The roads kept on winding in mysterious ways ahead of us. We have been on the road for two days. The idea to go on an unplanned road trip suddenly popped up in our heads and so we packed our food, clothes, and bike-repair tools and decided to let the road guide us. We did not take any GPS with us as we had no destination in our minds. Just us, the road, and the journey mattered. At undefined intervals, we came across U-turns and crossroads, and saw these peculiar road signs that we have never seen before. We never knew what lay ahead but we kept on going.
Our engines had been roaring for quite a while and we could feel the fatigue felt by our tires. So we decided to let our bikes rest for a bit and took a little break for ourselves too. Not too far away from us, a boy was learning to ride a bicycle with a man who looked like his father. He made several attempts to balance himself but fell in the same place again and again. He started to cry and with those watery eyes he resumed his attempts. I smiled.
A bicycle was also my first vehicle. It made me fall in love with the feeling of a ride. My father had bought it for me as a gift for winning a poem-writing competition at school. I hurriedly took it outside while howling, “Here comes the beast rider!” And then I learned why my family was laughing when I said that I would go and roam around the city with that bicycle that very day. The first few days were torturous. Keeping it balanced was more difficult than making it move forward and I kept on falling in the same spot again and again. I started to get emotionally attached with that spot. But my ten-year-old self would never forget the feeling that he got when he finally learned to balance himself. The sound of the wind passing through and the air softly touching my skin; everything else seemed to have slowed down and I was the only one moving forward normally. It was peaceful and I was happy.
We resumed our journey. The vibrations of the engine told me that my bike was glad we took that small break. We stopped again though, after five minutes or so. A majestic valley appeared on our right side and its view just trapped us in sublimity. I got off my bike and went towards the edge of the road to have a proper view of the place, and looked down the hill-road that we were on. The height of the place was the same as that of the building from the roof of which I tried to kill myself.
The building used to be the office of a business that failed to reach the height of the dreams of its owner. It was then abandoned. For some reason, the building always attracted me. I would bunk classes and somehow always found myself in the roof of that building. After all, I never really fit in the class and good grades did not help. I was an outcast and a failure. And an outcast belonged nowhere. Not even at the edge of the world. And that day was “special”. I walked towards the edge of the roof without a single thought in my head. I looked down and heard a single word-“Jump!” I could not, of course. A failure tried to jump from the roof of a failed building but failed to kill himself. I considered it to be poetic. I sat there crying while the wounds that I got from a fight with my classmates that day intensified my anguish.
I am glad I did not have the heart to jump that day. Maybe it was something that was not supposed to happen. The beauty of the valley in front of me made me feel like I am not that much of a failure. I fit here fine. I am glad to be alive.
These endeavours are hectic and these kind of journeys make your mouth and throat dry up instantly. So, we stopped for a teabreak in this little tea-shop (or “tea-shack” would be more appropriate) where we were the only customers. The owner was the only one working there and his face emanated the humility of a person who was content with how his life turned out to be. As he poured the freshly brewed tea into our cups, the sound, the smell, the colour, and the vapour reminded me of a chance meet. That was the meet that was reponsible for this journey.
It was a tea-shop too, although a bit bigger. My boss had yelled at me for not being “upto the mark”. So, I took a little break and sneaked out of the office and went to that tea-shop to cool down my head with some warm tea. It is peculiar how something warm can cool you down. That was when I met her. She came and sat in the seat right in front me and taking a sip of her tea she said, “Your face tells me that your boss yelled at you.” I had no reply. I did not know who she was, why she sat right in front of me, and how she knew about the episode with my boss. But she saw right through me. And I was pissed. But something about her seemed so familiar. We started talking, and we talked and talked, and I realised that she was the same as me. We had as many differences as we had commonalities. She liked riding too. I was being uncoiled by a stranger but I was fine with it because it was mutual. Our demons resonated with each other and cried, and our angels spread their wings to bring forth a wind of rebirth. For the first time I felt like I was not alone. My boss yelled at me again though, because I completely forgot that I worked at a company.
After five years of dating, I got married to her at the age of thirty-five. Some said it was an age too old for marriage, and some said it was too young. But for us, it was the right time. Settling things in a way that it works out takes time. And we were happy. And content. I resigned from my job after making enough money to begin my own start-up. Life was never this pretty.
And now, she is my travelling partner. Of course, she and I are both riders so we decided to take our own bikes instead of just one. We do not where these roads are taking us. But we will keep on going. We will keep on riding.