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Monday, August 18, 2014

Royale EnTRY and stuff of Classics…


*speechless* *tears* *overwhelm* and *part exhaustion* some of the emotions that ran through me when our Royal Enfield Classic 500cc Tan sailed out of the showroom on her maiden journey a short distance away; date 07 Aug 2014 (Wednesday).

Abeer had been talking of bikes and jeeps since I knew him. He was and has been the quintessential boy. Rough, rugged, playful and childlike (I would like to replace that last bit with childish). But where would us women be with our men and none of their toys (pun unintended). Abeer is a gadget-y mechanic-y man since he knew how to take things apart and reassemble them back per his fashion aka customization. So when the ghost of Royal Enfield unleashed her charms on him, he was tempted to say the least.

Honestly, I can’t recall when did it start. We started admiring bikes in parking lots and whenever we passed one. He would talk of the machine like he was in a daze about it. I for one am a bike lover. I am not a fruitful rider but I make up for my massive inability with being good pillion rider and enjoying every bit of it. So I encouraged this infatuation than rant about safety and cost etc. EVERYTHING in this world is dangerous and unsafe. It’s up to us how we make it substantially safe. I prodded him to go to the main showroom. Ask people. Get details etc. He would do so and then it would die down cuz of money, planning or the lack of it or even just something else coming up. We continued this practice on our weekend getaways as well. Pune being the 2nd primary target. Quite frankly I didn’t wanna force or push him lest he feel like he’s investing in a machine just for me. But I also couldn’t shake off the fact that he so desired one and nothing was coming off it. So I took it into my hands this time to literally pulley-push him like a wheelbarrow into the showroom.

In the meantime we were hung up on the RE Thunderbird 350/500cc (debatable based on usage and mileage). The moment the ‘decision’ phase started, I was planning journeys in my head. This was indeed going to be an adventure. Abeer’s grouse was the waiting period. My grouse was in the months we spent hunting the perfect 1, we could have ALREADY had 1 in our hand. Here on forward, he decided and I calculated. Then came the saga of the Continental GT. An Enfield product, which to me appeared to have undergone a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Phase. It was a beauty – no doubt. But for me it lacked the classic RE body and design. The bike didn’t feel like an RE to me (no offense). This is based on pure external aesthetics and in no way reflective of the performance. Abeer took a test ride in Pune one evening while on our way back to Mumbai after a FIFA WC weekend. The Continental GT’s weight, inability to turn smoothly around our compromised Indian U-turns and bends as well as the sheer stress on the rider’s back was what made him change his mind. This was confirmed with other riders and bikers who shared similar experiences.

We had our hearts settled on a matte black Thunderbird series. Stunning beauty I would liken to Lupita Nyong’o. One couldn’t take their eyes off it. So was the Desert Storm but it was a bit of a has-been for us. The RE Classic 500cc Tan was something that lay low, hidden, like a child crawling out from under a barbed fence in a war zone. The irony was it was Tan colored. Perfect stand out machine and just 1 piece in sight. Again, we couldn’t take our eyes off of her. But this time our eyes and hearts didn’t move and we WANTED her. Abeer booked it – 06 June 2014. We pooled in our monies to 5k (unprepared to have loose change lying around for let’s say a bike), filled a few forms, felt smug about saving 8-9k on-road price in Pune vs Mumbai and walked out with a smile that looked like we stole precious cherries from the neighbor’s garden. It was OUR secret. The moment we reached Mumbai, the REAL adventure began. Every SMS plainly saying ‘Congrats you own a blah blah’ would excite us. It was really sinking in. Now was financial planning. Loans, down payments, EMIs, best options etc. The waiting period communicated was about a month or more. We got confirmation of her arrival in ~10days of booking her.
1st look and out on the road post registration

Let me tell you the excitement, frustration, eagerness, annoyance and every shifty feeling of having something ~160kms away and not being able to have it until a few formalities are complete. In our eagerness to grab her, we hastily followed (read believed and relied on) any and every advice that came in for financial planning. In the end the ‘greens’ rather ‘Gandhiji’ is what built and tested our level of patience and endurance. We made 2 futile trips just to see her lying in the showroom. No other Tan piece was available for showing or selling. Apparently, we were the only ones who had booked it. We fought with bank employees and loan sharks. Came home to Mumbai and fought cross-city with our dealer in Pune. Abeer needed me to turn on the nasty and get the ball not rolling but spinning straight out the galley. I did. 1 Wednesday I carried my work with me and we fought and waited and cried and argued and insisted on action and I meanwhile worked and worked and the day seemed endless. I decided I was gonna camp outside the dealer’s showroom JUST to make the bank and dealer feel guilty. The overwhelm and patience which had assaulted my tonsils made me just WANT her than deserve her. Abeer was near tears and probably would have sunk back and cancelled it all. It was NOT gonna happen after all this. In the meantime, Brahma Motors (Dealer) washed, polished and fitted a mud guard on her. Sort of calming our nerves to show us that she was ready when we were.

At 7pm we got the go-ahead and she rolled out from their enclosure into light. That enclosure if viewed in background fade, would look all black-grey-brown and this one an absolute unmistakable stand out. Everyone assumed, rather assumes we did a custom paint job on her. All eyes from a nearby tea stall were on her. I was exhausted and speechless and I couldn’t stop the tears. Just wipe and hide them. I wanted to hug her but that would be a Yash Raj moment for these people. Marker pen on the makeshift license plate indicated her birth on the road and we took off after a few glitches and final to-dos. I loved it. Loved her and loved Abeer even more. He was happy. That made ME happy. Mission accomplished. We cruised a bit. Had our 1st nightmare traffic; got pulled over by a cop in 10mins and were let go to run wild and free (pun intended) in the next 30 secs of him ogling at her. It was brief burst of adrenaline. Abeer took it to park in his garage safely away from prying eyes and of course, to share the moment with his family.

After we returned home to Mumbai at 2am, it was an even painful long waiting for the next week or 2. Registration and formalities and what not. Abeer wanted a preferred number that we chose. Sadly that number didn't work out. We decided no more trips until we could bring her back to Mumbai. It was all or nothing. 15 August Independence Day marked that weekend for us. We took off the same night, removed her from the garage and it was 2 whole days of just her and us. We took maybe 2 odd breaks to rest our backs and butts that had gone numb. Abeer barely slept 3 hours and was busy washing her and readying her at 5am for a 6am ride. I was punished for being late at 7-freaking-am. Ok ok understood. We rode in divine weather and breeze. Bike jackets and gear in place, helmets purchased, cleaned, tugged along… finally performed their duties. We joked that my gregariously bubblegum pink helmet would distract people from putting nazarr on the bike. Lol Never happened.

We did our maiden long journey on 17 Aug 2014, Sunday, from Pune-Mumbai via NH4. Started at 6:30am and touched Mumbai at 11:30am. We had probably 5 stops to cool the new engine which couldn’t be pushed beyond 60, had chai and corn, weathered heat, heavy and light rains, dense fog, brief bit of biting cold, and brilliant breeze. It was smooth and perfect and I couldn’t have asked/wished for more. Gave us an idea of how to manage other longer and more rugged journeys in the near future. She had her 1st bike wash and exposure to Mumbai as well and now she sits resting for a bit as we plan her future. <3
Here ends the acquisition and maiden journey story. Look forward to more #BiKronicles #REDiaries #RECLassic500Tan
Abeer et moi on our beloved baby!