Saturday, December 17, 2016

Alone (Micro fiction 2)

“I want to leave this town with a grand signature. Have you seen 
how smooth and open the roads are? How about 100 Km on my Road Bike?” Dilpreet announced to her group at a party. “Are you crazy? Who bikes that far out? I haven’t driven that distance in my car ever!” the social space broke into a howl of protest. “Be careful alright. Don’t go riding out onto the highway, the traffic is crazy. Will you be riding alone?” There was another attempt at dissuasion, “What are you going to do if there is a puncture? Does your bike have tubes in those tyres?” There was no abating this flow of dire prophesies, “Just do loops girl so you stay close to help. Toilet facilities is another problem, public spaces are so filthy. I have a friend who got a urinary tract infection just from using the staff washroom at her office.”

Dilpreet retreated into her sanctum sanctum against this
pandemonium of concern, the little private space inside her heart and mind. A bit of an achiever, she was used to treading a path of her own making. Sure, there were constructive inputs and critical feedback she fed into her journey. As to the automatic words of caution that arose from those who had not even entertained mentally what she was threatening to do, she often wondered, “What is the emotion behind all the doomsday predictions? Is there fear of being blamed for encouraging her just in case the project ended badly? Did her intention threaten their self-concept with a tinge of guilt over not trying hard enough? Were they really thinking of her inconvenience and safety or their own degree of comfort with the status quo? It could just be plain and simple inertia!”

She was at another gathering later that evening. Dilpreet had done her online and telephonic homework and settled on a model of the Road Bike. “Look, the way I see it, a bike is for exercise right. Why spend so much money on just a bicycle?” the unsolicited onslaught took off all over again. “What if there is no riding space in the town you go to next? Such a waste!” With all the risk assessment and abundant precaution happening around her, Dilpreet took her thoughts to the week of riding pleasure she had found astride her rented Road Bike. It had been a suggestion from a competitive cyclist, “You will never know the difference unless you ride one, the thin tyres, the body frame, the gears…it is a technological marvel, this bike. Take one on rent for a week and use it. It will help you make up your mind about changing your Firefox!”

“Exercise? How do I explain the liberating emotion of gliding
powerfully on a well surfaced road stretching into oblivion ahead? What price would you put on the pleasant stretch in the muscles, the restful domesticity of the countryside and the wondrous look in a street urchin’s eyes as he ogles at your machine? There is a particular sting to the early morning air that rejuvenates the skin and mood like no salon spa. The occasional tear in the eye with some stray particle in the rushing breeze adds to the heroism of the mile munching odometer. There was expansion, a reaching out, a stretching of the spirit, the sweetness of meeting a self-declared challenge; yes right, cycling was not just about exercise, it was about godhood!” Dilpreet clearly had the inclination to be independent of the good opinions of others. She trusted herself. She had the desire and the yearning. She had a crystal clear notion of herself pedaling down new paths, a rose red scarf trailing from her neck. She was bent upon celebrating life! 

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