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My struggles with my splendour

“Theek hojaayega,” he promised. 

The first mechanic I got stuck with was a kid who grew up in the garage. He turned to be a mind reader (me repeating I won’t spend a lot had nothing to do with it) and spoke to a senior (who must have been 17) when some pearls of wisdom were passed. Then he got to work – serviced, cleaned and changed. Two hours later he kicked, I prayed – Vroom! Prayers answered – 1,500 bucks lighter and I was galloping away. 

The money meter on my bike was up and running. 

Mine is an 11-year-old bike. Over the years, it did its job, got me from A to B, X to Z. Till I moved on to other forms of transport. During that time, it had many other masters till they left and it came back to me. Then I went away and it idled away for 4-odd years. Till I had to use it again. Full circle.

Two days later, it stopped in the middle of heavy traffic.  

I had gotten rusty. With bikes in particular and life in general. This time, the mech looked more mature the Nawazuddin types. He realised I meant business. He told me — it’s starting trouble. 

How much? 

100 for shock absorber and 150 for labour. 

I grumble and get a ‘take it or leave it’ shrug. With the tow charges, the expense stands at 650. I sighed. I signalled go ahead, after a while, he got the bike started again. Was just about to leave when Nawaz halted me with a look.

Problem hai.”

Kya?”

He had a list – shock absorber oil, break liner, petrol tank, wheel balancing, battery. Not one, but many problems. This time, my street smarts were alert. A debate took place in my head, excerpts: 

Do you know this guy? 

No. 

End of debate. 

I ask )ed him one question that millions of riders around the world ask their mechanic. 

Abhi chalega kya?” — Will it run for now? 

He knew he’d lost.

But over the days, Nawaz’s problems started to surface. From starting trouble to strange wobbles, bad average to wrong sounds (still trying to figure the right sounds). Like a vagabond from one mechanic to the next, one problem to another – the meter kept ticking, number by number – every time a small number, not so big that I took notice. Everytime I would suck it up and pay.

Till one day it went kaput.   

I grew cautious. Searched, asked, found out – till it led to one guy. Dada was a pro with the Splendour. He didn’t waste time to tell me in one word (well two actually) the one thing riders dread to hear. 

“Engine trouble.”

Screwed. 

Bill estimate — 8k. I cursed the earlier mechanics and their mothers. A day later Dada handed me the bike with strict do’s and don’t’s. I liked his no-nonsense approach, handed out 8k and left. 

10 days later it stopped again. 

This time I didn’t fret. I simply called Dada, gave him the choicest of abuses. He rushed to my spot with a boy, got the bike started. Gave me some corny excuse. I didn’t care, of course I didn’t pay him. Got back, parked the bike and went to my room to sleep my troubles off. 

I should sell it.

The thought has cross my mind. OLX this, get another one. Go smart, go digital. Yes. 

Then another thought crosses my mind. When all was lost, this was the one possession I had. It stands for something stubborn, innate, doesn’t give up. Been down, not out. 

So it’s decided. when it stops, I will fight some more, heal some more and ride some more. 

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Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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