Every time the issue is taken up, all I try to do is finding a way out of the conversation. No matter how strongly I guard over, embarrassment begins engulfing me from within and ultimately I am compelled to give up. There are very few instances when I have to struggle hard in answering intrepidly to people.
“No, I cannot.”
“What? Really!” A laugh would immediately follow this. I am often required to break through it.
“So? What’s the big deal in it? I am not the only person.”
“You know what, that’s the silliest way of defending.”
Being nineteen and not being able to ride even a bicycle, leave apart driving! – that’s the doorway to disgrace and humiliation. Regrettably, I too fall into this clan of peculiar people. I didn’t learn it in my childhood. Perhaps, I lacked the enthusiasm. However, I always put the blame on my father for this, coz as far as I remember, he never pushed me towards it.
It won’t have struck me so hard had ‘driving’ been independent of ‘riding’. After all, who cares about bicycles when you are to deal with only bikes and cars all through your life. But, as most of you must have been aware of it, it’s quite impossible to jump to driving a motor-vehicle until you are adept with riding a bicycle.
“You need to know how to adjust your body, balance the vehicle and deal with it while on the road. The easiest way to learn all these is through a bicycle.” Aakash would say, while recommending me to learn it. He would often extend a helping hand to me in this regard.
Gradually over the time, I had realized that escaping won’t work out. I had already delayed it for long thinking it to be insignificant. Before it turned more late, I needed to gather the courage to sit over the center and put my feet on the paddles. So, last Friday, I declared it while everybody was present in the drawing room. It became a matter of laughter for the gathering. Everybody had their own funny interpretation, followed by else’s remarks on those. Aakash was the single person who backed me entirely.
The next morning, when I and Aakash were about to leave for the nearby open-area, people of my house looked at me in a strange manner. A faint smile was clearly visible over their faces. I was irritated with that glimpse, but I kept calm.
“Jao beta, bas haddiyan matt turwa lena, nahi toh shadi nhi ho payegi.” My mother said that morning.
The first fifteen-twenty minutes were horrible, in fact there came a moment when I wanted to give up. But, my ‘instructor’ explained me that it’s perfectly normal to find everything impossible in the beginning and that gradually it would start getting easier. His words lighted up a little hope in me.
It had been two days already. After several ‘fall-overs’ and over a dozen ‘slip-outs’, I feel proud to say that I am now quite able to do it without falling off or losing the grip. I had heard that most people learn it in just a day or two. I don’t know how they do it, perhaps I lack some skills. It would take a few more days for me to master over the ‘two-wheeler’ entirely. I am in no hurry and would keep my own pace.
I have now started to join in the laugh of the ‘audience’ whenever I begin slipping-over. In fact, when it gets too long since I make a mistake, I would knowingly do something wrong and give everybody a moment to laugh hard.
The most fascinating thought in all these is that I had overcame an old and deep fear of mine, that I won’t be able to drive anything in life. I have already planned it by now. I wanna give this entire month to practicing bicycle – on actual road, in crowded jams and over the harsh terrains; and in the October vacations, I would move towards learning to drive bikes.