When your brakes screech it is not a good sight. You fall on the road, you are hurt, and if you are still alive you will love the smell of the rubber and you will never forget how iron tastes. The best part is that you get up, check your joints, bones, and face, and kick-start your motorcycle because the destination is still a few miles away, if only you have survived the shock.
Riding is all fun, you meet different sorts of riders, educated, uneducated, arrogant, calm, frightened, drunk, stoned, and over confident. Then there is an astonishing breed of riders who think riding without helmet looks cool, head injury and skull fracture is the answer to all their questions. Anyways, riding is all about time and space calculation. A wise man once said that nobody understands the laws of Physics better than a rider; velocity, distance, rainfall direction, wind speed, wind temperature, atmospheric pressure, distance, and displacement, a rider knows them all, even if he is unaware of it, he knows it well. However, when all your time and space calculations fail and you run out of your luck; you get to smell rubber, the burning rubber and you get to eat iron.
The smell of burning rubber is not at all pleasant and is very appalling to our fragrance-conditioned noses. Taking about the taste of iron, it simply hurts. When you are on the road, on your own for the very first time, you are scared. You stick to the rules taught to you by your father or your driving school instructor. Always keep to the left, ride slow, blow horn; never make haste while at the traffic signal, and other miscellaneous road safety rules, which gradually fade away with time.
The first fall is always frightening; it sends a chill down your spine. As you spend more and more time on the road you become habitual of minor hiccups, which were otherwise life- threatening when you had just started. Wrong turns, wrong pass, bad roads, drunk drivers, traffic signal jumps, everything seems normal after few hundred kilometers, if only you survive those few hundred kilometers. The new riders go fast, care way too much about their machines, and curse the government about the bad conditions of the roads. It is not before you fall on the ground, unaware of what hit you, you realize the hardness of the road. What always stay with you is the taste of iron and the smell of rubber and believe me if you love your rides, you are going to love that smell and cherish those love-marks engraved on your body.
All those falls, near death experiences, narrow escapes, and hundreds of kilometers lived on the road teach you one thing,” I am not immortal, death can hit me from any direction and knock the wind out of me and I will be gone, vanished.”
So what does an honest rider does?
He kick starts his motorcycle and embark on a new journey, to another destination, where the culture is different, life style is different, and color of the skin is different. What remains the same is the road beneath, the skies above, the taste of iron, and the smell of rubber. The guiding light is not the fear of death but the love for life, to see more and be amazed by the fact that this world has practically no end.
I have this fantasy crazy dream vision to embark on a journey that takes me to extreme corners of this mysterious land called India. A cross country motorcycle ride from the snow clad mountains of Himachal to the backwaters of Kochi. From one end of this country to another; north, south, east, and west included. To see how color of Indians change from yellowish white to brown and when and how it becomes as black as coal. To drink the holy water of River Brahmaputra, to see the rock that rocked Swami Vivekananda, and last but not the least, to taste the iron, and smell the rubber, one more time.