Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels:

I still remember the day - I was on a call at a PCO along with my punctured Ranger Swing informing my friend that I won’t be able to make it to his place and would be heading back home. There comes along a shiny red Classic Pulsar in its usual growling style- staring hard straight at me through its big round head as if asking me what the hell are you doing here? That mean look of the machine shot out an illusionary arrow that pierced right through my senses, and I took a firm decision right at the place that if my day comes to buy a bike, it has to be the Pulsar and nothing else. I was madly in love with the CBZ earlier which I still am, but the attitude of the Pulsar that simply pours out of its design, the violent slashes on the tank, the panels were enough to set my heart racing and on fire, leave alone the feeling of riding it, it dislodged the CBZ if not out of my mind but certainly off its slot. I used to stare at other people rolling on their steeds with the burning passion and desire to have one with me some day. I knew I couldn’t afford one at that time, but I was sure of one universal fact, time and situations are never constant- they change and will change for the better. With a prolonged craving deep inside, the only thing I could do was just wait for my day.

More than two years pass by- it’s November 2003 and I get a better opportunity with a good boost in pay as well. So finally I could see my machine rushing towards me from the edge of the horizon and my wishes taking shape. As a usual habit before getting anything for myself, I started collecting whatever reviews I could get from owners, from the web, from magazines, newspapers and what not. Based on all the research which lasted for a month, which I found all good and satisfying, there was nothing holding me back to go in for one of my own. Just passing by a book stall, my eyes fall on a copy of Overdrive mentioning about the DTS-i version. No second thoughts, picked it up right away. The review and the test were excellent, or should I say it sounded like a paid review ;) only praises and praises and praises. I was on a lookout for some weaknesses of the machine, which I hardly came across in the matter. But my homework of getting reviews from people helped me out. Its mid December and I am finally into the process of getting my machine, the funny part is that I didn’t even know to ride a bike. So for some practice session, I asked for Revel’s (my friend) Splendor and the max I did was 20 kph in second gear- but nonetheless I got the confidence that I could handle a two wheeler after years of riding a bicycle :D

One of my friends was working in a general 2 wheeler showroom. Got it touch with him and he was as happy as me - I was getting business for him after all. So at the end of all the explanation for requirements of proof and documents, I rushed through all the formalities required for getting my steed booked, on installments obviously - didn’t have that heavy of a bank balance. The difference in installments between the 180 and 150 wasn’t much and I decided to go in for the former as I wanted the best available. The dealer enquires about my experience of riding. With a modest grin on my face I say none- I had just got my learner’s licence :P He suggests that I go in for a 150, the 180 would be too much for me to handle , mileage is ridiculous and will give lot of problems in course of time. That time there wasn’t anyone to guide me and my knowledge about bikes was not even in decimal percentage. I said fine – I’ll go for the 150. He shows me a blue 150, got very eager and restless for a test ride, which I found tough taking. Couldn’t get the bike rolling in 1^st gear, was stalling now and again. But finally after 10-12 retries, I finally got it on the move. Had a hard time handling it- was a huge machine compared to the Splendor I had got on once, the weight and power both were on the higher side and so were the handlebars J Was satisfied for sure, but the blue colour was somewhat that my eyes couldn’t accept and I asked him for a black one. So deal was struck and he committed me delivery for my black 150 in 7 days with RTO registration. Its December 29^th 2003, the dealer stood firm to his commitment on delivery. It was a day which had more than one reason to be joyous- one being taking delivery of my first bike and second Rahul Dravid had just hit a boundary off Stuart McGill to take India to its win in Australia after considerable number of years.

I take my friend along to the showroom to take delivery of my bike as I knew I couldn’t ride it at all, that was a secondary reason anyway, first being I still didn’t have a proper licence and the nervousness on my face would be a happy and open invitation to cops to extort money from a poor rider like me L Trusting my friend, I took delivery of my black beauty- didn’t got around checking for things being in the right place. The odometer reading 30 kms – that was because the bike had been bought from the Bhiwandi Showroom, and with hardly any fuel in the tank I ask my friend to get it our on the road with me as a pillion. Gave it a treat worth 200 bucks of Power from a nearby HP bunk. Next stop was at a sweet shop for a buy- gave my friend a packet as a sign of thanks and appreciation and took the other for our ritual proceedings on arrival of a new member in our family. Back home, my mom and sis were ready with coconut, flowers and incense sticks- very eager to welcome the new member. Bang goes the coconut on the floor followed by our traditional pooja ceremony, sweets are distributed to our neighbours who are equally overjoyed on seeing the first Pulsar in their area J I could see signs of worry on my mom’s face, I ask her to come on the road- I take the bike along and thankfully this time I don’t stall it in gear. I show her that I am confident and able enough to handle it.

The travel routine to office was still by bus, was madly waiting for my pukka licence to come. I joined the bajajpulsar group for more information skills on riding and maintenance. I remember seeing their ride pic in some issue of Overdrive where BAL had invited them to test ride the new DTS-i. Wow, what a privilege??? I sincerely owe and appreciate the group for the most of the things which I’ve learnt till date. I come to know they’re having a meet on the 25^th of Jan 2004, which I didn’t want to miss. Unfortunately my licence still hadn’t come- I get on the head of the agent to expedite the matter. Thankfully on 23^rd January 2004, I got my pukka licence, the test ride at the RTO wasn’t that stringent and tough. Next on the list was riding gear, the awareness which I got being on the bajajpulsar group. As a Mclaren fan and supporter I bought myself a black DC Mclaren design helmet. Had to ride to office the next day and didn’t want to ride without a helmet. Mika was my favourite F1 driver and after his retirement, as a tribute to him I decided to pass on to his name on to my machine, to which people assumed the name of some bakwas boring bhangra singer :))

From 29^th Dec 2003 to 24^th Jan 2004 my machine had just clocked 255 kms. Got my machine on the road and out of my area for the first time all by myself. Rode to office like a horse with blinkers, nor looking here nor there, was only looking at the path I was supposed to. Stalled a couple of times in traffic owing to nervousness, but the primary electric start came to the rescue. Took a sigh of relief once I reached office and came back home without much worry. I was excited for the next day’s meet, will be meeting a lot of other riders. I remember Arpan being kind enough to call me up and confirming my attendance for the meet. So 25^th January 2004- my first group meet and the odometer just crossing the 300 kms mark. Was a delighting experience meeting Prannoy, Sunny, Arpan and others. Prannoy’s bike was as new as mine and from that day onwards we’re having a competition of clocking the most number of kms :)) Right now I think I’m quite ahead of him – just 10kms to go for the 48,000 mark, which hopefully I’ll be completing today.

So that was the start of my biking life. Today I can rightfully call it as my secondary soul, a soul as it is always there, something that I cannot live without and secondary because on the contradicting part to my former words, it had parted me on occasions, but that was when I used to take it for a refresh at the service centres. Its painful to even part with your machine for a day, ask Kedar how he felt when had to give his bike for a mag change :( Anyways that doesn’t end here. Adding to it, I found a true friend who has always stood by me in the sunny-happy days and the dark times. It has been there with me when I was happy meeting and chatting with you lovely friends thinking how wonderful this gift of life is, and at other times when had things not going my way, worries and tensions on the rise with tears in my eyes- still it was there besides me. Its been the medium through which I got opportunities to meet someone whom I loved so much, it has seen me happy involved in deep conversations with her even without being jealous a bit. It was there seeing me alone weeping when we parted, limitations stood in between and all it could do was just watch helplessly, but always tried to calm me down when on the move.

It has always been neutral irrespective of the circumstances it has been in. It has crashed on more than one occasion, I believe it holds the record on the group for the max number of crashes, but it stood up and ran as if nothing has happened. I remember last year’s floods, it weaved out through deep water like a half-submerged submarine - the time when more than half of the people I saw with their machines dead and refusing to start. It carried me all the way home without a slight stopover. That’s the lesson it has taught me, be firm and just keep running- whatever the circumstances, call it “THE UNSHAKEABLE”.

People will term it as a machine which runs on fuel and all reasons behind it moving on the road is purely scientific, but not to me. For myself it has its own distinct identity- ITS ALIVE, it does feel the pain when it gets a heavy jerk courtesy our merciless roads, and I apologise for me being not cautious enough to avoid the bump. Its got its share of pats whenever its has come out calm and composed out of stretches which I wasn’t confident of going through at speeds. When aboard, I always feel one with it as if we’ve been carved out of a single block, hence I come to know about even a small niggle, as you feel if there’s something wrong in your own body. I always love riding as it does, hates to sit idle- it wants to roll miles like munching peanuts and I see to it that both of our wishes are fulfilled whenever I get an opportunity.

Going on a long ride is like meditation for me, my state of mind is like that of an idle needle of a voltameter, no outside charge to move its from its position, absolutely zero, no thinking- the only thing I do is feel. Feel the wind that is constantly embracing and hugging you, as if it is welcoming you to see the wonderful art of god that nature is. The first rays of the morning sun melting down the chilly bits of frost inside you, warming you for the day’s ride ahead. I owe all these gifts to my bike, all these wouldn’t have been possible in its absence. I would have been sitting like a couch potato in a bus with the same-everywhere feeling of the air-conditioner and some stupid movie playing, waiting for my destination - whereas on my machine, I’ve inhaled every bit of air that has come along my path, I’ve felt the road that I passed, through the tyre grooves kissing and talking to the road. I sincerely thank my bike and the person who invented the motorcycle, they’ve made me experience heaven being right here on this planet.

I pamper it a lot, try to get the best fuel and oil available. Give it a bath in a manner as I would have to an infant. Always insist on original parts to keep both of us satisfied, and it counter-thanks me for all this by running smooth and wonderfully well. But sometimes we both get bored of doing the routine commuting speeds and occasionally it urges me to take the throttle grip to the other end. It extends the best of cooperation when I maneuver it at high speeds through traffic on the highway- as if its saying don’t worry I’ll help you take it.

The best part is as I’ve said earlier, it has bought me very good friends in life, it’s been a boat that has taken me to a treasure island and given me real gems. Not to mention it has also enjoyed ferrying a lot of my female friends, even more than I do :D Don’t know if its psychological, but it responds so differently whenever there is a female pillion behind, it feels much zippy and peppier compared to riding solo. It has served me modestly as a faithful associate and I try my best to keep it around in the vicinity of my eye-sight. Maybe one day by the grace of god and the wishes of you good people turns me lucky to go in for an SBK, still I doubt that I will be able to part with my machine. Surely your first bike has its corner in your heart, but my machine doesn’t deserve a corner coz it is already a portion of my heart. It’ll be the same for me even after years down the line and I’ll try my best to keep it as it looks today….. its special.

On the concluding part- what do you call something who never leaves you, someone who pacifies you and calms you down in depression, always alert at your commands yet never complains. Confers upon you the bliss of heaven right here, helps you make new and good friends. A world where people say today its hard to find a good friend, its got me plenty. How do you thank someone who does all these for you? I believe you simply can’t do it enough. Then would you still call it a machine, surely not. It means so much to me- should I call it my shadow….. or a reflection of myself. I won’t go wrong if I do…….. would I ?

Ride on, Ride Safe....