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Mineli On… Motorcycles



Mineli On… Motorcycles

A new opinion column by the truly opinionated

No self-respecting publication (digital, print or otherwise) is complete without a thick block of shockingly opinionated sentences strung together for the pleasure of the amused reader. It makes for a welcome change from the alternative facts showered on us by our crooked government, not to forget all the preachy stuff composed to keep readers distracted from real matters. And so it is that I’m here to comment on such matters that actually affect millennials. Like? Well, men, mojo and motorcycles, to begin with.

Or let’s start with Marvin. He was a short, bald Goan boy I happened to know through a common friend. He would carry a hippie jhola to his corporate office and try to overcompensate for his mediocre looks with a machine that was surely created with the sole purpose of generating noise pollution. In fact, it even feels (read vibrates) like a generator between the legs. You guessed it – an Enfield Bullet – the iron-and-chrome beauty that produces guttural sound waves similar to a TB patient’s final cough.

So Marvin liked his Bullet and wished to ride it further and beyond. Beyond what? you may ask. I did, and got no answer. He just felt bloody good straddling it every morning like it was a stallion (that’s what he called it but then referred to it as a ‘she’, creating gender confusion for the rest of us). Since I’m more of the walking kind and pretty much anything with an engine seems incredibly faster in comparison to my feet, I once got tempted into tagging along with him for a bike ride to Goa.

We left on a Thursday morning after a good two hours of struggling to tie up our luggage while still keeping space for my legs to get sore. Between Bandra and Panjim, god be blessed, that sexy generator broke down 7 times. Marvin tried to joke about it being an auspicious number, and I took the cue to yank my backpack off and flag down a state transport bus.

Since then I’ve developed a new hobby – broken-down-Enfield-spotting. From Bangalore to Pushkar to Leh to Tawang, I’ve noticed Enfield riders trying to seem respectably macho as they stand outside service stations, looking like bulky bears in their knee guards and elbow guards and helmets with empty, sweaty skulls inside. It happens so often that I feel like going with a bike mechanic on a date just to make amends.

What is it about motorcycles, especially the thumping Bullet, that even the shortest man takes off on tall escapades knowing full well he’ll be the roadside fool whether he likes it or not? Do they imagine  themselves as Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper rumbling down an almost-highway in Jabalpur? Really?

And yet, against all logic, motorcycle sales in India are growing. The millennials are becoming richer, the bikes noisier (and my ears dysfunctional). Every travel destination one can think of, from Varkala to Kohima, is dense with the thump that sends onlookers’ hearts beating in terror and tempers rising.

For a more technical lowdown on just how awful this bike is, read this true-blue Punjabi’s lovely rant against Bullets and the glorious Bull Riders. The naked truth; exhaust modification be damned.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar




Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.

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