Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

Category: BIKE

KEEP YOUR ENGINE RUNNING

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Imagine you are sitting on your dining table just about to have your lunch and a fly comes and sits on the rim of your water glass. I will tell you my reaction. I slowly move my hand as close to the fly and like you hit the striker of carom I snap my finger. Eighty five percent chances are I get my kill. In case she is smart and buzzes off, it gets me irritated and I demand my peace time armoury to be opened and the oldest and most dependable weapon called the fly swat be brought into the battle field. Trace out the line of flight of that irritating character, close in and one shot it is dead. I am now a master in taking aerial shots too. Lunch can wait.

This is what happens to the armed forces when they spot a militant or a terrorist in Kashmir. The irritant has to be eliminated and then only will they think of anything else.

Imagine you are dead tired and just about to knock off to sleep and in your ear you hear that whine of a mosquito playing the latest melody. At least my sleep goes for a six. I keep “odomos” handy. People who don’t like odomos switch on “Good night”. I get hold of a fly swat and trace it out till the time it is splattered on the wall. One has to face the wrath of his wife later as many decorative pieces have seen the dustbin in this makkhi-machhar ka chakkar.

Be that as it may. Don’t we try and understand the idiosyncrasies of our vehicles and run them anyhow. The steering and clutch free play differs for each vehicle. For an expert it takes one ride to understand those nuances. Modiji & his team took four years to understand this dhakka start vehicle.

There used to be one more reason to drive a vehicle which is called “ego”. How on earth can my vehicle stop? In times when there used to be vehicles with old carburetors it was common. When a 1 Ton did the “shuck-shuck” drill standing in the middle of the market with the bonnet up, a man sitting with his hand cupping the carburetor used to be a scene. Maroing a handle used to be total “Beizzati”. Dhakka used to be Maha Beizzati. Every method on earth had to be tried to start that gari for a fauji worth his salt. Was it the same condition in J&K or was it politics of a different kind?

Reminded me of my courtship days many moons back when after great difficulty I could convince my father in law to grant permission to take his daughter for a movie. Well, as an officer and a gentleman, I wore the best dress and best perfume and because I was on temporary duty at Jodhpur I borrowed a Yezdi bike from an officer in whose regimental mess I was putting up. He told me the bike is OK but sometimes it overflows, so switch off the petrol once you park it.

I don’t remember the name of the movie leave alone the “working party” in it as I was in love. The movie got over and I went to the underground parking to fetch the bike. I tried starting it but the damn thing won’t start. My “would be” was waiting outside so I pushed the bike up. I realised that in my excitement I had forgotten to switch the petrol off. I tilted the damn thing and tried starting, it won’t start. I opened the tool box, got out the “Plug paana”, wrestled with the spark plug and kicked it khali many times so that the excess petrol evaporates. I requested my sweetheart to take and auto and go home. Both of us were quite embarrassed for the tamasha on the main road. Jodhpur being a small place word had spread. Father in law had sent a search and rescue mission already.

Now I was all alone. Ego stepped in; I opened up the top of carburetor and found the float valve was stuck. I freed it and reassembled the contraption. One kick and it started. It had taken me almost an hour though. First thing was to reach my darlings home. I didn’t switch off the bike just blew the horn and the whole mohalla came out. She stood in the veranda and so did my father in law. I waved my left hand without leaving the throttle hand. They waved back and off I went to my mess. My hands and dress were stinking of petrol but that didn’t matter. I went to the bar had two neat and got back to my bed and slept off. Victory was at my feet.

This story has nothing to do with flies, mosquitoes, militants and J&K but it definitely has a relation with irritants, egos and ways and means to keep the house free of insects besides keeping your engine purring. Got it? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

HAPPY BIKING

 

 

 

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This week end was out of the world as I became a proud owner of a new Royal Enfield bike. Bikes were my passion & my first bike stayed with me for 20 years plus. Secondly, the monsoon has started and the weather is lovely. The water falls have come alive with greenery everywhere. Old memories got rekindled. My eyes got moist, as to drive a bike after ages awakened the child in me.

The relation I shared with my first one called “Christine” was sublime. Though, I used to get posted out to field stations where she could not accompany me but on return she used to come to life moment I used to touch her. Half a kick and she used to purr. Even though her battery used to get drained out, her indicators used to be broken but never ever did it stop or trouble me.

In Staff College, Wellington, Christine took me and my wife to every nook and cranny of the Nilgiris. Not a single lake, not a single tea garden and not a single vineyard we missed. Ooty used to be like Kapurthala-Jalandhar. A bottle of chilled beer used to be always handy at home in Gorkha Hills. We used to pick up biryani from Conoor. The Pack-08 (Fauji jhola) was a standard fit on one side and used to be stuffed with a durrie, daru and roti. Piercing through the cloud and fog we used to explore the area like adventurers. Pykara Lake was our favourite haunt besides the famous chocolate shop at Charing Cross in Ooty.

This Friday, keys of the new Thunderbird were handed over to me. The first halt was at the Gas Station and the first command was Bhaiya tank full kar do. She was filled up to the brim. Now I tried locking the petrol tank back, the damn thing just won’t lock. My daughter got a little perturbed as the line behind was increasing and the irritation of the people was showing through the honking.

I pushed the bike to the side and tried to get my helmet off. That damn thing also got stuck as it had a new kind of locking system. Somehow, I was able to open the chin strap after some wrestling and at the last moment my dark glasses got stuck in the strap and flew off. Fauji instinct and reactions caught hold of it. We lumbered and toiled but the fuel tank just won’t close. I told my daughter baitho. She said papa how will we go, I said don’t worry as the duplicate key was also hanging with the main key. I left the fuel tank open and with the fuel cap hanging, shoved the duplicate key in the ignition and started the bike. The thunder and lightning was giving me the shivers lest rain water gets in but we drove on as the show room very was close by. Those people laughed at us as I didn’t know how to remove the key. He just press fitted the fuel tank cap and the damn key got ejected automatically. I looked at my daughter and she looked back at me. We smiled and moved on. I was a novice afterall.

Well we had to pick up the customary mithai. I bought Kaju Katli, Rasgoolas and my favourite “Palang Tor”. Daughter in the meanwhile picked up coupons for gol-gappas. I enjoyed them. I said to hell with it even if the pani of the poori gets stuck in my moustache, so be it.

We started on our home run from Alibaug to Salav. I suddenly realised that the speedometer is not working, now was the dilemma to turn back or continue. I decided the former. Showroom chap was shocked “not again”. They realised that they had disconnected the cable for RTO passing. Then the “Neutral” light won’t glow either. He told me sir, the gear lever needs to be kicked hard and I did and poof the green lamp of “N” showed up on the console. I told him “anymore surprises” tell me now or else I know how and where to kick you too jokingly.

We got back home, did a small photo op. Then for old times’ sake I took my actual girlfriend (my wife) on her first drive on the Thunderbird. It was fun because of the overcast sky. All old memories of our motorcycling adventures as newlyweds came rolling back. She held me tight and we drove off into the wilderness and relived those days. Nostalgia had set in and we shall revive the best days of our lives again.

On father’s day, papa and beti went for a long drive on the beast in heavy rain. I was the happiest as my daughter insisted on buying a helmet for herself. I as a habit wear it even for a 50 meter ride. Will our example be a motivation for the crowd over here to wear a helmet always? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

© Noel Ellis

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