Duchaki. It’s the only way to be.
Duchaki, in Marathi, means two-wheeler.
And although it’s beastly hot right now, and although you run the risk of being skewered and grilled if you take the bike out in the day – even so, I’ll maintain, and a Punekar will agree – there’s nothing like zipping around on a bike.
In a car, you see, you’re big. Not big as in large, but big as in grown-up. You’ve arrived, you’re mature, and you can’t slip in through wee little places on the left side of the road and arrive at the front at a signal. You can’t overtake from the left with the kind of ease that is possible on a two-wheeler, and you can’t speed away in gay abandon. People try, but it’s more fun on a bike. Trust me.
Every Punekar has grown up and learnt a bike, a scooter – something or the other. A two-wheeler must be parked downstairs. Only then is it a Punekar’s home.
Lovingly washed and carefully tended to for the first couple of months, the bike becomes a trusted, if slightly battered, companion. You take it up to the top of Sinhagad, you bike it to Lonavala in the rains, you take her out for a spin at night.
Rides with that special someone, quarrels with the mechanic at the local garage (because authorised showrooms are good for only the free servicings), punctures at the most frustrating of times – you spend many a day with the bike.
And even if you do grow up, and buy the house, and marry and all of that – even then, you hae a bike waiting downstairs. Because a Punekar feels incomplete without one.
Ask me, I should know. I have two.