Yesterday was my birthday, I just turned twenty five. And the funny thing is that they made is special without even remembering it. They took me out for ice cream, after such a long time. And I was thinking all along how I can love this fool of a guy so much. To be truthful, from the day he started riding me, he’s been pretty much the apple of my eye.
I still remember that small, young boy, who loudly exclaimed at the store, “Papa, ye scooter bohot acchhii haii.” Annoyed me a little, after all, he woke me up after a long day of test drives. Then he started fiddling with the gear, then the mirror, until his father said sternly, “Rahul, stop that! We’ll come back later,” he added politely to the attendant, and dragged the seven year old Rahul away.
Time passed and I gave up on ever finding an owner, when suddenly, one day, his dad marched in again, his hair greyer, and proudly said, “My son scored 75.8% in his Boards. I want to buy that scooter for him.” Of course, he wasn’t the old Rahul I had made acquaintance with, but he accepted me and took me in, under his wing. Since then, I ‘ve been with him in all the time, I’ve seen all his colors, and have known him as well as he knows me, or he thinks he does.
Because, I remember the time when he first rode me, the cold wind kissing his tousled, brown hair. He laughed and laughed and laughed and talked and drove, all at the same time. I remember the time when he sneaked out of his house to the party. Oh, what fun I had, when he tried to quieten the grunts with blankets, and the thrashing he received later. I remember when he took me to that college bike trip to Jaipur. When he and his friends rode pillion, two or three at the same time and they’d all shout themselves hoarse. I remember the time when he carried his sister at the time when she broke her leg. It was from that moment that he assumed the role of the protective elder brother. I remember how he collected money from his friends to cover that dent. I remember how he’d volunteer to bring late night ice cream when everyone was at home just so he could meet her, his girlfriend. I remember how hesitant he was when he kissed her that night, the melting ice cream in one hand and her face cupped gently around the other. I remember all the moments that they spent together in the summers he was home from his hostel. And I remember the day they got married.
But then, they bought “something they could comfortably seat them and their children, a long term investment”. A car. A big car. Despite my happiness on seeing them flourish, I felt sad. That little corner in my heart that said, “Your time is over.” But, miraculously, it didn’t. He took me and his wife to the haat to but vegetables. Took his daughter to ice cream with me. Took me when he needed space or needed to get away from the cacophony of the daily life.
And today, I heard a 47 year old Rahul saying, “Tomorrow, I’ll teach Raina how to ride that scooter, it’s been a faithful companion. Besides, it’s a little old. Some exercise will do it good.”