Back in the days of yore… and I know all you youngsters will hardly believe this… Ganeshkhind Road used to be empty in the afternoons. Really, truly empty.
Empty enough for us schoolgoing kids to be trusted with our cycles.
And so everyday, at the stroke of three thirty, when the blessed bell would ring, we’d set off from the cycle stand gate in school. There would be three of us, sometimes four, riding in rough formation. Out of school, past the DSK circle, up to Deep Bangla Chowk. Depending on our moods and fancies, we’d either pedal up the steep slope next to the Polytechnic ground, or go via Ganeshkhind road. Up until University Circle, and then pedal furiously down the gentle slope of Ganeshkhind Road. Disperse at Bremen Chowk, until the morrow.
It was a carefree time. The roads, as I said, were empty (our only challenge was to leave before the TELCO buses started plying their routes), and traffic was very light. We could cycle, four in a line, chatting of this that and the other as we cycled our way home.
Talk would include yapping about how Sachin would soon become the best ever, about how that new guy, Akshay Kumar, was the coolest thing on screen (even better at fighting than Amitabh Bachchan!) and about how such-and-such teacher was a pain in the neck. And other sundry topics of pressing interest.
And best of all, we’d make one of three stops everyday. We’d either stop at Om Supermarket and have Thums Up, or we’d stop at Sunita Pineapple Juice, and have a glass of (surprise, surprise) pineapple juice, or we’d stop at a little shop just before University Circle and have a glass of sugarcane juice.
Sometimes, we’d be greedy pigs and do more than one stop.
What fun those times were!