Damn, I love the number 6 don’t I? I should probably get a room and just get it over with. I can already imagine the sweet, kinky, unnatural things we’ll do to each other, the wave after wave of epic orgasms, and the sobbing and the chocolate and the self-loathing that’ll follow for weeks thereafter. Till the time I do that, here’s another one from the 6 series.
Riding through India the last 6 years, I’ve experienced some WEIRD stuff that I really doubt motorcyclists anywhere else in the world have felt, stuff that kinda defines the entire Desi riding experience. We Hindustani folk are sadly far too used to it, to the point that we don’t even notice these things anymore, things that are capable of driving “normal” people to gory suicide in an instant. Here’s my compilation of 6 weird things that only happen to Indian bikers.
1. Spit and shit rains down on you from the sky
I was returning from Shirdi to Mumbai, there was a long stretch of road and I could see a truck somewhere in the distance. Twisted the throttle on my mighty Pulsar 150 and was about to overtake the truck, when something liquid and red suddenly hit me from nowhere. I could see splashes of unknown origin on my visor, jacket, gloves, instrument console and fuel tank.
My initial though was “Blood? WTF? Who died? Is it mine? Did I just explosively menstruate? How?”. Then I registered the putrid stench of spit and paan, along with the truck driver’s open door up front. I totally lost my head, tried to make the guy stop and shove my eeeewwwwey helmet up his ass, but then he was a truck driver, mowing bikers down after spitting on them was kinda in his job profile.
I’ve had water, Coke cans, bottles, coconuts, plastic bags, paper bags, trolley bags, baby piss, spit, vomit, and a tree thrown on/in front of me on numerous occasions. I’ve actually twisted one famously clichéd line to perfectly describe such kind of situations:
I love riding in the rain because no one knows I’m covered in other people’s shit.
2. The divider is a portal to another universe
In other countries, the median is nothing more than a dead combination of concrete, metal , and dirt. In India, it’s an exit port for the intergalactic transport wormhole superhighways network that Jodie Foster went through in Contact. Somewhere in space, a few naughty aliens are having a ball watching people, animals and stuff go inside a telephone booth, only to teleport straight in front of an unsuspecting Indian biker.
I’ve hit 2 dogs till date, with uncountable near misses. I’ve been lucky to have never hit another human being, although I came very close on a number of occasions. Pigs, goats, cows, buffaloes and babies frequently present themselves by jumping out of the bushy divider straight onto the high-speed lane. Things are still bearable in metros, but if you are unlucky enough to find your ass in Bihar, prepare it to be dry humped. Where 4 wheelers can just waltz over a puppy without remorse or consequence, a 2 wheeler mostly finds itself hurtling through space moving slowly towards a squishy adorable death.
3. Random people come and fuck with your left mirror
I really don’t understand this. I’ve tested this theory by parking my bike in office, home, street and everywhere else. No matter what I do, no matter how short the time period where I take my eyes off the bike, the left mirror will be completely bent out of shape when I get back, like it’s fucking possessed or something. Other stuff might happen as well, like people stealing stickers off your machine, or playing Tic Tac Toe on the fuel tank with a razor blade, or fiddling with the switches till they fall off, or playing with the clutch, gear and accelerator, but the left mirror is ALWAYS gone.
I generally need to reset my right mirror once every quarter, or even less frequently. The left one? Every damn day. This is not bike specific either, whatever motorcycle you have, its left mirror is the prime target for some reason. Random cunts just leisurely walk up to your bike, twist the throttle, adjust the left mirror to see their disfigured face, flip all the switches, try to sit on and sometimes drop it. The rule seems to be fairly simple:
If it ain’t yours, do whatever the hell you want with it.
4. Nobody can see anything at night, everyone keeps going
India at night is just pure madness, bikes are on high beam, cars are on high beam, trucks and buses have their floodlights pointed straight towards your eyes. Like BMW has developed that technology where the headlights follow your steering movement, Indian truck drivers have created their own contraption where all of their 4 headlights and 2 fog lights and 1 flasher follow your eyes as you cross on the opposite side of the road, making sure your retinas are thoroughly roasted in those precious few seconds. Really high-tech stuff.
The best part is that such communal blindness doesn’t slow anybody down! We Indians are a valiant race, it doesn’t matter if we can’t see shit up front, we’ll never go below 120 kmph or the people behind us will win. The high beams affect everyone, but riders the most, since that helmet visor creates some spectacular disco light effect that others are immune to. Add to that our unpredictable road conditions, and it’s quite common to find cars dangling off bridges, trucks doing it doggy-style with dividers, and dismembered heads hitting your visors early in the morning.
5. Everybody is in a hurry, nobody goes anywhere
Go to any major city, and you’ll swear on your unborn child’s life to never go there again. Traffic jams can be found everywhere, but that’s not the real problem. The problem is that those traffic jams are generally created by 5 foot 7 inch high assholes that are always in some kind of crap emergency. Most of these self-aware anuses are found in auto rickshaws, some others on bikes, and yet others in taxis. Unlike most other places in the world, you’ll not find ANY space to split through traffic and get on with your life, which is fairly logical since there’s not much difference between a bike and a friggin truck, why should they be treated any different?
You’ll find yourself at the butt-end of a 5 km long jam. Since you are on a bike, you’ll off-road your way to the front, only to find reason for all of this stupidity to be a dickless pair of a taxi and an auto driver. Neither of them wanted to give the other any space, so they kissed and a few millimeters of paint was lost. Instead of just going about their lives, they decide to block the entire fucking intersection. This causes a lot of other road users to try and reach the front, leading to a number of similar kissing accidents and public shit-throwing. The principle here is easy to understand:
If I have a problem, this entire city of 20 million people has a problem. Capiche?
6. You are a constant unwilling partner in a race to nowhere
Cars race you, state transport buses race you, Volvo buses race you, trucks race you, pre-puberty kids race you, autos race you, cycles race you, joggers race you, dogs race you. If you are on a reasonably funky looking motorcycle, wearing riding gear and a good helmet, with luggage on your tail, you are fucked. The problem doesn’t stop at racing, it’s their definition of racing that is a major issue.
For normal people, racing is “I’m faster than you so I’ll overtake you”. For Indians, racing is “I’m slower than you so I’ll dangerously overtake you and then slow down right in front of you and let you overtake only to overtake you dangerously again till the time you slit your throat”. When I first got the Duke 390, people in cars weren’t used to bikers overtaking them with such impunity, it REALLY pissed them off. Now they are somewhat OK with it, but still very much in denial. Add to that the plethora of luxury cars available nowadays, and you have a contest. Riding in India feels like passing through a large number of overlapping impromptu races.
This is it, some unexplained and totally unnecessary things that happen to Indian bikers that I really don’t think (and hope) happen to people elsewhere in the world. Till date I’ve seen only 1 other country except India, and the driving sense there brought me to tears of happiness. If you’ve been to other countries except India and Bhutan, let me know how your experience went!