Biking is fun

Biking is fun


Even today, I fondly recollect the memories of learning how to bike.

Growing up in India, one had to learn only on adult sized bikes. Youth sized bikes did not exist. I commandeered my grandfather’s bike and learnt what we used to call kurangu (monkey) style. You would pedal with your feet inside the triangular frame and reach out with your hands to the handle bar. Very risky but exciting as well. I have tons of scrapes, the scars which carry to this day.

My grandfather would bike from his home to ours everyday (about a 20 minute ride). He would bring guava for us and some fresh vegetables to his daughter that he got in the market. After testing the guava for it’s ripeness, I would take his bike for a pedal around the neighborhood. After a while, he started locking his bike because he got tired of seeing scratches and slightly bent handlebars. However, I would keep prevailing.

It was a sunny morning as I started pedaling around the neighborhood. Turned the first left corner and I felt very good. After the second left, it was a straight road for 4–5 blocks. The 3rd left was executed smoothly. My friend Balaji waved at me and said I was doing great. It was hard to get compliments from friends those days. After the 4th left, I entered risky territory. Roosters scurried across the road. The hut dwellers across the street had no sense of boundaries and put their cots, grains and chairs in the middle. Those were navigated successfully. Just a few more minutes to go.

Every home has a family priest. Ours was a very nice man named Krishna Iyengar. He was responsive to my father’s personality and didn’t bother him too much with a strict following of ritual observances. I have seen him countless times after finishing his morning tasks enjoying the outdoors while relaxing in his easy chair in his front porch. He seemed very content despite the hubub of the street activity.

On that sunny morning, Krishna Iyengar relaxed contentedly in his easy chair fanning his big frame. It was hard to not notice him even from a distance.

In life, some things happen in a flash. Some things happen in slow motion before it actually happens.

It was an errant stone. As I looked down to avoid it, my focus wavered. My outstretched arms could not hold the handlebar steady. My legs felt like stone. I entered the crash zone.

The easy chair tumbled over. I was on top of Krishna Iyengar. He slid to the floor. His fan got caught in my slowly turning wheel and made a ‘patpat’ noise. I apologized profusely. “Mannichikanum Adiyen” and I tried to help him up. After a few tries, I gave up. He got up slowly by himself. I was glad he was not hurt.

Should I bike the remaining 2 blocks or just push the bike back home? After a few tentative glances at onlookers, I threw caution to the winds and started pedaling again.

No word to my grandfather. Didn’t look him in the eye as I ran inside to get ready for school.

A few days later, Krishna Iyengar came home. He reported the incident to my parents while I darted sneakily in and out of the room. He said I needed to be more careful.

Biking was off limits for a few weeks. Those weeks were downright miserable. As a kid, it’s your responsibility to get back into good graces. I did that well.

I did not see Krishna Iyengar ever relaxing outside his home ever again. The easy chair had moved inside forever.


On a tear… Part 1

On a tear… Part 1

I haven’t read as much in my life as I’ve done the last 8 months. I look at book recommendations enthusiastically and jump to to reserve the book in my library. Audio books, e-books and physical books; I consume all versions. I use Overdrive and Amazon Kindle to read e-books and listen to audiobooks. I purchase the physical books only if I believe that I will want to read it again or my family may read in the future.

I think Sapiens was my catalyst. I listened to the audio version of it and that re-kindled my love for reading and in general. Also, I’m not anymore in a time crunched daily work routine that I am able to spend an hour or so everyday just reading.

In no order, here is some of what I have read in the last year. I am breaking this up into multiple postings

Sapiens — History of our species Homo Sapiens, described insightfully in fascinating details 5 Stars

Da Vinci — The biography of the amazing DaVinci, researched in meticulous detail by Walter Issaacson. It was fun to discuss various parts of this book with my wife, who is an artist herself — 5 Stars

Principles by Ray Dalio — Describes how Ray Dalio articulated and used Principles to guide his work in Bridgewater Associates. Worth a read, although found it a tad long. 4 Stars

Hit Refresh — Satya Nadella. Satya has done an amazing job with this book and provides an insightful look into his Microsoft career and how he is changing the culture there. 4 Stars

The Gene — An Intimate History Siddharta Mukherjee. Highly engaging book, Mukherjee is an amazing story teller while weaving in what is definitely a dense subject matter — 5 Stars

The Quantum Spy — A novel with major connections to Seattle, Ignatius weaves a techno and spy thriller with the latest buzz in Quantum Computing. 4 Stars

Girls and Sex — Navigating the complicated new landscape by Peggy Orenstein was an eye opener. With a rich set of stories that she has researched meticulously, Peggy shines a light on what modern day high school and college girls go through as they transition to adulthood. If you have a child in that age group, this book is worth reading and having a discussion. 5 Stars

Rest in the next post(s)…

Happy Reading