Of purrs and growls

Back in my 11th grade, I found this new-found enthusiasm for revs. As I zipped along in the Access 125, the thrill and joy of riding somehow managed to compensate for the utterly boring coaching class (which I eventually stopped going to(duh!)). As I gunned the throttle and the engine purred in response, the vibes and the seeming grunt by the engine was nothing short of pure bliss to me. That split-second delay before the machine concurred and took flight was a moment to savour—like the anticipatory calm before the storm. Riding my scooter was an activity I immensely enjoyed, though I kept it to myself. Flash forward to third year of college, and something in me made me want a motorcycle.

After considerable debate, I went in for the 200 Duke. I wasn’t particularly a motorhead then. My scooter-racing days must be beyond me, I thought. I contemplated getting a no-nonsense, hassle-free, albeit short-on-frills ride. But heck, these motorcycles didn’t even match up to my beloved Access. They lacked one vital thing I looked for in my wheels—a generous dosage of pizzazz. I decided to try out a more chilled out vibe—tourers. Grossly underpowered, yet again. Highly unimpressive; all show, no go. It was the time of the Royal Enfields (still is, I believe). But the kid in me acknowledged that one needed a certain charm and character to own one of those heavyweights. That being ruled out, a friend of mine lent me his Duke one eventful day.

And I went all out – absolutely nuts. This was one cracker of a machine, I thought. I wondered about my suppressed demeanour and my (by-then) general apathy towards speeding machines. Was this my deal? Wasn’t I more of a composed rider? (yes, times change) After a fair deal of deliberation and convincing myself, I settled in on the Duke. It had the style. It had the oomph. I won’t be 20 again, I thought.

Those soulless petrol-burners could wait. This was my time. And so it arrived, glorious in its racy white and flaring orange melange—a ravishing beauty. Yep, a looker all right. I took time to feel it out, understand its ever-ready nature, smooth out its flamboyancy. Not bad, I thought. This time though, Coimbatore roads and urban traffic. Huh. I stumbled a little. Nothing like a little time with it, I reassured myself. I looked at the ‘soulless petrol-burners’ and thought to myself whether I really had made the right choice. I didn’t overspeed. Heck, no. The lack of ABS had thought me a nasty lesson in scraped skin already. I was constantly wary of the front wheel locking up and the vehicle giving in. I grew to regret my decision. It was only recently when I was reading that I realized that I hadn’t factored in one major factor – said pizzazz. And then I started feeling it. I started falling in love with the engine’s stop-me-if-you-can appeal. I started appreciating the ultra-responsive throttle. I just had to be careful around sand, I realized, and I was good. And now, with every minute thrust of my hand, as the familiar (although more accentuated) vibes creep up my bones, I feel just that bit more alive. As the purrs transition into growls, as the exuberance hits me right at my delirious self, I cannot help but grin.