Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Bicycle Diary (Part II)

Part I here

There’s nothing like pedaling the bicycle as fast as I can, though my maximum speed is almost below normal there’s a feel of achieving something that when exists from my own strength and energy is unequal to anything. I think not only cycling, but anything that has a personal touch and contribution from same is always special.  Even though we have or get assistance from others on any job/work but when it comes to things we are passionate or close to be, doing it on self is something satisfactory that no one could repudiate.  Sometime I feel lack of power to pedal the cycle and those times what help me (to move ahead) were the ramps built in front of many houses and my uncle having his own workshop with ramp in front of it to make way cars enter the garage. I used to bring the cycle above the ramp and pedal fast along with the force to cover certain distance and repeat it from some others ramps.

Cycling is one of the best parts of my active life then and the only vehicle I drove on my own using my ability. I got great control over the handlebar by propelling the cycle helped me to drive Scooty (a sort of Scooter), but rather independently I ride it with the help of my dad who used to support from pillion when the bike need to halt, as I can’t balance its weight on foot. But those are a decade and a half old story. I have drove bicycle for more than 6 years but I wasn’t powerful unlike when I started to pedal bicycle and as I lose power subsequently and walking becomes difficult I quit cycling. The memories of cycling are always evergreen, although I couldn’t remember all of it, certain incidents and phases continue to exist. Thanks to Aarumugam (six face) and if he hadn’t spent time teaching us cycling we couldn’t have got the opportunity to learn quickly since every other was busy with their lives.

Not that riding cycle alone is fun but also going for a ride with your friend or favourite person who could pedal fast. I don’t remember my father or mother following our cycle journeys; it was the employs of the workshop run by the uncle whom we interact mostly and it was a time I was drop out of school for a year and I used to spent all the time with them and it was Arul (a young employ at workshop) used to take me for speed rides in cycle which I find so thrilling. Sitting sideways on the centre bar and holding the handlebar it was fun to kick start a ride and it is a way I used to go around with my neighbourhood friend who has enough ability to pedal me along. Many a time there used to be clash between me and my brother over driving cycle and sometime I along with the friend put him wander (street-by-street) by driving fast and let them chase away. But many a time he has been supportive to me and pushed the cycle for me to drive fast.

I have also drove hire cycles few times and though I had a wish to try different cycles and when my brother refuses to give me a change I took for this. I remember I liked and feel easy to drive the Anjali cycle (a bicycle which was famous then following the Tamil flick Anjali); it has a long and narrow seat with back support and could accommodate 2 kids at a time. The hire fee used to be Rs.1 per hour but I leave the cycle before the time, even though the shop keeper doesn’t seem to be accurate I fear what he may say. When we shifted to our grandpa’s house for a year, while we reconstruction our home, and being close to my school I got to cycle along with my classmate for some time and the street of our grandpa’s used to be crowded so we mostly end up lifting the cycle to terrace to make little rounds. It used to be a large terrace with all sides wall; it feels safe to ride on. 

The bicycle we used has been a worth product (BSA Champ) and worked for long years, which has been used by our other two cousin when my brother brought another for him. My first bicycle ride (not pedalling) I remember was with my father. He took me to home from grandpa’s making me stand on the bar holding his shoulder in one arm. I really hate sitting on the bar as it make feel discomfort, I always wish for a baby seat (a small seat on the bar connecting handlebar and seat) which has been in my friend’s father cycle. The days that are close to my heart and final rides of me on a bicycle were with my grandpa. Sometime if no one comes to pick me from school, which is near his home, he would come in his bicycle and put me seated on the carrier and the school bag in the handlebar he make a great balance despite his difficulty in climbing and pedalling. I would cherish those moments forever and it bothers me much when I see him fighting with Parkinson latterly.


Friday, August 28, 2015

My Bicycle Diary (Part I)

I think not many would have led a life without pedaling a bicycle at least in their childhood and it is a dream for every child to get a bicycle when they see other kids enjoy riding their own. I’m no more exception! I got my first (and last) bicycle when I was 8 or 9 years old and although I have a dream for bicycle it was my doctor (whom we consulted for my disorder and it was the time of discovery that I was affected by Muscular Dystrophy) encouraged my parents to get me a bicycle as a part of my exercise. Knowing this, my maternal uncle decides to get us (me and brother) a cycle but it took some time for him and the waiting period was something put us on eager and dream a lot about cycling.

My uncle is a car mechanic and had his workshop adjacent to our home and stepping out is indeed into his workshop. After the school we used to spent time in the workshop, apart playing with friends at backstreet and during this time we frequent to cross his sight as a kind of reminding him about the cycle. We had no idea about the cycle, what brand or kind to buy and it is he chooses the right one for us. It was a cycle belongs to the middle category which can either ride by children as well adults if seat was lifted to their comfort height.  I think he should have bought the cycle with a perception to ride for long period as we are in growing age then. I still remember the evening he took one of his employ in pillion to buy the cycle so that he can let him pedal to home while he returns in his bike.

He bought the cycle for about Rs. 1500. Those days I don’t know the value of money and that price seems to be a huge sum for me and from the size of the bag (a kind of backpack) I thought he should have bundles of currency inside.  I have no idea still why he took that bag along with him when the amount could easily slip into his purse.  Mom did some puja to the bicycle, which is a custom here to be carried with any newly bought things and it is a belief that by doing such prayer the thing will last long and work good. The next day been a weekend and Saturday, we catch up with the cycle early in the morning and one of my uncle’s workshop employ, Aarumugam, taught us how to ride the cycle. And that was the first time I try to pedal a cycle and within an hour I rode it individual.

Our area in Adyar is somehow quiet except the office and school time, learning cycle is easy enough and he (Aarumugam) continue to accompany us through our initial days of leaning and used to hold back the bicycle wherever we go. Though I started to ride the cycle without a support in an hour time, I don’t know how to land and also need someone to hold the bicycle to climb on. At one point he left the cycle and stayed behind or I rode leaving him and I don’t know how to land but that moment (with a turn ahead) I went close to a pile of sand (that unloaded on the roadside for a building construct) and fall/slide over it slowly along with the cycle so I don’t get hurt. And I followed this idea for some time until there was a sand pile.

I used to drive bicycle too slowly as I lack strength to put it fast and I do drive alone rarely, as I don’t want to risk falling somewhere. So mostly my brother used to accompany me, at least he follows me not to miss his round. Every evening we used to go for a round in cycle, apart getting conflict between the numbers of rounds, I mostly give away as I could not pedal for long.  Sometime my brother used to help me pedal fast by placing his foot on mine, while sharing the seat with me, give his force upon mine. When driving like this one evening, we unexpectedly fall down and my front tooth uprooted fully. It was an unforgettable incident happen with my cycling experience which identity is left in my tooth still.

I came home with a bleeding mouth bearing the tooth in one hand. My mom was in quite shock and took me immediately to the dental clinic at the street end, but we had to wait some time until the dentist arrives half an hour later. We don’t know how to handle the uprooted tooth, so folded it in a paper and brought to the dentist. I just remember how we used to bury the milk tooth in mud when it falls; according to our elders instruction and belief that showing it away the tooth will not grow. Perhaps because of that my mom would have folded in papers, but the dentist on arrival reveals that it should have dropped in milk or water to perhaps to keep alive the roots. The dentist fixed the tooth at its place and tied it along with the other tooth using a wire and was left to set on its own. I wasn’t sure getting back my tooth, but glad it decided to grip hold the gums.


(I think the post could extend to another length or I could write more on this front... so will write in two parts and the other will follow soon or perhaps be next) 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Steel Handrail

For today’s good fences meme, run by Run a Round Ranch, was shot from the heart of Chennai.

Statue of MGR on Mt.Rd

The steel handrail of the statue of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.G. Ramachandran, on the Mount Rd. The bronze statue erected across the Mount Rd, near Agurchand Mansion, was shot while waiting for the signal.

Monday, August 24, 2015

RGB Monday

Like my previous post on RGB, here is another colorful image that comprises red green and blue.

These are colorful concrete flowerpots that kept to sale on ECR! The image expose mild motion as it was shot from moving car. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

San Thome Basilica, Chennai

Today, while Chennai (the late Madras) celebrates its 376th Birthday, the number marks the foundation of the city on the establishment of Fort St. George on a small piece of land in 1639 by the British East Indian Company. Every year we celebrate this day as Madras Day/Week marked by various events, and walk on the memorial lanes of Madras. I thought it was appropriate to write on one of the remarkable landmark of Chennai, the San Thome Basilica – also known as Santhome Church.

San Thome Basilica Cathedral
The front view of the Steeple
Standing tall against the Chennai skyline in backdrop of blue sky and Bay of Bengal behind, the San Thome Basilica Cathedral (on Santhome High Rd) is indeed an imposing structure. Built in the Gothic style of architecture the spire raises to a height of about 155 feet. This Basilica Cathedral is one of thee Basilicas built over the tombs of apostles of Jesus Christ. The other two are the Basilica of St. Peter, built over the tomb of St. Peter in Rome and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compoostela of St. James in Spain.

A zoom on the middle spires
According to tradition it is believed that St. Thomas came to India in the year 52 A.D and then travelled to Madras after worked along the west coast. As he suffered martyrdom at St. Thomas Mount, his disciples buried him in Santhome over which the present Cathedral stands. Marco Polo, during his visit to India, records that “it is in this province (Malabbar) which is styled the greater India at the gulf between Ceylon and the mainland that the body of Messer St. Thomas lies at a certain town having no great population and it’s a place not very accessible”. When Portuguese arrived at Mylapore in 1517, they were surprised to find a shrine there but to be in ruins almost, they took it upon themselves to rebuild the church and parish in 1524.

View of the Steeple from the side
But over the centuries, this small church becomes fragile and was in dire need of repair. In 1893, this structure was demolished and the present church was built with the tomb of the saint placed at the heart of the structure. The predominant feature of a Gothic structure is its tall spires and at the Santhome Bascilica Cathedal it is the first spire that strikes immediately. The second and the shorter one are constructed directly about the tomb of the saint – which could be accessed from the outside of the church rather being within then and it was in 1956 that the church was declared a minor Basilica. The church also holds a museum inside and all the memorabilia of St. Thomas and of that period was arranged along the display of the spear that killed the saint!

ps. all these photos were shot on different times while waiting at the santhome signal.