“You are old, Father William, “the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head—
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”
“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”
- Lewis Carroll (1832-1898).
My friend VM is intrigued about my riding the piloted bikes at age 80+, even inviting me to write on tambdimati.com about it, and offering to record it with his trusty camera. What can I say?
Well, the first reason for it is that “I can”. Mother Nature has been kind to me; no unsteadiness or stiffness of the joints, as yet; and meds (Metaformin) control senior-onset DB.
But I might add, another reason is a kind of cowardice.
My driving record was not enviable even in my earlier Canadian years—minimal side-vision and poor night- vision, coupled with the fact that my mind was usually on things quite other than driving.
Conditioned to ‘left hand drive’, I could never face up to the Indian traffic protocol—right hand steering, on left hand side of the road.
But a couple of other things I might mention: I think that it makes economic and ecological sense for people like me to be hauled around instead of owning a vehicle.
I’m led to believe that it is only in Goa that there is to be found the yellow- colored motorbikes, and this strikes me as strange. It provides a living for a lot of guys; (no girls so far, but why not?); why cannot one take a bike in Mumbai or Delhi? They get you there faster, and are a godsend in the inevitable traffic snarl.
Same principle holds, up to a point, with the taxis.
I’m happy riding in a Maruti 800, so long as I’m driven; if I was to have gone in for my own car, it would probably be a Honda Civic or bigger.
With the traffic and parking situation in our locale as it is, and perhaps a hundred cars registered in the State on any given day, what’s to become of us?
Most of the taxi wallahs now have cell phone, so I can have what amounts to my own driver, without his having to wait on the stair or verandah to see whether ‘boss’ has someplace to go.
Besides, he has a home to maintain, and probably kids going to school—so half a dozen trips a week with me (with a little something as gratuity) helps him (and me) sleep better at night.