The Bullet Payback

By B R Gurunandan. Published in the Aug '05 issue of Man's World magazine

When one constantly has everything super, exclusive, mega, latest, premium, in, & miscellaneous designer stuff pushed in one's face, it can be only the very naive or very-nouveau riche who can actually swallow or even bear it.

The man buried inside even the most dolled up, line-toeing socialite cozy in a hierarchical system can take only so much before his soul says: Enough.

And looks for a release from being just another cog (however well oiled) in the Grand Scheme of Things which is supremely indifferent of his very existence.

The vision, the capability or the circumstances to change the paradigm are rarely with an individual, but no man is a hopeless victim of circumstance.

Driven to the wall he may be, but become a brick in the same he won't.

The Holy Grail, as I understand it, is something un-acquirable, but the pursuit of which cleanses one's soul & maketh one a better man. Yoga, red-belt-kung-fu, and such come readily to mind as examples, but for sheer practicality, give me a Bullet motorcycle anyday !

In a time & world where skills are relentlessly being replaced by CNC machines, people by microprocessors and software, repairs by replacement, modification by trade-in, and so on, the old world charm of the Bullet stands out for it's innocence and challenge, besides the very real promise of " nirvana "

(Hey!, I can hear them say, What's he been smoking ?)

When you buy a Bullet, you get not a lean-mean macho street-fighter machine, not even a chrome-and-laquer parade on two wheels, but a clattery contraption leaking oil from most joints and no matter what you do, it's not going to take on the Ninjas or the 'Busas. Indeed, if you are going to ride it at all, you are gonna have to upgrade your knowledge & skills & maybe even change your attitude !

But it is unthinkable for a typical Bullet owner to sell his steed... there has been too much involvement in it's evolution. And it has been a two-way relationship !

He has nurtured it from a mediocre machine, breathed life and personality into it, and it has taught him all the physics and the engineering that school did not. He is now well versed with the functioning of a carb ( do YOU know Bernoulli's Principle ? ) and what water does to it and how to get it out; Lenz's law and how to start an IC engine with a fouled plug or with a drained battery ...and so on. It has also been a real-life example of the wisdom of the Bhagwat Gita: Do your best and worry not about the results ! So you don't get upset or green when a snazzy set of wheels goes past you with a swooosh, you know you will find it stuck in the traffic-jam ahead, which you will slice thru unafraid as you are of scrapes & scratches; On the lonely highway, ( as in life ? ) you are banking on your own sincerity in maintenance & knowledge of repairs and not putting your fate in the hands of unseen teams of experts.

Contrast this with the ownership of a Jap/ European vehicle ! After years of driving it, all the owner knows is where the petrol goes in from and where to get the machine serviced. Offer him a tad more than the advertised " trade-in-price " and it's yours in a trice. For it is but an appliance, to serve your transportation needs, and to prop your ego if you are short of personality and conscious of it. The very same car or superbike that today tells the world ( or atleast the idlers who care to watch ) that you " have arrived ", tomorrow screams out that you are just a " has been " !

So as you strive to acquire the moolah to upgrade, the manufacturers strive to make your current wheels outdated. If you don't care, they ultimately stop making spares for it, reducing your modern Black-Box of a vehicle to scrap at their whim or board-meeting.

You finance Swanky Dealerships and Authorized Garages whether you like it or not, because your machine is designed to be hack-resistant so the friendly-neighborhood mechanics ( much less you yourself ) stand no chance of repairing any but the most elementary of it's faults.

I would not be surprised if Buddha had been a Bullet owner, for it is also a good example of minimizing your wants to achieve happiness.

(It's just tobacco, trust me !)

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