The MotorCycle Diary
There are definitely far less painful and lot easier means of committing suicide. Not that I could fathom why Amartya wishes to get himself killed in the first place. Perhaps on that particular fateful night he just felt divinely possessed and invincible or, this with greater probability, he was playing downright daft. If ever there was a didactic of WHAT NOT TO DO while riding a bike, Amartya would have made an excellent case study! The good thing is that he is still a LIVE case study even though his excellent intentions might have been otherwise. Whoever said that miracles do not happen had no idea that Amartya is still around to prove him wrong.
There are two types of people in this world, those who know how to ride a bike and those who don’t. Amartya unfortunately doesn’t fit into any of those two categories. Those of you with dirty minds are trying to find a double meaning in that statement, please carry on. You see when you’ve ridden a bike for all of six times with a guy sitting behind you all the time – holding on for his sorry life, not knowing what to pray for, his life or his bike and by the time he has decided it might be too late for both – you can’t really aspire to be counted in the coveted first category and we can discount Amartya out of the second just for the sake of feel-good-factor, albeit his feel-good-factor.
Precariously dangling between the two categories that he is, it is but natural that he would wish to elevate his position. The intent was right, the execution went horribly wrong. The best of the bikers to scorch the roads would tell you that safety comes first. By ‘safety’ they mean, carry your license, always wear a helmet, have the headlights turned on at night, preferably don’t exceed the speed limits and if you are a rookie then swap ‘preferably’ with ‘definitely’; if the roads are wet and there’s smog around then swap ‘safely’ with ‘imperatively’. Even a half-wit nut case with the minimum instinct of self-preservation would tell you that in the above conditions, with visibility not more than 10 feet, on a road infested with potholes unless you are drunk, doped, suicidal or homicidal you do not rave your bike over 70 kmph. Even though his mental and emotional states were to be debated for long after this incident, I would vouch for his sobriety though the difference between the worst of the sober Amartya and the best of the comatose Amartya is purely academic.
“I feel the need, the need for speed!” That’s what must be going through his head when he vroomed out of the college gate. Lately he had become a biking aficionado with an overdose of bike stunts from youtube but the life-altering fact that those stunts are performed by experts and under controlled conditions somehow slipped his mind. Neither was he an expert nor were the conditions in anyway controlled. I’ve already expatiated what a safe biker should be doing, well our beloved Amartya just callously forgot all of them and I mean every single one of them. When he hit the pothole – he says it was a pothole, not that he could see it – he was blazing 70 plus. He did what any other biker would do when he hits some obstacle at that kind of speed; he fell. The bike fell on top of him which dragged him a few meters before coming to rest. When you are catapulted off a running vehicle at that kind of velocity you don’t really roll around, get up, and dust off your clothes, pick up your bike and ride away coolly to glory. If you are still alive and conscious even after that bone-jarring crash, you lay there, oblivious of the pain – that would come later – your heart beating as fast as it could, adrenalin rushing through the blood stream, every muscle in your body taut, every limb trembling vigorously, wondering whether you have succeeded in making the transition into the next world. Amartya lay there doing just the same; ok, he might have wished that he had a bottle of whisky and a pack of Kings as well, I guess we’ll never know!
I could never appreciate the masochistic pleasure he got from such reckless, downright asinine activities but he did have the heart to actually extricate himself from under the bike. Bleeding as he was, he also had the mood to actually go hunting for his lost slippers! He could consider himself the luckiest bloke alive – the stress mind you is on ‘alive’ – to be able to stand albeit with difficulty. He always had his ways with ladies and not surprisingly Lady Luck was still smiling at him – discount the fact that she wasn’t so amused with him when he had the accident; what could she do if Amartya decided to play TopGun – the bike still purred and it must have been sweet music to his ears ‘coz if it hadn’t, Amartya at least was in no physical condition to haul it back to the campus.
Looking back in retrospect, I think Amartya might as well have enjoyed the after-effects of the accident apart from the excruciating pain. He had a valid and legal reason to bunk classes, internal tests and perhaps end terms too. Was that what he was trying to do? Comeon! Wouldn’t that be too much? Knowing Amartya, when did he ever require a reason for doing all those things? When I later confronted him with the same , he flashed his best smile – that’s some feat considering he hadn’t brushed his teeth for the last two days ‘coz of the numerous bandages – and there was a twinkle in his eye as if saying, “You can only wonder dude, I know!”