5 March 2018

Mom and the art of motorcycle communications

Of all the things I look forward to every morning, talking to my mom has to be one of the top of the list ones. Not for the sentimental value. But the hilarity of the discussions. Usually the discussions center around three key themes :

(*) Complaints about my dad – of which there are many. He is either trying too hard or not much at all. Or he is being too aggressive or too passive. He just cannot seem to hit the right spot.

(*) Weather – the mood for the entire day for my mom, I have come around to believe – is set by how conducive the weather is to drying out the clothes that she puts out on the clothesline every day after washing them. Bright sun? “Bhalo weather aaj”. (It is a good weather day). Even then she will slip in once in a while a complaint about how hot it is getting 🙂

(*) My niece – apparently she is not studying enough. This complaint incidentally has never changed in intensity over the years and is, by and large, totally uncorrelated to how much my niece actually studies.

And then once in a while, she will stray off to other topics – usually leaving her mightily confused. Today was such a day…

She started by asking what did I do on Niki’s birthday. I told her that Niki had dance practices the whole day. And then she went for the movies with her friends.

For good measure – and this is where I think I brought this upon myself – I told her that it was a glorious sunny day. Since, I did not have to worry about drying any clothes that particular morning, I took the motorcycle and went up to the mountains.

That took some time for her to grasp. “Othhatey paarli?”, she finally asked. She literally asked me if I could lift the motorcycle up the mountains. I think she had a mental picture of her poor son huffing and puffing as he dragged a much reluctant bike up the hills…

“Othhatey paarli maaney? Eki teney hichrey tultey hoy naaki? O to nijey nijey uthe porey”.
(What do you mean if I could pull it up? It is not like I have to drag it along. I ride on it)

I think she was suitably convinced. Now, some of you who follow my posts are probably aware that my mom is a psychiatric patient herself. One of the challenges she has is remembering new things.

“Tui ekta Hero Honda kinechhis na?”, was her next question.
Now, a brief background… when we were growing up, Hero Honda (a company in India with collaboration with the Japanese company) had brought out a two wheeler for the common person. It was pretty inexpensive those days and had very little power compared to two wheelers you can get in India these days. I think it was literally a 50 cc engine. When I had heard how much it could go on a liter of petrol, I had a legitimate doubt on whether it ran on petrol or petrol vapors. (“Teley chhotey na teler gondhhe?”)

To my mom – all two wheelers are the same. Every motorcycle is a Hero Honda she remembers from 35 years back. Which also explained why she thinks on a sunny day I go around dragging my “Hero Honda” up the mountains.

“Yes, mom! That is what I have bought. A little bigger – so that it can climb mountains by itself”.

“Bhalo korechhis”.

Finally, she was satisfied!

Posted March 5, 2018 by Rajib Roy in category "Family in India


  1. By Dhananjay Nene on

    You should’ve told her the mileage you get (as compared to the Fill it Shut it Forget it Hero Honda 80 km p litre). That should make for another interesting discussion. And then maybe she will complain to your niece regularly about what an atrociously gas guzzling vehicle you ride 🙂


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