When you are on a trip, there are three phases that you go through. More mental than physical, these phases are what it makes riding so special.
So Phase 1 is when you have just started the trip and you are dreaming of all the good things that you would go through during the course of the ride. You already start dreaming of time when your thoughts are racing ahead of your bike that fast that your mind becomes numb, the road blurs and the roar of the bike is no longer there. The bike becomes a part of your body and its sound, your heartbeat. You can feel it. You can feel it coming. You are anticipating for the happy times.
Phase 2 is the actual state of bliss. The state that you dream of when you just set out to ride. This phase lasts just about few minutes before you are interrupted but these minutes are something that make the entire ordeal worth it. Some might want to compare this pleasure with orgasm. This is the time when your thoughts actually start to flow. This is that mental state that all the sages try to achieve. The state when they say they have attained nirvana. When everything else ceases to matter. Everything is put on hold. You ignore everything. All things big and all things small. You live in the now. You become part of it. You are now. You don’t make any grandiose plans. Things become clear. Clouds start parting.
And then the Phase 3. It’s like coming back from heaven. Or from hell for that matter. This is the time when you start thinking what to do next. About the next destination and the next journey. This is when you start reflecting on things. And most of your introspection happens. This is where you think about things that you are running away from and things that you are running towards. This is where you decide you want to change jobs, marry her, create a company, get rich, quit, restart, change world. This is where you actually plan it. First. Thoughts just pop up. You never thought you would think about those things. You never imagined you could think about those things. They suddenly appear out of nowhere.
That’s a different story that most of them are gone by the time the dust settles down. Some people do get lucky. They remember what they have been thinking about. What they need to do once they are back.
About me, I am about 2 rides old. Both of them less than 100 Kms. And I cant even imagine the joy and pain of an overnight ride. What would motivate someone to ride an entire day, sleep with a stiff back and get up next morning to go through the ordeal all over again. And with no one around to boast about this ride. No certificates to show. No titles to chase or defend. The entire idea looks anti-civilization to me. Weren't we suppose to settle down? Weren’t we supposed to be a part of a never-ending rat race? Weren't we supposed to slog and slog till one day when we realize we are 80 and we did everything but know ourselves better? And come to think of it, why exactly would one want to know himself better?
Most riders, including myself don’t think all this when they plan a ride. They just do it. They just want to get away. They want to run. They want to see places. They want to explore. Each trip brings with itself its own set of discoveries. And each trip creates its own set of memories.
Like this Rabbi Shergill song … “jaddon na kujh agge disse tahiyon bandaa vekhe picche”. Literally translated, “When you can’t see ahead, that is when you think about your past”.
I read somewhere that us humans work towards only one thing – that we would be missed when we are not around. I think everyone is trying to be immortal. We are trying not to die. We are trying to stay here forever. The rides are probably a step closer to that ever-elusive immortality. Some get it, when they are riding. And some unlucky ones don’t. The lucky ones get their bragging rights. And unlucky ones, get to ride another ride. Not much to chose between the two if you ask me.
We live our lives trying to be someone we are not. We look at all the wonderful things around us and suddenly we think we are supermen. We can do everything that everyone else is doing. And excel at it. And compete with people who have spent their lives working towards getting just a slight edge over you. We are not born with biking in our DNA. We grow up and along the way see someone or experience something that tilts our needles towards biking. I think, like all the trips, this post needs to be left hanging in air. In anticipation.
I don't know. Yet.