July 02, 2007

A cycle of cycles

It is an experience in itself, to bicycle on the roads of Bhubaneswar. For broke denizens of this world, like yours truly for example, there is hardly any other option available. The auto rickshaws here have taken it upon themselves to charge prices that make your pockets feel as weightless as an astronaut stranded in space. And well, buses are a non-existent rumour. One does occasionally hear of this fabled town bus that is as difficult to spot as Abhishek Bacchan on a local train. So well, bicycles that only need the occasional ek tanka for air seem the best option.

All the gorgeous women in those lovely Orissa sarees don't seem to be doing much. Because male cyclists always stare at my sweaty face and mismatched clothing and dirty sports shoes as if they've just seen an apsara from heaven. And then they sidle up close to you and say things they think are cute. Not that they are a major problem. All one has to do to shake them off is yell 'Problem hain kya...chal mere saath udhar signal pe police khadi hain baat karte hain!'

Then there is that demented lot that is so used to roads without footpaths that they prefer walking on roads even when there are perfectly decent footpaths. The really exceptional cases I've come across include a woman in Cuttack who landed up looking at her torn sari pallav with a shocked face after the handlebars of my cycle put an end to her fashion parade with swaying sari on a narrow street. The second incident involved this happy family of three who were thrown into sudden chaos after I almost drove right into them while they were holding hands and sauntering along a busy road like it was their private apple orchard.

Apple orchards apart, it is a lovely way to pick up some cool street slang and also discover a city...and psst...the best gupchup places in the city. :P

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