My dad’s old bike

April 30, 2021 0 Comments

It was about thirty years ago, when I was a student at Std V, my father, who used to walk home from the office at the end of the day, would ride a second hand bike home. I was thrilled when I saw him get out of his new vehicle and curiously asked him about his owner. He told me he bought it from one of his superiors. I remember the day very well because I immediately borrowed my father’s new possession and began to assemble it. And while riding, as she was still in a fledgling stage of acquiring the ability to ride a bike, I flipped her over and slammed her to the ground, causing her pedal to buckle. I received a thorough reprimand from my father and therefore I remember the day in vivid detail.

My dad, being a third-class employee with a state government, earned a much lower amount of salary in those days and with that salary, he could only afford a second-hand bicycle. After thirty years, many things changed in his life, but one remained constant. The bike! It is not the same old bicycle. Only the frame and carriage descended from the original and all other components changed. Now, with its paint completely peeling and its appearance completely deteriorated, anyone else would have scrapped it without a second thought and replaced it with a new motorcycle or scooter. But my father doesn’t do that.

My sister and I, many times, asked her to dispose of the dilapidated bike and even proposed to buy her a new moped. He steadfastly refused to accept any motorized vehicle and insisted on keeping his favorite bike, even berating us both for advising him to discard it. He loves him very much and feels strongly that he served him a lot in his life and to throw him away would amount to sheer ingratitude. The bike isn’t even properly lubricated and anyone new would find themselves huffing and puffing after riding it for ten to fifteen minutes. Some people even derisively call him a rider on a dilapidated, ugly-looking bicycle. But he never cares. Riding a bike every day is what keeps you going. He is now around 75 years old and rarely visits a doctor.

Many people, including me, thought that my father is very regressive and does not fit into this 21st century lifestyle and culture. However, after looking closely at the blind pursuit of material things that many people are involved in, I began to feel that there is some message in their lifestyle. You may be tempted to conclude that you cannot afford to buy a moped or scooter, and that is why you still ride your bike. But that’s not true. You may not be able to afford a car, but a good moped or scooter is certainly not beyond affordability. However, you do not want to acquire one and are completely satisfied with its old and loyal wearer. At a time when motor vehicle exhaust is causing damage to people’s lungs and governments are enforcing car-free days, their lifestyle appears healthy, profitable and sustainable.

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