Old Age

November 30, 2005

So I told you about losing my Scooty keys and also about “almost” losing my wallet? Ok, here’s the full story.

One night last week, we had gone (on the new bike) to the nearby bus ticket booking counter to get tickets for our forthcoming (last week, it was forthcoming) trip to mangalore. We had – in our assorted wallets – all the cash we currently could muster. The ATM (Syndicate Bank) in front of our house was, as usual, refusing to dispense notes.

So with our meagre Rs 1500 we went, hoping to get two tickets to mangalore and back. When we got there (and parked, without too much hassle) we seated ourselves in the office and set about getting tickets. Then came the time to pay, and I found the zipper compartment of my handbag open! Ohmygod!!! Desperately, I groped around in its spacious interiors, which were even more spacious because they were empty. Luckily, my house key was still there, but my wallet wasn’t.

I panicked. I would have left the tickets, but Amit, ever the level-headed, practical one, somehow scraped together enough 100-rupee notes to pay up. We walked out and Amit walked back looking for the wallet along the way, while I scurried back home hoping against hope (whatever that means) that I had left it around somewhere. Somewhere, most likely, would be on the dining table or on the bed.

Well, I got the bike home in one piece, but I was so distracted with this wallet issue, that instead of parking it, I just sort of gracefully let it fall to one side and lie there, while I rushed upstairs to look for the blessed wallet. I didn’t even pause to take the keys out of the bike, just left it, all Rs 60,000 worth of it, without a second thought. (The wallet had all of Rs 500 in it.)

Really I don’t know why I panicked like that, but I just did. I think I really found it so unbelievable that I should do something like that. Me, the ever-organized, careful, blah, blah, blah… (Chris, you want to re-think your opinion of me a little.)

Anyway, a quick look around showed that there was no wallet to be seen in the house, so I went back down to look around the area the bike had been parked before we went out. I hadn’t, of course, had the foresight to take a torch with me, so I doubt I would have seen it, even had it been there.

At once I called Amit with the bad news. He hadn’t had any luck either, and – worse – he was almost home. Call the credit card company and tell them to cancel the card, before someone uses it, he told me calmly. Of course. Why didn’t I think of that. Credit card company. Now. Which credit card did I have? What number should I call? What was my card number? Where was that file where I kept all this information? I rushed around blindly, pausing briefly to put the bike in the vertical and achieving altogether nothing.

Before I could get very far – that is, I had managed to call the credit card company, but not yet succeeded in getting the card cancelled – I found the blasted wallet. I had kept it carefully away in the drawer, where we keep another disused wallet. Suddenly I could breathe again.

It was only two or three days later, that I lost the Scooty key. I was in Church Street, getting a number of errands done and trying to finish them all in time to make it to the nearest facility for a meeting I had to attend (virtual meeting, that is). It was raining and I had my hands full of things, apart from helmet, raincoat and umbrella.

Raincoat and umbrella, see. One for me and one for the laptop that I was carrying. You can’t use an umbrella while driving a scooty, you see.

Well, anyway, somewhere on the way, I dropped it, I presume. At least I didn’t panic. This time I was cool, calm, and collected. I would walk to office and still make it in time for the meeting (this facility is just off MG Road, not too far from where I was. Driving would likely take longer due to rain, traffic, and one-ways). (Don’t look at the punctuation of the previous sentence too closely, please.)

I made it in time for my meeting, albeit looking like something the cat dragged in. Then I called Amit and he came and rescued me, bringing the spare copy of the scooty key which lies in the car. Why? That’s because the Scooty is usually employed as a “No Parking” sign to block the parking space which the car usually occupies. Get it? No? Ok, forget it.

So, as I said earlier, OLD AGE IS HERE!

But you know what takes the cake? And this is the point all this is leading up to (if you managed to stay with me this far). This morning, when I dragged myself out of bed, Amit had left for tennis. Which was fine, except that the two tennis rackets were still lying on the table (where he keeps them the night before, in readiness for the early morning start). I glanced at them and thought, hmmm, that’s strange. I guess his coach wanted him to try out some other racket. He couldn’t have forgotten them here, surely. Surely he would never do something like that.

But guess what – he had forgotten them.

Whatever next?

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Raring to Go

November 29, 2005

Here I have a brand new unicorn parked at home and my hands and feet itching to take it for a ride and I just CAN”T get it out on the road!!!

It’s a long story…

Well, when it was first delivered to us last Saturday (ohmygod, that’s more than a week ago and only 50 km on the milometer!) it had a “temporary” number plate on it. That is to say, the number was scrawled by hand with a black felt pen. Scant attention had been paid to font and size. And if you so much as looked at it, it faded away without a trace. Well, that was definitely going to land me in trouble if the cops set eyes on it.

So last Tuesday, I traipsed off to Church Street, where I know there is a number plate maker. I had hoped that he would make it and give it to me the same day, within say a couple of hours. But no such luck. Come back tomorrow, he said firmly.

Well, I managed to lose the key of my Scooty that day, which necessitated getting the spare key out of the car, which Amit had taken to office. So I sheepishly called him up and he gallantly came to the rescue as usual. This, mind you, in the same week that I “thought” I had lost my wallet. Old age is HERE!!!

Anyway, I couldn’t go back the next day, nor the day after because it was raining raining and still raining! And after getting back from work at 7 p.m. who wants to drive out to Church Street in the dismal rain? Not me!

So on Friday I begged and pleaded with Amit, who in any case was also getting equally impatient, and he agreed to go pick up the number plates on his way back from work. As it happened, I came home early on Friday, and the rain held up, so I *could* have gone, but… he had the number plates.

Ok, let me explain. The bike came with one set of number plates, but when I ordered new number plates, the chap said that he would make the number embossed on the plate, for which he would not use the existing plates, but cut new ones, because he needed a different kind of metal. Ok, maybe he sold me a line to make me pay more, but I had just spent 60k+ on the bike, so what the hell? But I told him I would bring the original number plates, so that he could drill the holes for the screws correctly.

Now, Amit had taken the old number plates, and duly on Friday he returned with the new ones. I immediately went to fit the number plates on the bike, but the front one wouldn’t fit. The holes were correctly spaced, but too low on the plate – they would have to be shifted up!

So what with the beachy weekend, it is Tuesday today and I still have only ONE functional number plate.

GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRR!


I Bought a Honda Unicorn!

November 22, 2005

Why Unicorn?img_1293_small.jpgWell, I always wanted to ride a bike – I mean, a motorcycle, with all its steel and power. 150 cc seemed to be the way to go, because it might be able to take both of us – a formidable 150 kg combined! And besides, with bikes, bigger is always better. Of course, we should have gone for a 350 cc or bigger, but I thought we should work our way up to that, rather than jumping from a 60 cc Scooty straight into the big league.

The Unicorn came highly recommended. Apparently, it has a revolutionary approach to suspension, with a mono suspension instead of separate front and back suspension. It is more powerful than other bikes in its class, developing higher power at lower revs. That means you don’t have to change down to low gears so often, which is a good thing given Bangalore’s driving conditions.

Oh, and its ad line is “Real men never lose sight of their goal,” which is somewhat better than Pulsar, which is “definitely male”! (For more info on the Unicorn, check the Honda website: http://www.honda2wheelersindia.com/unicorn/ )

Besides, Unicorn had one particularly convincing review, which is not, strictly, relevant to me, but interesting to know anyway. If you want to know what on earth I am talking about, click this link: http://www.indiabike.com/readfeedback.asp?id=987836497&bc=010&model=Uni…

(Keep in mind that this feedback is not mine, nor of anyone I know, and I am not in a position to either confirm or refute it.)

So anyway, during my long sojourn in the Himalayas, I decided that it was so much fun to do the things that you really really want to do, that I decided I would finally be brave and buy a bike. I also had a little left over from my travel kitty – enough to buy a bike after a couple of months’ earnings and savings. Luckily for me, Amit was kind enough to spare me my meager savings and happily bought the bike for me.

Not knowing much about bikes, I didn’t do many test drives. I just rode the Unicorn, found that my feet would just about reach the ground, and decided that that was good enough to start with. Two days later, the bike was delivered home without incident. I immediately took it for a spin and, ambitiously trying a u-turn, dropped it. I got a few scratches on my elbow, and the Unicorn lost its brake lever. That seemed a good way to get to know each other better.

The next day, we finished the petrol and had to roll it down to the nearest petrol station. Amit said it was too low for him to roll it comfortably, so I did the hard work. Luckily, the nearest petrol bunk is only 200-300 m away from home. I got some strange looks as we rolled up at the petrol bunk, and after filling up, when I got on the bike to start it, several men hurriedly got out of the way (which was probably a smart thing to do).

The next day, I dropped it again, while parking it. There were extenuating circumstances (I thought I had lost my wallet and was rushing back panic-stricken to check if I had left it at home, which, thank goodness, I had!) but the fact remains that for the second time, the unicorn found itself resting ignominiously on its side.

I guess things can only get better. Today evening I will get its legally valid number plate, and tomorrow this mean machine is going to hit the road (hopefully in the vertical)!


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