Going through the family photo albums is, to me, synonymous with vacations at my grandparents’ place. Yesterday, as I sat down browsing through some old family pictures, I chanced upon this super adorable photo of me on a tricycle and my dad sitting right behind me on his chair.
Since my childhood memories have evanesced with my coming of age, I took that picture to my Grandma (for she has an eidetic memory in terms of my childhood) – “Grandma, what’s this picture?”
“Someone captured the first moments while your dad was helping you to learn how to cycle,” she said.
“That was your first cycle. Your dad presented it to you on your 1st birthday. Like the toddlers taking their first steps, he believed, cycling for the first time too is a significant moment in the journey of growing up.”
I was all ears to her but, I could not recollect any of it. However, it did remind me of the weekend cycle rides with dad in the later years. Every Sunday evening, he would lift me, plop me down on a small green seat placed on the crossbar with my feet crossed against the handlebar. He would paddle through the narrow lanes, the suburban roads leading to the city. On the way, we would witness a variety of birds flying to their nests and farmers watering the crops. On hot summer days, we’d stop by the tubewell and have a dip with other kids. Somedays, he would even get me ice cream. In winters, we’d halt at the jaggery makers’ huts and feast upon the fresh hot jaggery, while the other days, he’d get me roasted corn or a sugarcane on our way back home—the good old days.
I guess the shared love for this majestic machine runs through the family. My Grandfather used to tell me that owning scooters or cars was a far reality for ordinary folks, given the poor standard of living in his times. And though he had a scooter, he advocated cycling for its benefits, environmentally, health-wise, and economically. “Cycling,” he’d proudly say, “has its own charm.”
As a child, I used to gape in awe at people-young and old, paddling on the roads, thinking what fun it must be to cycle around. It was only after we shifted to the city, I learned to ride a bicycle. It took me an umpteen number of tries and several knee bruises to finally cycle on my own. But, honestly, it was one of the proudest moments in my life. A lesson learnt so well- that I’ll never forget.
Do you remember your first bike or any experience related to it? I’d love to read it in the comments section below. 🙂