Thursday, March 2, 2017

Story of My Father's Best Companion

TVS 50 was my father's first vehicle and hence his favorite.

 He would spend hours cleaning it and maintained it with regular service checks.

 During monsoons, its metal parts would get a waterproofing paint, every Sunday we religiously cleaned it. All my memories of childhood have this sweet companion.

My father even had a special seat made for me in the front where I would perch and ask questions about anything and everything under the stars.

 I would scream at him to stop if something interesting caught my eye and we would take a detour to investigate it. 

He would take me along on errands in the town or while he was visiting his patients or friends. 

After school, I would get a treat of bread-omelette or buns and biscuits at the small tea shop next to his hospital.

 I would sit at the shop like I owned it and listen to the latest gossip raging there.

Once some controversial VIP was visiting our small town and special peacekeeping police with helmets were everywhere. 

I had never seen them before and while on our way back from school we found a group near the bridge which separated the town from the village. 

When we reached near them I asked aloud to my father what ‘Chatti-thoppi’ police (police with pots as hats) were doing near the bridge. 

 I heard some of the policemen laugh but one glared at me. After we passed their group, my father amidst sniggers told me never to call them that. 

But one had to call a pot a pot, right?

I learned to drive a two-wheeler on it along with my cousin.

 I remember I was the first girl to do that in my quaint little village. Old grannies of the village would chide me and ask me to behave like a girl.

 But who wanted to listen to them? My own grandmother liked what I did. That was enough.

Time took its toll on it and soon everyone and their aunt started asking my father to buy a new bike. But he was reluctant.

One evening, when it was time for my father to return from his clinic, we were shocked to hear a bike thundering down the road to our house with a horribly loud sound. 

We all moved to the portico to check which insane person was making all that ruckus in our normally silent country road. 

Soon the bike entered our courtyard and it was just our puny TVS 50 minus the silencer. 

With a sheepish grin, father showed us the rusted silencer which had fallen off from the bike midway.

Nothing could make him discard his favorite bike and silencer on the road and hence without caring about the teasing stares he was gathering, he had driven it all the way home; a distance of about 2 km.

Though he had grand plans of getting the silencer welded, we all protested and thus ended the reign of a 14-year-old TVS 50.

Many vehicles came and went after it but a TVS rushing past me on Bangalore roads, reminds me of him, the journeys to school and all associated memories.