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  • Jaspal Kahlon

Nostalgic on a ride


I was lost in my thoughts – recalling, recollecting, analysing and talking to myself about those years when I was just 17 years old.

I recalled the stretch on the circuit where I was overtaken during a competition ride. I recalled how a fellow rider was upset when I rode faster than him. I felt that I could not afford a decent bike those years.

I critiqued about my inability to excel and do better in cycling. I wished if my coach, Mr Pyara Singh knew that I had performance anxiety. If I can realize this today as a 40 year old, why did he failed to know himself as a 40-year old in those years? This and many more questions kept popping out every now and then.

At times I took pride that I am special and may be the only one amongst my fellow riders to be still riding. At other times, I felt sad that actually I had lived 23 years with memories of those years fading fast. I was feeling sad that I had grown old. I regretted to not know then that every moment in life mattered. Had I known, I would have done a still better job in ‘living’.

By the time I finished 30 km ride for the day, I had relived those years of my life in a single ride. Those years when my cousin had to be coaxed to be ready for the training regime in morning. My dependence, selfless, innocent approach towards my room mates.

I reheard sounds of ‘Palli’ as I was called by all in Chandigarh then. I recalled my weeping while parting my father to stay in hostel for my education. It was a transition so difficult that my father did not hesitate to get my hair cut as a Sikh. I was literally ordered to use drycleaning services if I could not wash my clothes.

I took a deep breath while recalling the weeping on a landline phone while talking to parents. There use to be a long que after 10 pm at all the calling booths when the calling rates were one-fourth the daytime calling charges. It was a luxury to own a landline phone connection in those years in India.

I have moved on and survived by a loving spouse and two angels as daughters. I am back in Chandigarh with a purpose may be. I am here to relive and realize. I am back may be to help my fellow riders to relate and cherish the great time we had together.

Yes, I am nostalgic and continue to be so..

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