Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
That’s what I call my moped of five years! It wasn’t easy earning this thing. And I wonder if I would have ever got it if it weren’t for the God-sent job I was offered, with the country’s leading newspaper, even as a student in college. My dad thought I was somebody, it took attending meetings at the huge newspaper office, interviewing big shots, extra kind appreciations from faculty and Principal at my college and a lot of persuasion to convince him that I actually need a moped to go to college, office, story spots – basically, handle work, studies and stardom at the naive age of 19. Yeah, that’s the language I used and that’s why I got it.
My black moped came with its company name ‘Wave’ and was launched only days before I bought it. It’s aerodynamic body, the large, comfy seat, it’s stylish lights and its amazing pick up made me feel great about myself, like I was riding the Na’vi Ikran. I was a proud owner. The best evenings of my life were when my mom and I zoomed around the most happening parts of the city, always on some chores, always busy and always happy. Oh those trips to the supermarket, fruit market, snacks bars, handicraft exhibitions! It was all fun.
I must have named my Wave a million things before I settled on Balty, Balthazar. Because it’s a transformation that I could not have foreseen. My sturdy, hunky Wave was strong and ready to fly to anywhere just with the push of a button in those early years. No starting problems, no pick up problems, no engine problems, nothing absolutely. It was the most pleasurable machine one could have, the most trusted friend.
It was more of a horse than it is now. Balthazar is a character from some late eighteenth century English novel. Balthazar is a donkey. A very trusted, loyal, dedicated, beautiful donkey with all its wisdom.
I learnt a lot about donkeys through a book I greatly admire, one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. Thanks to Andy Merrifield, his passion, admiration and understanding of donkeys, not to forget his extensive research on every reference there is to donkeys in English literature. His book ‘The Wisdom of Donkeys,’ is an eye-opener that takes the human brain to another level of animal understanding, a level never reached before.
His book credits donkeys with having this profound wisdom on how to live life, how to escape the maddening cacophony of a million deafening sounds, how to steer clear of nerve-wracking pressure, deadlines, emotional roller coaster rides, how to just live meaningful, peaceful lives – as donkeys do. Donkeys aren’t the asses as we know them. They are the most beautiful, most vulnerable, most delicate and the most lovable creatures that are capable of emotions as great as humans’.
There’s one thing that is truly common between donkeys and my moped Wave. The book talks about the thoughts that rush through the mind of a donkey when it takes a step, a single step forward. No human being on earth can make a donkey trod even a few steps if it does not want to. What humans perceive as ‘does not want to’ is actually ‘cannot’ if you can empathize with it. They cannot take a step further, not because they like being irritable, but because they aren’t sure if that is safe for them. A donkey may refuse to walk a step further on a plain land but might leap on high mountains. It is very difficult to get into the mind of a donkey but it is not difficult to understand them.
Five years through zooming and playing and unquestionable dedication and loyalty, my moped has come to become a little amnesic. It breaks my heart to see the bike that once was ready to run with the push of a button, now doesn’t start even after three dozen kicks. And there are times when even half a push is enough. Just like the plain land and the mountains.
I am convinced the wisdom of my dear moped is no less significant that that of Donkeys. I am proud to say that my Wave is a donkey, the most adorable one in that.
This machine is understandably very dear to me, I got it after a terribly long wait. But over the years, there is one reason that has endeared itself to me to the level of it becoming family. My sweetheart is my guardian angel. If it weren’t for this kind angel, I would have long met those five people in heaven. Skids, bad judgement, bad roads, road romeos, my own romeo stares on large hoardings, these and handful of other on-road antics could have long killed me, if it weren’t for my Balthazar.
There’s a story in English literature about a donkey called Balthazar who loved the little girl who owned him so much that when they were trapped in a barn lit on fire, Balthazar did everything it could to save the girl. It saved the girl, but didn’t care half as much to save itself.
I know that if it were me in the girl’s place and I had my moped around… my moped, only God can imagine in what fashion, would have saved me. It always did and I am sure it would.
Hence, my best friend, my love – Balthazar is what I call my lovely bike.