Bicycle diary

In the early hours of yesterday when the sun was pure and simple and golden, my car lurched to a stop at the CR Avenue crossing. The crossing was barricaded and police vans of all shapes and sizes cordoned off the area. Sleepy bystanders yawned and rubbed their eyes. I got out of my car and walked over to the front just behind the barricade searching for signs of calamity – smoke, fire, exploded grenades, dead bodies or miscreants chasing each other with hoes and knives. There was curfew-like silence for five minutes. Five pulse-racing minutes. And then He appeared. His six-foot plus frame was hunched over a bicycle A faux belly protruded from under his simple coarse wool waistcoat. A cloth cap was pulled tight covering his forehead. He cycled across the road. The crowd exploded in a collective hurrah. As if they had never seen anyone cycle across the road before. But this was not any ordinary person, mind you. They fell silent as the cycle reached the other side. Cars honked from behind. Luckily, they had no idea what was going on. Angry drivers disembarked, spit out their paan and rolled their sleeves. The policemen and women only yawned. The cycle turned and got ready to make the journey back to its point of origin across the road. As it neared the intersection, the crowd erupted once again. It traced and elliptical path and slowed down before finally stopping on the other side. The whole operation took a full 40 minutes. Ambulance sirens that were wailing from behind the queue of motorcars and buses had fallen silent. As the barricades were finally lifted, they raced ahead, their hooters up full volume. People started breathing. And everything was normal. The man on the bicycle was Amitabh Bachchan.


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