Monday, August 5, 2013

I’ve Signed Up to Lose My Dignity

I have always suspected that I have some sort of subconscious death wish. I am a cautious person normally. Like I always make someone walk ahead of me on Bangalore’s dodgy pavements. That way, when they fall through a loose pavement slab and are waist-deep in an icky drain, I can still get across to the other side by stepping on their heads. Shocking, you say? Yes, my nimbleness usually gets that sort of a reaction. I say “I hope I don’t fall” just before a flight of stairs, jinxing things just so that BC or some other virtuous individual goes tumbling down instead.

This subconscious suicidal tendency, however, raises its ugly head quite often, catching me completely unawares. I have had a few near-fatal experiences. All as undignified as they come.

One evening, I was standing on the median of a busy street along with my colleague Apooo, waiting to cross the road. As a wave of traffic approached, I suddenly lurched forward and went, arms and legs flailing, onto the road. Fortunately, for me, motorists were more benevolent back then than they are now. They stopped while I quickly picked myself up and scurried sheepishly across while Apooo looked at me completely bewildered. I have no explanation for why I careened forward like that. I did not lose my balance. I did not trip. My subconscious probably convinced me it would be fun to throw myself out in thick traffic to really liven things up.

On a visit to the hills I call home, I was walking up a steep slushy path. As I gloated over my perceived mountain goat-like surefootedness in such terrain, I suddenly found I couldn’t take a step further. I couldn’t bring my left leg forward to take a step. It remained stubbornly rooted to its perch on a bit of rock. Then I heard a sharp crack above me and in a second, a very large and heavy jackfruit landed right in front of me. As I surveyed the sticky, squishy mess all over my right foot, it occurred to me that had that jackfruit landed on my head, I would have died. A terribly undignified death. Why I had chosen that path when the alternative route was easier and much less risky, I will never know.

Coupled with a subconscious that wishes a painful, undignified death, I seem to have some sort of secret penchant for public displays of foolishness. I mulled over that after KO and I successfully kayaked ourselves under a wooden pier and had to be extricated by an amused guide while other kayakers hooted with laughter and propelled themselves expertly through the mangroves of Thailand.

As I pack my bags for Bali, I wonder what I am getting myself into. I’ve signed up for an eco-cycling tour. Nothing wrong or obtuse about that, you say? Well, consider that I haven’t sat on a bicycle since I was 16. Which would also be okay if I was riding on, say, an aircraft runway. And did I mention I have an iffy knee?

I am going to be cycling through narrow paths across slushy rice fields. They say happy, excited children come running out to wave and shout hello. (Running out of their houses, I mean, not the rice fields – that would make them those Stephen-King-Children-of-the-Corn freaks.)

As if navigating treacherous paddy drains isn’t challenging enough, I also have to avoid running over some jubilant children. If I refuse to wave back for fear of taking my hands off the handlebars, I will be that rude, unfriendly Indian tourist we all dislike so much. If I try waving back, I’ll lose control and run them over. I will be labeled a serial child killer. Given my open dislike of young humans, nobody is going to believe it was an accident. I could end up in jail.

My chance to hold onto even a shred of dignity looks very, very bleak. As I see it, eco-friendly and child-friendly would mean allowing me to be thrown over the bicycle handlebars, face first into warm, icky mud. Goodbye, Dignity, Self-Respect and, of course, Vanity.

It doesn’t look good, people. Stay tuned for post-trip updates where I’ll lick the wounds of my smarting ego.

12 comments:

  1. Oh come on – friendliness over foolishness – ALWAYS!
    (Now Give Us A Royal Wave, Principessa Poo.:p)

    P.S. I promise to fly down to Bali and visit you in jail – Kokonut promise. :-|

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  2. What if friendliness IS foolishness?

    P.S. Gee, thanks ya. Knew I could count on you :P

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  3. Friendly folly is all about the jolly, pretty Poo-lly! *rolls third eye at self*

    ~~~Just shoot me~~~

    P.S. You're welcome. *beatific smile*

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  4. Hahahahahaha. I was thinking your message earlier today read like a blog post. And I am so pleased you did just that. This is wonderful. People around me are wondering why I am cackling the way I am. But hahahahaha.

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  5. @Bhumika: I should be thanking you. You are to writers what Drainex is to sinks ;)

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  6. Haha! :)

    Life = "Fall - Get up - Smile" on repeat mode!

    Safe travels! :)

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  7. @Manoj: I'll try to remember that as I collect bruise after bruise!

    Thank you! :)

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  8. Well thats another interesting attribute to your personality. You are an example of living-on-the-edge.
    Try and be safe on the holiday, coz I love reading your posts. :D

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  9. the world is less beautiful
    when under the weight
    of a rickety bike

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  10. Try six inch stilletos next time - on the hills, the main road, the drain, anywhere.

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  11. what happened at Bali ? were you able to wave at the kids without running them over ?

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  12. @mizarukikazaruiwazaru: I managed. There were no fatalities. I've blogged about it here: http://a-saltedpeanut.blogspot.in/2013/09/fore-there-was-blah-on-bicycle.html

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