Oct 31, 2008

Site Building. Aw the good old days!

While I am in the process of restructuring the Monoshock website, adding an all new feel, easier navigation and some new material, the old memories keep coming back with every click of the mouse. Jai's spanking new Zma, run in religiously for all of 3 km before he said 'To heck with running in'. There he was that early morning, looking out into the horizon. The sky as perfect as the Kolkata winter would allow.

This very view is now dotted with concrete monsters inching their way up to the heavens. Every inch of land has been flogged for its worth. There is a message there. At least I can read it. Genuinity, good times and creativity are somehow never connected with money. I for one am a sucker for all of those. Money can go to hell. As far as Monoshock is concerned!

Oct 27, 2008

Yamaha tickles our man Neo!

Our man Neo does not mind when an R15 blows him into the weeds while he is riding over to the office on his old, red P180. He does not even wince when the spec sheets of the latest arrivals read seriously advanced figures. Neo was, till now a very happy man.

The Yamaha FZ16 changed all that. A franctic call came to me once in the middle of the night. "Darn Rahul! These Yamaha dudes have slapped a 140 section rear on the FZ16 man!", Neo blurted out. I heard him out and hung up, sure of the fact that he would not sleep all night. He would feel destroyed. Its not about cubic capacity or bhp mates. Its all in the rear rubber! Road test on the All New Monoshock website soon!

Oct 26, 2008

Seasons Greetings from Monoshock!

Six years ago, one of my long aimless rides had taken me to Aurangabad. I had met N there. She was beautiful, warm and alive. Her expressions reminded me of those pretty women who feature in classy advertisements. Their faces emotive, their lips quivering. Around her neck, she wore a silver necklace. 'It was given to me by my father', she said. In one of our close encounters that followed, I remember that necklace as the only thing left on her body. I spent countless hours at night, staring at her Goddess like fingers while she slept peacefully.

She was a chirpy and easy pillion when we blasted across the rain swept plateaus beyond the Buddhist caves just above Aurangabad. My P180 classic, wearing that trademark lilac colour pulling the insignificant extra weight like a relentless locomotive. The bass note from the blowtorch exhaust coupled with that 'jet engine' whine from the engine intoxicating me.
Then, one morning, she was gone. Just the way she had appeared. That morning was Dewali. She promised to stay in touch. People can be forgiven when they break some promises in life. Like every biker out there, I forgave her. We people keep forgiving don't we? Its Dewali again. I thought I would let all of you know. N never comes on to the Monoshock site. At least I would like to keep believing that, forever.
Happy dewali bros. Happy Dewali N.

Hitting the rewind button on a Pulsar 200

Somethings never fade from the memory. When Monoshock started, the Pulsar 200 was the first bike we tested officially. Today, a good friend of mine in Bangalore threw me his P200 keys before he went away for a couple of days to attend a family wedding. The morning was clear and there was a nip in the air when I fired her up. In no time, the cobwebs of almost 3 months of non riding were swept away. Bangalore traffic is however your worst nightmare come true. Menacing buses come within inches of you in traffic crawls despite knowing what that contact can do to a petty rider. Pedestrians are perpetually on a suicide mission while crossing streets. I have a simple rule for riding in this city now. If you see someone planning to make a crazy move, rest assured that she/ he will just do it. I reserve the braking judgement now. That way, I am a lot safer!
The road that starts from the flyovers at Hebbal is good all the way to Nandi Hills except a few rough patches that do not even figure as I write this. Along the way, some strange plantations came around. Some sort of a tender crawler that needed support and looking under these crawlers gave a very gemoetric and mesmerising view. Here is one for you to enjoy and figure out.

The hills started after a long, smooth straight where I pinned the throttle and held it there. 113 kmph is the max the digital speedo read out. It would go no more and for the moment, that was enough. The climb started abruptly after a right turn and this is where I felt the difference between a P180 and a P200. Even in the most serious hairpin inclines, I was very comfortable on second cog. Not even once during the hill climb did I engage first gear except when I got off to shoot this picture. A 20 degree temperature coupled with a clear blue sky and decent twisting roads was just what the doctor ordered for a Sunday afternoon.
I reached the top which was bursting at the seams with happy faces carrying packed lunches. These packages would be a lot lighter once the day was done and the downhill journey started for the many families. A fifteen buck parking ticket and a three buck entry ticket later, I trudged my way up to the top of the entire sanctuary. It was a tiring walk and many times during the climb, I was reminded by an inner voice that the fitness regime I had been putting on hold for so long now needed a jumpstart. Yes, that is a priority now. The view from the restaurant on top was simply surreal. The word horizon takes an all new meaning from up there. And so does architectural scale model. The world below looks like the perfect place to be in. The green terraced slopes and the fields that stretch till the end of the world from there make you forget that there are wars, crimes and killings happening right then, in some cussed part of the world. The same world! A greasy, meaty lunch was made quick work of.

Before dusk arrived and made things tough for a rider who has lost the touch, I headed back down. I kept the 3rd gear engaged to give me an unhurried and controlled descent. Many bikers I had seen on my way up had simply cut their motors and were riding the brakes and they would do that till the slopes ended. Not a great thing to do though as it it may get dangerous with the brakes fatigued and no engine power in case of an emergency. Grape sellers greeted me on the way down and then through part of the straight, with a bunch of the ripe fruit hanging from an outstretched arm. Little did they know that I love my grapes crushed, aged and in bottles with cork stops that go 'pop' when unscrewed!
I am getting back to doing what I love most. Riding and writing. Contrary to the scenery around me, the mist around my mind is clearing. There is quite some way to go though. I am reminded of my commitment to those who believed. I park the P200 beside an old temple wall and shoot a picture. Darshan will be back tomorrow and his steed needs to go back to him. I will borrow another one soon. From someone kind enough to lend me one. maybe it will be the Yamaha R one five (need to say that right!). Or a Karizma. I do not know. The gates have opened again and the road lies just beyond it. See you soon!
- Rahul