It was a bright sunny day and I was busy sleeping when Rahul gave me a wake up call and for the thrid sunday in a row promised to meet in the evening. The last two sundays he had kept me waiting on and on so this time I was in my usual ghar wala attire, calmly watching Guru, for the fifth time, with my parents when suddenly I heard the doorbell. It was five in the evening and I was almost shocked to see Rahul at my gate. The shock was because of two things, primarily because he was there, finally, and secondly because he was complete one hour before time. Anyways, I welcomed him with as much surprise as with happiness.
He even made a call to Maddy, who had to accompany us, from my house trying to prove that he should be on time at his place unless Amit, who was to meet us nearby, delayed us. After having tea etc when we thought of moving, you could hear cries of Oh Rahul……as he had lost the keys again, not a big deal for him as he was quite accustomed to it. Fortunately or unfortunately, he had left the keys in his bike itself, as we figured out later. I had the least of hints of which bike he had got. It was when we were searching for the keys then he told me that he had got a Yo-Bike. On enquiring, I was told that it was a battery operated two wheeler. “Yaar, fir ye to ye badi risky hai yar”, was the first thing I uttered on hearing. Then he went on detailing its qualities, “it gets full charged in a night’s span and then runs for 75 kilometres at a stretch, and in Kanpur you can’t drive more than that in a day, so its good enough and not at all risky”. “Hmm, in that case thik hai”, I said. “Aur han tum daro mat kyonki main abhi bhi usse charge par laga kar aaya hu”, he said proudly.
When I reached downstairs, I broke out into an ocean of laughter as I saw the bike. The manufacturers had forgot mentioning that it was meant for a single person only. I was still wondering how could it carry 160 kgs, as Rahul went on in continuation singing praises for the bike. He confirmed this as he told me that, he and his father had made a ride on it for quite a long distance the previous night, right from Panki to Barra, Kanpurites can figure the distance, crossing even a bridge. He asked me to sit to which I responded “Abe start to karo ” and when he said “abe start hai, baitho”, he had me in total amazement. There was absolutely no noise. Anyways as I sat, he pulled the accelerator and the bike infact the Yo-Bike moved, leaving me completely bedazzled. It attained a speed of 35 kph in no time but when its speed stopped increasing I put up the question up for Rahul and he emphatically answered “Are ye iski max speed hai”. And all I could say was “Waaaaaaaaah”.
Then we met Amit and I thought of moving onto his bike, a new Discover, but Rahul asked me to be with him instead. I fulfilled his wish and by the time we reached Maddy’s place I said only one thing to him, “Rahul, ye bike lane ki himmat tum hi kar sakte ho”, and I seriously meant that. We picked up Maddy from his place and then went to where Rahul had promised us to take, since a month, the Mascar Ghats. Maddy and Amit had never been there, so Rahul asked them to follow him, much to their embarassment. It was my second visit to the place, the first being on the previous night itself with Prateek and Yasharth, my school friends. We spent some time there and then planned to go to mall road, hardly 2 km from the ghats to have something, as Rahul was proudly said “maine tum logo ko apni placement treat nahi di hai to aaj wahi samjho”, but I had never thought that it would take half an hour to travel such a petite distance.
As soon as we made our way back, at the first turn itself, the bike started to slow down. I got a hint straightaway and I
started shouting on the road itself “Abe marva diya yaar”. I asked him to switch the light off which increased the speed by a small but considerable amount. I straightaway started firing ……. on Rahul and he again made a proud statement “abe yar battery khatam bhi ho jaye to ye dus ki speed se chalti rehti hai”, another false promise which he had made in the bike’s praise. We asked Amit to reach the mall road and wait for us. Barely had we travelled one kilometer when I saw a cycle-wallah overtaking us and glaring us right from behind till the time he completely crossed us and in the mean time all I did was….. Laugh like hell. And Rahul, the proud driver had only one sentence on his mouth, “Abe Sahai mat haso be” and said it so sarcastically that anyone’s heart could have melted. Then we had a race with a cycle rickshaw carrying three passengers, and you won’t believe it, we won ! A little further and we started hearing voices which said, “There should be more battery, there should be more battery”, coming from the bike itself. And then it happened, the rickshaw we had defeated earlier, was now overtaking us and this time the three guys travelling on it were laughing like hell. I accompanied them and this time even Rahul didn’t have any other option but to ….. L.A.U.G.H. And we burst into a huge roar of laughter on the road itself.
The battery had virtually died when we reached phoolbagh and now I got off the bike and started walking along side Rahul, yeah he was driving and me walking. I guess you can understand at what rocket speed Rahul must be driving. He was doing for what he’s well known in hostel, driving in SLOW MOTION (his nickname in hostel). We reached a restaurant, me reaching first, hehe, not because of his speed but because he had to wait at the red light where, I must appreciate the guy for his guts, he emphatically explanied the qualities of Yo-Byke to onlookers who couldn’t resist asking him “yar tumhari bike me engine kahan hai ?”
We had a great treat from Rahul at the restaurant, the only good thing that had happened that evening. And then we decided to move. First it was decided to place his bike at a nearby place, Amit’s relative’s home, but on realizing the parking there did not have a charging point we had no option but to take it along. Rahul confidently said it would reach Maddy’s place easily, another false statement Rahul had made that night. So it was decided that Rahul should leave with Amit and me and Maddy would drive his bike to Maddy’s home. We were just being Rahul’s good friend at that moment. While they left in a flash, it took us almost half an hour to cover a distance of just over a kilometre and reach bada chauraha. It was there we realized that it was counting its last breadths and refused to move. First we thought of charging it at some place but, as expected, no shopkeeper allowed us to do so, even at the cost of cold-drinks that too two in number. Then I recalled one more quality Rahul had banked upon. “Abe charging point, petrol pump se zyada asaan hota hai dhundna, har paan ki dukaan par hota hai”, to which I had only replied in “abe paan wale kab se bijli ka bill bharne lage? welcome to Kanpur beta, yaha katiya se kaam chalta hai aur mujhe nahi lagta ki koi tumhe charge karne dega”.
Now with no one allowing to do so, I made a call to a friend hoping to charge at his place, but later we realized that it wasn’t a viable option either as there was no point in dragging the bike and then charging for merely half an hour, as it was already 9.30 by then. So first it was decided that I should leave while Maddy would himself drive as far it would go and then load it on a rickshaw to his place. But then suddenly his mood changed and he made a call to load it there itself. We booked a cycle rickshaw in twenty five rupees after some bargain and after explaining that the bike was actually not more than a cycle as it did not have an engine or petrol tank or anything of that sort. At first he laughed but then agreed to go. We loaded the immaculate Yo-Bike on the rickshaw and then both of us climbed on it from behind. People travelling by rickshaws must have imagined by now how the scene would be. On the way we were stared by many people crossing by which only led to Rahul getting all the abuses he deserved for his karnama that night, but it was when another rickshaw, carrying a couple of laughing guys passed, that Maddy uttered, “Abe has kya rahe ho, jab tumhara bhi Rahul Gupta jaisa koi dost hoga tab samjhoge”.