Cycling to work

It’s been almost a month-full of commuting on bicycle to office and therefore I think I have gained eligibility to comment on the experience. Since the distance is considerable (~21 Kms one-way), and landscape rollercoaster-ish, an amateur cyclist like me has to limit the frequency to twice (or at most thrice) a week.

Nevertheless, the experience has been exhilarating! And over-time, like many cyclists would, I have got used-to the glances of sympathy, ridicule, amusement, encouragement, surprise, and most of all the look of a-question-coming-up, from people of various shapes, sizes and ages.

Pune, the place where I live, was known to be a cycle-friendly city. Was. Things are different now, with cyclists having to jostle their way just like everybody else. It’s a bit more challenging for cyclists given the fact that unless they’re the really loud kinds, it’s easy to ignore their presence, and forget their relevance.

Following is a crude list of my observations so far. Based on which Indian city you reside in, your mileage may vary.

  • It’s not as scary as it might appear till you finally decide and hit the road!
  • People are generally considerate, given that you’re disciplined. Owning a cycle does not mean you can flout the traffic rules.
  • Be wary of taxis (yellow number plates in general), they’re the scariest lot with no regard for all other vehicles. Unfortunately, cycles form a part of all other.
  • Kids will love you
  • In general, expect to get a few ‘thumbs-ups’ per month (predominantly from Bullet-riders — not sure why)
  • As mentioned before, be prepared to answer FAQs like: “how much is it (the bike) for”, “do you ride every day”, or for the price of a specific accessory like, “did you get the headlight along with the bike”, and suchlike

As for me, I feel more upbeat in spite of sweat and stress once I reach the office. I realized that even though I may be physically stressed, but I am more mentally active. The converse is true when I drive to work. Physical stress is much easier to deal with. And with the released endorphins, it peps you up!

Mind dump

So yes, I have been away, for quite a while. Aaand, of course, a lot happened over these years, a LOT. But, as they say, cannot complain. I shouldn’t complain.

One of the good things that has happened to me in my current organization is that we have been made to undergo a ‘leadership programme’. Wait, it’s not as boring as it sounds. In fact, to my utter surprise, I have not found it boring at ALL. I used to believe I do not belong to such programmes. That such things are applicable for people who want to become successful managers. To my delight, I was wrong.

So the point of sharing the meta-information about the programme that we’ve been made to realize that one of the tenets of ‘transformation’ (from the downtrodden ordinary people, to leaders) is that we have to be fully responsible for our actions. “We have to ‘own’ our actions.” I never paid that much heed to this statement, until I consciously realized what it conveys. It conveys a lot more than what meets the eye — that it’s easy be the effect and not the cause of a situation. In simpler English — it’s easy to hold the situation or others responsible for our actions. The truth, however much we want to deny, is that it is we who chose to behave a certain way, and hence the responsibility is entirely ours!

A lot of times — in the mindless rat-race of proving ourselves to be perfect — an ideal employee, an ideal husband, a perfect parent, a caring son, a should-be-looked-up-to human — we tend to try to cover-up the actions we are not so proud of. While this might work in the near future, it has adverse repercussions in the long run, the most adverse being the effect on oneself. Slowly but gradually it erodes our soul.

Acceptance is liberating.

Accepting that we have been the cause of our actions — of not being the ideal in certain aspects or situations consciously brings us at peace with ourselves. The erosion stops, and so does the avoidance of facing the ground-reality. We need to realise that being at peace with ourselves is indispensable to trying to attain peace with the rest of the world.

Being at peace with ourselves lets us be aware of similar situations in future and behave in a better manner — which might still not be ideal — but still have better consequences than before. This is the key to a long-term sub-conscious aspiration of attaining the ideal behaviour.