Bicycling thoughts in Cochin
I recently shifted to Cochin from Mumbai. One of the plus sides of shifting was that now I apparently had more time in my hands than in Mumbai. The commute which used to last nearly an hour and a half each way in Mumbai was barely 15 minutes in Cochin. I reckoned it was the right time to develop a healthy habit. I dusted my old ramshackle bicycle and one early morning I rode down the potholed roads of Panampilly Nagar. I was surprised to find a dedicated cycling track! One could have mistaken it for a stretch of Amsterdam! It was neatly painted with barriers at each entry so that truant two-wheeler walas don’t misuse it or park on it. Besides it, lay a wide walking lane. There were neat markings, “Cycles Only” to the left and “Pedestrians Only” to the right. But that was where the joy ended. As I started pedalling, I encountered dog walkers, joggers, runners and pedestrians, all using the cycling lane! Initially, I thought it might be a little rude to ring my cycle bell, but soon I had to leave all politeness and merciless honk people out of my way. In response, I got stares, surprised and hurt. Surprised to see a cyclist and hurt that they had to make way. I tried smiling, without much success. The cycling track is barely a kilometre long. It is neatly laid out by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited. In an effort that people will start taking bicycles to the nearest metro station of the newly established Kochi Metro. I can’t say how successful their effort has been but for me, it was turning out to be an exasperating experience. I believe that when one cycles one’s mind tunes in to a different frequency and various thoughts enter one’s mind. They type of thought depends on the cycling speed. So when one is gently pedalling, one might be stimulated to think of vast green vales and how once can reproduce them in watercolour. And when one is cycling ferociously to get out of the way of a speeding vehicle, one might be inclined to think of the pros and cons of blood sport of bullfighting in Spain. In other words, cycling enables one to escape the mundane and focus on the exotic, even if it is for a while. And who knows, one might get an earth-shattering Nobel prize-winning, Oscar – performance - like idea while one is merrily cycling trying to avoid the gigantic craters on the Shihab Thangal Road. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Thanks to the encroachers on the cycling track my mind was forever engaged in a strategy to dodge them. Sometimes I would increase my speed and at others, I would even completely stop to avoid the careless Labrador’s tail. Once I did manage to get into a reverie but it was all dysphoric thoughts about the lies, I had spoken the previous day! Soon, it was getting infuriating. After a couple of tries, I decided to ditch the cycling track. I had not begun cycling to introspect on my own morality! I decided to stick to the good old potholed tarmac along the stinking Koyithara Canal. And lo! Here came the earth-shattering ideas! As I dodged, the recklessly driven morning traffic, a brilliant thought popped up – painting a watercolour about the end of the dinosaurs, all with the marauding comet in the sky. I merrily pedalled back home and took out my colours. And the results are for all to see! Long live the potholes! Down with the dog walkers on the cycling track!!
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