In passing

By passerby

Cycling on the rocks

When I woke up today, for some strange reason my head was reeling and it felt heavy. I just couldn't bring myself to walk straight. I got ready after a while, leaving a few things to unwrap upon the dining table. I was late and kept my cycling companion, R waiting for too long.

Once the ride began, I noticed how I was short of breath even at the minor upward inclines. And when the first big one arrived, I wished I had not come. I couldn't really imagine I would last long today. It seemed to take everything out of me. But well, one weathers these things and moves on. Once we hit the dirt tracks, I began to enjoy it, the little bumps were like waves I glided over.

And then it happened. As we were taking a turn on a sandy gravelly path, I was right behind R when I hit his rear wheel, skidded, lost balance and fell down with a thump. I kicked up a lot of dust, breathed in a bit of it, had it all over my face, my favourite backpack wasn't black anymore, my clothes had a film of dust over them and my knee was bruised. But it was just incredible. Brief as the moment was, the idea of losing balance, of completely losing control was fabulous. It almost seemed like the road's way of acknowledging our presence with a gentle nudge, a little joke perhaps in the road's language. (A picture of my fall in all the dust would have been interesting. A motorcyclist grinned and waved at me when he passed by, and I smiled back.)

This happened when we were about 10 km into the ride, but for me, that is when it actually began. After that I realized that there were so many new village roads to be spotted. Roads that are so sandy, so muddy that cycling is a challenge on them, but the fields which line either side of them, the greenery, the escape from the city's humdrum, everything makes it worthwhile. One feels rejuvenated. And so we kept experimenting, taking routes solely based upon our sense of direction, encountering some severe rocky inclines, some incredible downhill rides and so on. No hurdle seemed insurmountable. We ended up at a few dead-ends too, turned back, climbed up those paths we had so enjoyed wheeling down. There was no one around us, just vast empty road. And we rode.

When it ended, it just wasn't enough. I would attribute a lot of the physiological changes that took place to the going-ons in the mind. To me, this is what a journey is about. It adds a whole new perspective to the idea of time. The mind feels like a well oiled machine, running enthusiastically, perhaps a bit like children after kites!

We'll introduce our fellow cyclists to the new roads we discovered today but I have a feeling there are many more of these in Hyderabad. One has to just figure out where to look.

P.S. Had another shot with a bougainvillaea tree and R cycling in the background which I liked better. But this one would be a more accurate depiction of our ride today.

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