A small cy­cle..!

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

As­mall cy­cle and a lit­tle boy. Both do­ing a man’s job. He was the milk man’s lit­tle son, hardly seven or eight, and with his tiny painted cy­cle, laden with milk sa­chets he trudged from house to house, push­ing his wee yel­low and red two wheeler.

He did not get on bi­cy­cle to pedal, ei­ther he didn’t know how to ride or the milk pack­ets were too heavy to give him his bal­ance, but with the se­ri­ous­ness of an old man he walked lit­tle bike to house, put it on rusty stand and then count­ing the milk bags rang door bell and handed the days sup­ply to wait­ing house­holder in­side. I walked to the lit­tle cy­cle. Red and yel­low, a hand painted job. Mine had also been painted by hand, not such fancy shades, but a dig­ni­fied black. I touched the lit­tle han­dle bar and in my mind I touched my own lit­tle steed, many, many moons ago. “Bob,” my dad had said. “Your birth­day present’s out­side.” I had run out, raced by even more ex­cited dog and had stopped in my tracks. There lean­ing against the com­pound wall was my own pair of wheels.

My dream ma­chine. The ul­ti­mate dream of a nine year old, never mind that it was no brand new bike with pa­per still stuck to metal frame. I touched the red and yel­low bike.

“Don’t,” he shouted and shoved me away from his pre­cious ma­chine. His eight year old eyes glar­ing at me with rage that I had dared ca­ress his grand pos­ses­sion. He wiped my fin­ger prints away and trun­dled off to the house next door. Who was I touch his mercedes..!

“Junk!” my friends had ex­claimed. “Junk?” I asked and an­gry moth­ers met mine that evening to re­port wounded sons who had been punched and kicked and fisted. “What made you do that?” my fa­ther had asked that evening and I had looked away. My lit­tle ma­chine looked back at me, proud of such loyal owner.

It did not re­turn such faith­ful­ness. Many hours of pre­cious rid­ing time were spent in punc­ture shop. The punc­ture man one day gave up in hope­less­ness as there was no more room on tyre for him to fix his rub­ber piece. He of­fered me sec­ond hand, a tube with few empty spa­ces left for tyre bursts. With black enamel, my fa­ther painted the rusty fel­low, gleam­ing paint look­ing like cos­metic on wrin­kled skin. Who cared.

And in the evening when the lights were put on, I led the bike to the side of room and lay­ing it gen­tly on the floor, sat my­self on stool, and pre­tend­ing that front wheel was a steer­ing one, drove huge bus, with bus like sounds that came fiercely from my gri­maced mouth. I drove with ter­ror through road and gully with chick­ens jump­ing out of the way, peo­ple scream­ing and pas­sen­gers beg­ging me to stop to get off the awe­some bus. I was a monster driver.

I leaned later on steer­ing wheel and gazed John Wayne like at ter­ri­fied crowd out­side. Spit and saliva from speed like sounds foam­ing my tired mouth. I walked be­hind the coloured bike. The lit­tle fel­low looked up at me “You want a ride?” he asked. I smiled and then we laughed, all four of us, the lit­tle boy, his coloured bike, a grown up me, and from some­where, a black, hand painted bike, which was also a bus..! — Email: bob­s­ban­ter@ gmail. com

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