I don't have words to describe the state of mind I am in since yesterday. What caused it? The new entrant at my house, my two-wheeler. No, it is not the regular 'bike' but the original one - the bicycle. Yes, at a time when everyone is vying to buy the four-wheel-laden symbol of status, we have bought a cycle. Why, you would ask.
First, we were immensely inspired by the way cycling is looked at in Japan. Some people we knew owned the most envied cars but preferred to cycle to closer destinations, ten kilometers being normal. You could see as many cycles on the roads as there were cars, may be more. We felt it was more than the fitness-conscious mind dictating the norm; it was a responsible conscience too. Owning and riding a cycle in Japan is as normal as owning a mobile in India - everyone has one, from the CEOs to the sabjiwalas.
Second, our stay in Japan suddenly made us look at the cyclists back home with a renewed eye. There are a few cycling enthusiasts at A's workplace in India, one of whom is responsible for helping us choose our cycle. [Thanks, Prashant!] We realized that there is a group of people, though a handful, who are riding cycles not just for passionate reasons but for environmental as well. We realized that people think about not only car-pooling as a way to avoid traffic jams, control pollution and save fuel, but also cycling.
Third, lately, we (A, M, and I) have been thinking of contributing to the efforts of people trying to make the world a better place. Helping by cycling may sound like a far-fetched idea but it does help in some minute way. There is a muhavra in Hindi: बूँद बूँद से ही सागर बनता है (every drop counts in making the ocean). So, every time I close the tap tightly to ensure no drop of water is wasted, I feel good. There are a million such small things I can do to contribute to keeping optimism alive.
Fourth, we have two strong selfish reasons: keeping fit and getting high. Taking the two wheels in the stride does give a kick, somewhat inexplicable.
I am yet to explore the fun the 18 gears of the bike offers. I am looking forward to getting high everyday.