BICYCLE AND ME
I am the second daughter of my parents. Before my birth, my father was expecting a son and when I was born, my father was not present beside my mom. Finding my self a female baby, my mother had a shock, coz my birth might be the reason of her humiliation in future. My mom told me later, she could not sleep the night with fear of facing my father with a girl child. She was praying all the night to God for changing my gender, but God did not pay attention to her pathos cry and hence my Gender was not changed.But my father is a strong headed man and he could not forget his sorrow of not becoming a son’s father. He wanted me to bring up as a boy. My hair style was made such away that whenever my father would look at me, he would have the idea of a proud father of a boy . I was dressed with boy’s shirt and pant. Father even called me with a boyish name: LALA.When I was child, we were residing in a semi joint family. The bothers of my father had their own family, who had divided their ancestor’s properties but still they were living together with their separated kitchen. I had a group of cousins of similar age and ironically all were boys. With them I have to play the boyish game like sword fight game, shop keeper and customer game even gullidanda and thief police game .I had not played with dolls, neither had I worshiped the Goddess Khudurkuni or the God moon on KumarPurnima day or as a girl child does in Orissa.I belonged to a businessman family.My father owned a rice mill(still it is existing).He was engaging himself as a commissioning agent. So in our house there were four to five bicycles for the use of the manager and workers of the mill.Father’s bicycle had the tallest height and handsome looks.I was attracted by its appearance.No body could dare to touch the cycle.My cousins were export in bicycle riding and I could not control my instinct to ride the same one.Once in a hot summer mid day, while my father was in his after launch sleep, I took the cycle and ran away through the narrow lane behind our house(Our house was facing to main road).There I attempted for half paddle riding.This lesson though risky one,I had continued for few days and once I was caught by a relative in red handed. But inspite of abusing me, he inspired me and taught me how to ride a bicycle.He was holding the back of the cycle and assured me not to worry for the balance. He held the back of my bicycle and very confidently I rode the cycle. But after a while, when I looked back, I found the well wisher trainer was standing a few meters away from my cycle. Sudden I lost my balance and I fell down. But that incidence gave me courage to ride the bicycle on half paddle. It all happened when I was a student of class V.Later I was able to move on the full paddle. But as the father’s cycle was very tall, I felt inconvenient to ride on it. I had a cousin, who was residing in a village .He was very short in height and so was his cycle. He used to visit our house with a frequent interval. When he paid a visit, I was the first beneficiary , as I was having an opportunity to ride his short cycle ,which was most convenient for me. Later I was provided with a gents cycle by my father. But this time also no new bicycle was purchased for me and I had to satisfy with the old one. So, I can’t say what was the cost of my bicycle at that time.My bicycle riding was a sort of freedom to me and I used to make a tour from Korian to Govindpur (the two corners of Dhenkanal town) every day. I had experienced in roaming on the vacant road of the town at hot mid day, to pick up mangoes from the tree by standing on my bicycle. Once, a complaint was also made to my father that I was competing a running truck with my bicycle. But my riding was also a great help for all the relatives and neighbors as I was often asked to buy vegetables or grocery from the market. I had become a convenient mode of communication for my elders to exchange their notes and messages with their classmates. All these were possible due to my bicycle.I had a friend, named Rajiv Mishra in class VII. I used to carry him to the school on my bicycle. He used to sit on the rod of the bicycle and I had practiced to ride in double. Unfortunately he committed suicide. I really felt lonely as I had to go alone in my cycle. Once I was rewarded by one of my elder cousin due to my efficiency in bicycle riding. We were going to our village with bicycle. It was few kilometer away from the town. On the way we faced an elevated road. My cousin proposed a contest for me. He told if you could ride the cycle in the elevated road, I would give you a box of chocolate and finally I won the box.I enjoyed the freedom of riding that bicycle up to class IX and after that I had to say good bye to my bicycle because my guardians thought I was old enough for my tomboy activities.Did any boy passed a remark on my cycling? I didnt care for any remarks, but once a naughty boy tried to intervene and when I got down from my cycle, he had told: you may go forward. But as far I remembered, very few girls were riding cycle at that time.Though the Govt.College in Dhenkanal was far away from the town, I had no opportunity to ride bicycle again in my college career as the State Road Transport Authority was providing College Bus regularly.But, nowdays the time has changed and I find my girl students usually come to college with their bicycles.Whenever I wrote any story regarding my nostalgia, the bicycle interrupted there. Some of the stories correlated with my bicycle experience are PARAJITA SAMRAT, UDIBAR BELA, MOHO BHANGA etc.