The last one week has had so many people express their views on matters that may or may not affect them. I even saw status updates from people who were mute since.. my previous incarnation. Probably they couldn’t help it too, just like you but the news has been that way. There’s been so much anxiety, curiosity, confusion, excitement, hatred, rage, happiness in the air that it does make an empath like me, feel weird.
The funny week started off as usual with nothing much in the news apart from the smog and people blaming Kejru for everything. Poor him! Why don’t people stop driving around in their stupid SUVs, consume less, burn less and it’ll be OK! But no. Everybody wants to have fun, well be it then.
The EICMA expo at Milan ensured a lot of the motoring journos got enough content for the month for to fetch them their share of roti and sabjis, even If it had motorcycles that weren’t headed to India anytime soon. But one such ride which could be out next year and is an upgraded model of an earlier version was what produced maximum jizz out of the existing and prospective riders, married or unmarried. None other than the KTM Duke 390 for 2017, a motorcycle that seems more street focused and comes with an alien headlamp. It does look proportional from almost all the sides, and mean. Smoother engine and the same horsepower figures is not only what it comes with but it also comes with a colorful TFT screen that features an optional ‘KTM MY RIDE’ package, enabling a rider to connect his/her phone to the Duke for hands-free operation and music.
While all that sounds extremely tempting and ‘new age’, if you’ve been a KTM user, you know how complex electronics can get on a motorcycle, especially on a KTM! In addition, the present model of the Duke 390’s problems mainly pertained to electronics, especially since this was a one of a kind motorcycle that service personnel scratched their heads about when it came to problem diagnosis and cure. The 2017 version has got more of it, a lot more electronics that just makes it more.. complicated. I totally dislike concepts like ‘KTM MY Ride’, phone updates is the last thing I’d want to see on my instrument cluster and music is something I do not prefer listening to while riding. Whatever happened to “its just me and the motorcycle” or “it’s all in the same wind” type of quotes. Not to forget, getting phone notifications on a screen in front of you while riding at decent speeds could take your attention off the road for a few seconds, especially if you’ve got a highly possessive girlfriend who keeps calling every 19 minutes. So if a dog came your way at 90 kmph while you looked at the screen and wondered what to tell her, you and the dog could say goodbye to a lot of things! Even wearing a High visibility vest won’t save you, not that it does otherwise but people still prefer wearing it to feel safe even under broad daylight. Don’t have a ‘stalky’ girlfriend. And don’t opt for stupid packages that enable you to connect your phone to the motorcycle. Being an ‘avid’ existing Duke 390 user, I can’t currently comment on how the motorcycle would turn out to be but what worries me is the amount of electronics it comes with.
While riders continued to wet themselves at other EICMA updates, the PM of India drops the bomb on a black money. The bomb was an excellent and ballsy one but a still made a lot of people unhappy. I agree that everyone’s got cash with them that suddenly became obsolete, but it just requires a little bit of patience and self control to survive with whatever little money you had until the banks re- opened. Not that credit and debit cards weren’t accepted. It was a well executed plan of Narendra Modi , his ministers and advisors, in fact it is one of the most amazing short cuts to ban black money but some made it seem like they were dying out of hunger and thirst because of not having ‘legal money’. A lot of people expect convenience but, it shouldn’t be the case when somebody tries to axe a parallel black money economy, thereby putting an end to the plans of a huge mafia spreading dirt across the country for a really long time. Some one’s got to clean that dirt and cleaning something is not a convenient process. To mock and curse someone trying to clean the system for a long term benefit, just because you had to face a small amount of temporary inconvenience of not being able to have your favorite sandwich or for being stuck in a place for a little longer than usual, is utterly ridiculous. I can only assume that such people either have a pathetic value system presently and are blinded by their ‘conveniences’ or they probably had a weird upbringing. OR, people were ranting because they suddenly realized all their black money was useless. If you’re one of them and are reading this, you could still use the notes to play a game of monopoly with the kids, imagine how cool it would be to use notes that were once real!
The next day was another exciting day for me with the coming of Donald Trump as US president. I was excited because I love conspiracy theories and a few of them did predict Trump to be the president, of course for many different reasons. I was happy too for the fact that a nation that so many other nations and ‘wannabe Americans’ looked up to, hatched no one but Trump to be the president. WOW! Talk about possibilities now. The coming of Trump is part of a greater agenda of the corporate elites, unlike many other presidents that probably just carried on existing operations and blow some things up here and there. This guy’s probably recruited for a bigger thing!
What surprises me the most was when fellow Indians made fun of the US elections. I mean, are we even in a position to do that? We first allowed ourselves to be ruled by the Britishers for 2 or 3 centuries, then we allowed ourselves to be ruled by corrupt politicians who just stacked money abroad until recently when we finally learned some lesson and elected somebody credible enough to take the country forward. And now, we’re sitting here laughing at the US for electing Trump! What a bunch of no brainers. What makes this circus even more hilarious to me is when we talk about Hillary being better than Trump. If you research this shit deeply, logically and legally, there are claims which indicate the gruesome crimes committed by Hillary, that only make a terrorist seem like an amateur burglar. But we all just love to live in our little world of sitcoms, weekend drinks, selfies and occasional mood swings and are only capable of doing one thing- complaining! Complaining about friends, the weather, the pollution, the government and TV serials. That’s what we’ve come down to. We don’t do anything to help, but just complain.
In fact that’s a worrying concern for me today, our lifestyles being tailored to the American culture. Ignorant people obsessed with brands and addiction to overconsumption of coke, junk food and bullshit on TV is how I’d define Americans. I see our lifestyles becoming similar. Lots of people are so obsessed with the US, they’re even ready to go there and slog all day for a cheap job where they’re required to change their own name for business. So a certain Sameer Patel won’t mind being called Sammy Pat for a couple of hundred dollars a week and to get approved as a proud American! No self respect, people are ready to do anything for dollars. While a lot of our ancient knowledge and modern talent gets exported the US, a lot of their junk and trash in the form of synthetic food, filth and boring, pointless, cold corporate jobs get injected into India in the name of Globalization and modernization. If you’re not convinced with what I’m saying then I can help you. Watch some videos of George Carlin’s stand up comedy where he mocks American culture. You’ll automatically relate it to what’s happening here currently. And you just know he’s saying the truth and I bet it’ll hit you hard! But complaining about the banning of 500 and 1000 Rupees notes is something that you must do, especially when you had to stand in a queue for doing so. Are you so weak that you can’t even do that much? If you can happily stand for hours together on Sundays to get your things billed at shopping malls, why can’t you stand in a queue to get your money without complaining? I stood in a queue for 15 minutes, got my money for the week and life happily without cribbing!
Moving onto the next day when a bunch of motorcyclists and travel enthusiasts paid to meet and greet each other at an event where they would sit all day and listen to motorcycle travel stories, also known as Motorcycle Travellers Meet (MTM). The reason I’m mentioning this because quite a few of them asked me if I was attending this event that happens every year. NO I’M NOT!
I have no complains with the event at all and feel it is an innovative concept where like minded people come together to listen to each other’s stories and share tips, pointers. That’s great! But, I’m a person who just CANNOT sit all day and listen to people talk, I’m just not capable of doing that anymore. I’m not sure if I’ve got ADHD but I think I’d imagine about my next ride when I’m attending a lecture or presentation of any sort. And usually, I’m social and I love mingling with people but on the other days, I’d love to be in my own world and I can go through the whole event without even speaking to anyone.
In addition, I can’t take travel ideas from anybody. Like where to eat, what to click, where to poop, what to avoid, what to talk, how to fix. These are pointers that others give from their experiences. I feel that if they are injected into me, then it may change the way I perceive a particular destination or anything else on a motorcycle tour, a kind of adulteration that may prove to be useful, but most probably would kill my individualistic approach to a certain place or way of travel. I don’t prefer that. I would prefer if I went to a place with a frequency or thought that hasn’t been altered by somebody else’s perception. You may call me close minded, individualistic, too choosy, etc but that’s how I am and I like it.
The Gujarati in me doesn’t do any good in motivating me to attend the Motorcycle Travellers Meet because it costs around 5500 to 9000 INR for stay, food and stories for a weekend. That’s effin expensive considering you’re traveling all the way to Goa, sacrificing a nice winter weekend just to meet some strangers and to listen to their experiences. Instead, The Gujarati in me suggests to spend that money elsewhere, on something like a weekend motorcycle ride to the nearest jungle for a night or two. I can’t help it sometimes, but that’s the way I think and that’s the way I am. 🙂 It is an awesome concept for people who aren’t inspired to tour on a motorcycle and are looking for sources of inspiration. You should look within yourself for inspiration and not external sources is what I believe in but I rather not delve too much into that right now, would write about it some other time.
Well, the road ahead looks very exciting considering the events currently happening across the world. They’re funny, ridiculous, crazy but all in all, it’s a great show. Now enjoy the show, will ya?