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)