Friday, November 7, 2008

The Highwaystar

The scorching sun beats down on your shoulders and on the road, vapourising bitumen and making the road ahead and the hypnotising terrain look vaguely hazy. A blast of sand and black smoke hits your face as a truck speeds by. The blurry tarmac buzzing below the footrest is your only measure of speed. The wind blowing on your face brings tears to your eyes and dries your lips. Your head hums with the roar of the engine.

You see milestones rush past faster than you can count. Only then do you realise that the road and the terrain have entranced you so much and that you have grown so used to your bike's vibrations and noises that you are lulled into a dreamy, yet conscious sleep that your thought process has slowed down and your reactions are delayed, yet somehow strangely and deliciously in perfect harmony with the nature, the wind and the clouds.

On a subconscious plane, even when you are riding, you are sensitive to the fact that your motorcycle is your best friend, and that it will never get angry at you or shout at you or ignore you and ridicule you. You develop an almost human relationship with your motorcycle and care for it more than for yourself, at times.

Did you run out of fuel? There was definitely a momentary lapse now as the engine missed a beat, but it reassuringly surges back to life and keeps going. That was probably just the plug misfiring, or maybe a drop of condensation in the carburetor. Your mind dwells on this for a fraction of a second and then moves on... Or maybe the bike just voiced its protest in a way that only someone who truly understands his bike on a spiritual plane can comprehend.

The landscape is plain and devoid any striking features. Nothing seems to be moving in your vibrating rearview mirror, except the blurry horizon, which seems to be going further and further behind with every turn of the crankshaft. A piece of forged metal powers your bike and thoughts as you escape from the immediate past and apprehend about your distant future.

As you finally kill the engine and get off the motorcycle, the landscapes you saw are still playing again and again in your head and even if you close your eyes, you cannot shut it off. The engine isn’t running now, but your ears are ringing. This is going to take a while to wear off. The motorcycle still seems to be throbbing with life. Maybe its your imagination. But you hope its not...

The bike feels strangely peaceful and silent after hours and hours of spine shattering violence.

Your back is sore. Your hands are aching. Your palms are raw. Your eyes are red; your shirt is covered with grime and dust. So is your face. Your legs are cramped from too much riding and dehydration. Your backside is so numb you don't remember the last time you felt it alive. You are so exhausted you just want to crash and sleep for days on end. Yet, this is a feeling you would trade for nothing in the world, because you recognise it for what it is. You are filled with a feeling of tranquility and immense self satisfaction. You are filled with a sense of fulfillment that can only be compared to what you feel when you have reached a mountain top after hours of back breaking climb or when you have just finished listening to divine music. You are at peace with yourself and strangely detached from the rest of humanity.

You recognise it for what it is.

Motorcycling Nirvana.