Scratches, bruises and a Jawa..!


WHAT I had in my youth was a burning passion for bikes, and what mechanics latched onto those days were people like me, who knew nothing about these mean machines, except being dazzled by the external spit and polish. And so, one day there I was saddled with an old Jawa, that couldn’t run, and which I walked alongside and pushed home.

I soon found it was indeed beyond repair and was dejected knowing a dream of riding a bike was gone, since I’d put my savings into it. Till an old Anglo-Indian gentleman said he could get it running, “But just running Bob!” he said, “nothing more!”

He got it ‘just running’ and eager to see how fast it would go, I started it, got my brother to sit pillion, in case I needed to have it pushed later, and ever so slowly was off, making a racket that woke the sleepy neighbourhood I lived in..

We chugged along at a snail’s pace, and my brother had just about decided to walk alongside to give it more power to carry me, when an old car braked in front of us. I don’t think the driver realized my bike was moving!

I did not see it, banged it and fell with the bike on me. My brother, more lucky, ran to the car to give the driver a yelling, then turned back and realized I was still under the bike. I cursed my misfortune that day, as I had to put my hand into a sling and deal with burns from the exhaust.

“Scrap the bike!” said my dad. “I need to sell it!” I whimpered, “That’s my savings. But if they see me like this, they’ll know it’s an accident bike!” The man who came to look at the bike, looked at it very skeptically, “How much?” he asked, and I whispered a prayer and mentioned a ridiculous figure. He laughed then looked at my sling suddenly, “What happened?”

Thinking there was nothing to lose anyway and that it was the end of the sale I told him I’d had an accident. “With this bike?” he asked, suddenly excited, then said, “I’ll take it! If this bike could go so fast it could crash, then it must be a good one!” All the neighbours looked with astonishment as the bike was hoisted onto a cycle rickshaw and taken off. I grinned at my sling, and my exhaust burn.

In many episodes in my life, I’ve seen what I thought were catastrophes working to advantage. Many times, I’ve gone into a meeting with prayer, seen wrong and injustice, but held onto the belief that I’d prayed before going in, and later seen those same bullies being brought to justice. It was an old Jawa, but it taught me a lesson, that adversities turn out to be blessings after prayer..!

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