Tour de France is in the air. I’d seen posters on sidewalks and heard reports on the radio, and a couple of days back I noticed a Tour-de-France dish on the menu. It was a non-vegetarian dish, so I decided not to take the ride. During lunch, C mentioned that this weekend the riders would be reaching Karlsruhe. I then revealed my ignorance by asking a few questions about the race. Would they start the next stage in the order they came in at the end of the last one? No, they would all start together, C explained. The time taken for each stage is recorded, and there are bonus points for the top three in some stages.
I recollect being intrigued by the passion Germans carry for cycling. I couldn’t see the point in cycling 20 kms to office each morning; I’d have to rest the whole day if I tried that. The cycle Colours bought has been lying unused next to the stairwell for over a year; she’d be quick to point out that had I filled air in the tyres, many things would have been different (one, of course, would be the air in her own tyres).
I do not remember thinking of cycling as fun. Riding to school was a convenient means to reach on time and get back early, and the big black Hercules dad had acquired for me met this purpose. An incident comes to mind: one evening a little while after I got back home from a game of badminton, I realized that my cycle was missing. I reported it to dad, who took the matter seriously and asked me to accompany him to the colony secretary’s house. There probably were a few other incidents on his mind – nothing else could explain the intensity behind his complaints on the deteriorating security situation in the colony. Something must be done about it, he said, adding that the gurkha slept all day and played cards at night. Before leaving, he even suggested searching the gurkha’s cottage if nothing else yielded result. When we got home, a friend was waiting for me with my cycle: I had left it behind at the badminton court.
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If this is a “diary” (as I wanted it to be), to whom am I narrating all this, in a memoir-like fashion? If the cycle incident came to mind and I wanted to write it in a diary, it would not need more than four words (lost-cycle-colony-badminton) to bring it all back. Is diary writing only a means to preserve memory? Isn’t it also an exploration of memory, a journey that begins with everyday happenings and leads to distant lands, both in the past and towards possible futures?
Anne-Frank addressed each entry to Kitty. Do we all need someone “out there” to write to, or can we write to a vacuum?