Sunday, March 28, 2010

That Tomboy at Boring Road

Ok i choose this particular video not only for it's music and all that it depicts...the sheer thrill of flying a kite, but for a specific reason which shall come to fore as i progress. The fact of the matter being that something in this video is so much in the memory of this girl but she can't find it anymore. At least not in the city she resides in but she believes that maybe it still exists somewhere and one day she is going to find it and bring it home just like that toy she found in Dilli Haat. The one with wheels having a drum like structure between the wheels and when pulled with the help of a string the stick fixed to the drum makes the drum beat a funny tadaak! tadaak ! as this toy, the drum cart moves forward. This song from an old classic by V Shantaram has this toy that trails behind Sandhya the heroine who is singing this classic number in the movie 'Do Aankhain Barah Haath'.

My story should see this young girl of class 7-8 who was learning how to ride an adult bicycle a 26 inch too huge for her 4 ft frame, in the space provided in her home which can be best described as a pathway leading to the ground floor flats, one on the either side of the building constructed by her father and named after her grandmother Sujan Bhawan. She was using her own methodology as advised by the pros which was called half pedal. Which meant her grabbing one handle by one hand while the other grabbed the front rod of the bicycle, the one which starts below the seat and joins the handlebar. The two legs passed on the either side below this rod to the two pedals as she gleefully demonstrated her prowess as good as boys her age to her uncles visiting from the village. They meanwhile praising her ability and applauding her efforts showing all the amazement a rustic can have to see a women drive a Scorpio or during those times a Mahindra jeep.

It was not surprising then that just a week later in order to prove to her uncles how brave and still more she was, she now tried full pedal just the way the boys do. This by placing one feet on one pedal and sliding in rythmic motion to gain momentum and quickly jump on to the seat of this 26 inch beast just like how men and boys do. How her heart palpitated with thrill and fear when finally seated and her other feet on the other pedal, the machine was in her control. What she was afraid of was the control part not that she can fall and get bruised badly on the concrete. Fear again when she had to stop and alight as there was no more space to move forward. Well, before her uncles could come to her rescue she with her heart pounding did alight which can be best dubbed as the gymnast who has done all her routines well but had a bad one at the landing. So that is her story with the bicycle which brought her closer to what generally people would call urchins...those rugged, unwashed, unkempt boys her age and perhaps even younger seen at the roadside pumping air into the bicycles for a small price and also doing minor repairs that again for a pittance.

These would be thrilled at her sight when she approached them to do the minute repairs and also fill air into the cycle tyre . "ladki hokar cycle chalati hain?"(Being a girl and riding bicycle?) To which she would nonchalantly reply in an affirmative nod and when the task would be done she would hand (that one who obliged) over the 5 to 25 paise as per the work, clearly show her gratefulness by her English Thank You and ride back home happily little caring whether the boy understood the meaning of her thank you or not.

Her association with these boys began with the hawa (air) in the cycle and ended in a passion for her during those days, of that of guddi udana(flying kites). In Hindi it is called patang but this place where her father was posted it was locally known as Guddi. Not that she had never seen kites before but on one particular day these boys for want of anything better to do, were busy flying kites on the side of the road which is not tarred but had dusty ground. Those days did not have this concrete jungle and hence less obstruction of electric poles and wires. That day she forgot her bicycle at which she was now a proud pro even when she was tiny and the bicycle looked huge in front of her. That day she wanted to master another art and that was kite flying and more than the kite it was the spool that caught her fancy then. A roundish cylindrical grilled structure made of bamboo into which was wound the twine which in turn rose up high on with the kite.She wowed at the way the twine forming a curve with tension held the kite. That spool and the twine could manoeuvre the kite into gay abandon and even break the kite into fanciful twirls in the sky as if dancing at the panorama of tunes the world had to offer. The spool looked exactly similar to the one showed in the video Chal Chali re patang meri chali re. And these boys called it letair/letayee. As she held her bicycle steady she had forgotten about the flat tyre and now she wanted to know all about letayee and the guddi. She wanted to handle the latayee so badly that it was written all over her face just like that of a hungry beggar child watching a sethji (a rich merchant) eating hot jalebis ( a spiral Indian sweetmeat).                                                                                                                                    To be contd....

Kite thumb photos courtesy:


  1. Very well written. Can't wait for the second part of it :-)

  2. @Raja thank you for reading and the next part ready for you to dig in and comment. :)

  3. shivani..i lived in Krishna Puri...not too far from Boring Road! come up with second part soon.

  4. @Sabina hey! that's gr8 and see we actually know each other better now...guess we were near but far then but now look at this...we are far yet so near..."tussi gr8 ho tohfu kabool kijiye " Thank you for now being sooo near.

  5. We-Bore-It Road Boring services are affordable and reliable. If we an be of assistance in Krishna Puri or surrounding areas, please let us know.