lost a Rohit Bansal under a truck. Had he followed simple rules like wearing a helmet (as it is strictly followed in the US), and driving under the speed limit he would have been saved.

Is it too difficult to understand this? or realize this? NO. But still we all do what we want to do, just because 'we want to do what we want to do'.

I have had my share of freedom and now my brother is having his. Just one year ago, I had the privilege 'to do what I want to do' and today I an stiff scared of how foolhardy I was 12 months ago - because today whenever anyone says 'I want to do what I want to do', my brother could be driving on the roads.


Blogger Shantanu said...

& I thought I was reckless :P !

3:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home