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The Ride

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

From an older blog post

You will notice that in my blog posts I use fictitious names for my friends. I do so for a reason – I don’t want them to feel embarrassed about the embarrassing situations we went through. In this post I will continue this trend, I hope it does not spoil the fun. As for the friends whose incidents I am going to narrate – I apologize if I offend you in any way, but come on! It was fun, right?

This incident relates to the time when I was staying in the hostel at Panjab University. We were a group of eight people, and we had three vehicles between us – a Bajaj Priya scooter, a Yamaha 350, and an Enfield Bullet. In addition I had a bicycle, but for obvious reasons I could not count it among the fleet we had.

Three vehicles, eight people. Which meant that typically two of those vehicles would be carrying three people. It also meant that transport could become a real problem if one of the owners decided to go home using their vehicle.

That was the situation we found ourselves in one November evening. Both the motorcycles had gone home and had taken four of the eight people with them. So the equation now was one scooter and four persons. The situation was going to the sector 17 market to hang out. Now if it was one of the motorcycles it may not have been a problem, but a scooter was definitely a challenge. But you cannot stop four desperate men from getting their weekly dose of eye-candy, so we decided to four-person it to sector 17.

Getting on to the scooter was the first challenge. You see, unlike the motorcycles, the Priya had two distinct seats, and there was a spare wheel at the end of the second seat, held securely in a vertical position through a combination of nuts and bolts. It was meant for two people, not four. To compound the situation, the rear seat had these bulging body parts on either side, one of which would hide the engine and the other the boot. So seating became rather uncomfortable for the third person.

Somehow, Kamal (not his real name), Guppy (not his real name either), and King (DEFINITELY not his real name) managed to stash themselves on those three seats. That left me, and I managed to park myself on the spare wheel (I was quite thin back then) when we realized that we had missed out on one thing – Kamal had forgotten to start the scooter. After a round of curses to him and the scooter and the guys who had taken their motorcycles home (well they could have taken the bus, couldn’t they?) we got off. Kamal started the damn thing, Guppy sat behind him, behind him King, and behind him yours truly. The scooter protested as it began to lug its weight and the combined weight (must be over 200 kg) of four people on it, but it stayed on course.

It happened as we took the lane down the Maths department. Those of you who have studied there will know that the place is dotted with speed breakers which you need to watch out for, for two reasons – one, they are not marked, and two they are not designed to ensure that four people on a Bajaj Priya make it securely, leave alone comfortably.

And so as we crossed the Maths department, we saw this stunner of a girl. They say that Helen of Troy had the face to launch a thousand ships. Well, this one definitely had the face to turn four faces.

I don’t recall who said what, but I do remember some of what was said. Here is an edited version (flowery language omitted).

“O soniyo, makhan de doniyo!” (Hey beautiful, buttercup!)

“Tota, oye tota” (Literally – Piece , man piece. Actually – what a girl, man!)

A whistle. I don’t know which one it was.

What I do know is what went through my mind. Who is this girl, and how come I never saw her in my department?

While it may appear that these events took a long time to happen, actually all these expressions/thoughts came out in less than two seconds. A second later what happened seemed like ages – our scooter went over a speed breaker, which we were anyways not looking at.

Over the next 5 seconds, what happened and if my memory serves me right is as follows:

  1. I came down from the spare wheel and was on the seat.

  2. King moved forward one place.

  3. Guppy was on the driver’s seat.

  4. Kamal was on…oh wait, he had nowhere to go.

So Kamal was off his seat, the trouble was he was also driving the scooter. And when you are not on your seat and driving your scooter, let’s just say that it is not easy. In this case with three people screaming at him, and his foot nowhere near the brake, and his mind too confused between looking at the girl and salvaging the situation, for Kamal it was impossible.


The scooter struck the footpath, with the ferocity of a raging bull. Bear in mind, Kamal had cranked up the accelerator to compensate for the extra weight, and that force is mass times acceleration, but of course physics was the last thing on my mind as we were hurled in different directions.

Kamal got it the worse. The scooter tilted to the left as we fell and its sharp edge landed on his ankle. Guppy escaped with a few bruises, as did King. Me, well nothing happened to me physically, except for wounded pride; the thought of facing that girl in the department did not seem very appealing now.

As for her, she was nowhere to be seen. Trust me, I have not seen anyone pull off a disappearing act this fast.

Well, the “hurly burly” was done and as we paused to pick up the pieces, each of us made a solemn vow that we would not mention a word of this to anyone. Thankfully, the scooter was okay, except for a broken mirror (!), and since I was the one with only the wounded pride, I got to take Kamal to the hospital. His ankle was fractured, and he came back with a cast. By the time we reached, the other two had taken out the liquor and waiting for us to get started. If you think that I escaped with only a wounded pride, you got it wrong. I don’t drink, and because I don’t drink I get to listen to ridiculous things people say when they are drunk, and because these were (ultimately) drunk people with wounded bodies and egos, it got only more ridiculous. Let’s not go into the details of what was said that night, suffice to say it was not studies that we discussed.

Kamal’s plaster took two months to take off, and we maintained that he had a nasty fall down the stairs, which most people did not take at face value. Kamal on the other hand, went and bragged how he fought three thugs who were being impolite to a girl. It won him a number of female admirers, and of course we kept it a secret, till today it is.

As for the girl, I only saw her once more, and that was at the university fete, but she did not seem to recall anything, and I was kind of reluctant to go to her and tell her that I was one of the four people who fell when we saw her. My take was it would not sound charming, given the circumstances.

I never saw her again, and because it would open a Pandora’s box, I kept quiet about seeing her.

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