Ever since I can remember, I have always identified the “dug-dug” of an Enfield with my dad’s Dispatch Rider bringing him the day’s file work for review. While the DR used to wait in attention (such is the discipline of our Defense folk – you wonder if they are even breathing), my brother and I, like many other kids, would often run and struggle to get on top of this royal being (pun intended) and pretend to be the two most important people in the world. Many a times I tried to get it off the stand by myself and invariably would get buried under its weight. Every time that happened, I could feel it smirk. Every time I crossed it in the MT (that’s Army for a parking lot – Mechanical Transport), the temperature around would just dip. Such has been my relation with Her Highness – The Royal Enfield.
But when love and hate collide, the impact reverberates. It has been reverberating for a really long time now, year after year. And marrying an adventure enthusiast has not helped the case. On top of that, finding ardent riders in my best friends has brought back the memories of those years growing up, straining my ears at 4 PM in anticipation of that rhythmic beat pulling in front of our house; when the Enfield looked so much bigger, so intimidating, and I would just be in awe, a puny ant in love with this beautiful giant always playing hard to get. I have grown up trying to keep these memories suppressed. But as that guy we read about in Physics said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Please go look up the antonym for “suppressed”.
Since the time I figured out the responsibilities of life, I have never been an advocate of taking risks, big or small. I don’t see the adventure in uncertainty. I always have with me: a plan, a backup plan and a backup for the backup plan. And maybe as an excuse for being shunned by Her Highness as a kid, I had started associating riding as plain STUPID. But this perception was soon to change, owing to Road Survivors, and owing to my notorious peeps associated with this enigmatic bunch of riders. You can never prepare enough for the experiences you are about to have, the people you are about meet and you definitely never can be prepared enough to meet JoJo and his merry Survivors. Whenever I meet JoJo, in my head he transforms from his usual soft demeanor to someone straight out of a mafia book – sitting on his Thunderbird with all the world’s bling, he is the sugar daddy of the riding world to me. Even though I feel like a misfit amongst them, I feel like I am trying too hard and maybe to them I am just a wannabe. Nevertheless, I have had the opportunity to observe these guys very closely, and just being around them feels like therapy. They play with uncertainty, but they play safe. They ride into the wilderness, but they are never arrogant about it. Yes they are loud, like any other riding group, and yes they have skulls and leather all over themselves, yet they keep each other’s negative tendencies in check. I have witnessed their legendary “Meets”, and am always stunned at their meticulousness. If there were ever any kind of Green Belt, Black Belt certifications for surviving it, these guys would be top notch. And theirs is a responsible bunch too; forever ready to ride for a cause. Their contingency plans, be it for a breakfast run or when they traverse the length and breadth of the nation, make one realize that here is a grounded bunch who will never mess with destiny.
I am not a Road Survivor, not yet, and my blood rushes when I hear the stories of their jacket patches, the history of the various scratches on their bikes, the tales of the hinterland that gets etched on their speedometers, because I want those stories to be mine and I can’t wait enough.
Here is a confession – I am not the kind to keep regrets. Lessons of life, yes, but never regrets. However, not riding enough will definitely be a regret that I may live with. I have been an aspiring rider for a long time now and I don’t quite know which one of these rides/events will be the last straw for me.
For Now… Dear Enfield – Let’s get this party started. Who am I, you ask? Not that you need it, but I am just a girl here to help you accessorise !