Martin asks me the in comments to continue reminiscing about my misspent youth. How could I resist such a request? Continuing my rambling about my years in Bangalore, studying at BMSCE in Bull Temple Road. Memories start exploding in front of my eyes, going to Goa on the night bus, going just about everywhere on my moped, taking one sometimes two passengers behind me. Most of them weighed more than that moped did. But I got lucky with that machine, the engine was good, and never stalled even when rains sometimes brought flooding near Richmond Circle upto your knees.
My bike, my motorized pedalcycle, Wilber as he was fondly named, was possibly the best friend I ever had. No matter what kind of day I would have had, I could always soothe my soul by putting in ten bucks worth of petrol [in the eighties Rs 10 bought you 1.1 litres of petrol and 50cc of oil] and just finding a road or leafy neighbourhood to drive through aimlessly. There is a security in having your own transport in India, particularly if you are a girl. That’s just the way it is.
I think that’s why I had those vivid fantasies of being a biker chick, even on a little moped, I could understand the zen of motorcycle driving. And funnily enough, I was probably the only one I knew who had not read Zen and the Art of Motrocycle Maintenance until like 1997 or so. People all had read certain books by the time they’re done with college in India, it just seems to be so, no? Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead are popular too. Is it that shared culture of philosophy read, basic fundamental questions asked and answered, being young and carefree, something that keeps me so tightly bonded to my circle of friends that I have made in India over the last 25 years?
It seemed to me that for the most part, when it comes to people you play with, as opposed to the people you may work with, you want them to echo or resonate with the things that touched you emotionally too. At least a few or enough of them so that one is able to find some common ground and shared understanding. I find that it is so with the smartest people I know. I have such a history and shared mental space with my friend Emma in Yorkshire.