The Man Who Sold His Second Hand Bicycle

The Man Who sold his Second-hand Bicycle.

I am not a Sachin Tendulkar or any such super hero to own a Ferari. Nor am I a super author like Robin Sharma, who wrote ‘The Monk who Sold his Ferari. Oh, I am neither a monk who could advise you on how to live life the best way.

These are some thoughts, taking my mind on a rewind to over four decades. I was working in my native place in a Government office,the All India Radio. When my friends in Calicut,where i had got back, after getting a transfer from Bombay AIR, learnt that I am to work in AIR, they started loving me more, because many were interested those days in seeing the studios,how do they operate etc. And more particularly, in getting a free pass for the frequent invited audience programs organized by AIR (music concert,drama etc ) .

When I came to Calicut AIR first to join duty, I could not imagine that all the male staff members would be in their cleanest white dhoties, I was the only man in pant and what an embarrassment it was. As if to heighten this embarrassment, the staff members began chatting in chaste Malayalam. ‘Entha saami, cheran vannathano? (have you come to join – ‘saami’ being a typical slang used to mean Tamil Brahmin). If I reply in Malayalam, I will feel a sudden downgrading, if I talk in English, they would perhaps think, this man is a Bombaywalla . In a few days everything got adjusted. Of course, I had to revive my Malayalam, so that I could also talk about the hot topics, political mostly which everyone talks. It was so in AIR too, since I saw right from peons discussing mainly politics. Of course, the whole Kerala is known for this.

After a few days, I learnt that my friends and colleagues, a majority of them owned bicycles and used to land stylishly in the lawn of the AIR station (which was facing the beach), whereas I used to get down from a bus, the frequency of which was a problem for reaching office in time. Everyone, including the staff artistes, who had broken schedules and who could go- home-come-back-to-office for which the cycle was the best medium of transport, advised me to go for one.

While I seriously thought of having one, the income did not allow me to eye for a new one. There were others in the office waiting for disposing off their old ‘two-wheelers’ (the real two-wheelers, scooter etc, were not prevalent those days) and perhaps thought they could find a ready buyer in me. In the mean time, my elder brother staying with me suddenly decided to go for a new bicycle and there it was, the black beauty, standing (or parked, shall I say) in front of the house when I returned home from office one evening. Naturally, I cannot borrow this from for going to office, since he would also be using this regularly for going to office only. I was suddenly under compulsion,as if to compete with him, to go for the second-hand one, which only I could afford at that time.

Of course, a few rupees I had to spend on a new seat, a new bell and black painting of the bars etc. It was almost comparable to the new one owned by my brother. Next day onwards, I also started for office when my brother started and started merrily riding parallel to him, and so near to him singing in my mind ‘vaadikkai maranthathum eno….
the by then famous light music sung together by Saroja Devi and Gemini Ganesan who ride together with joyful singing in the movie Kalyana Parisu (Tamil) in bicycles.

Days moved, may be a year just passed away, but for that whole duration I was in the joyful mode riding on my Ferari. I know people would laugh at me.

Then suddenly, I got a transfer back yo AIR Bombay and it was time to say good bye to my Ferari. Well, as luck would have it, someone was willing to buy this for exactly the same amount I paid when I bought it, Rs,85/-. This then, is the story I wanted to narrate.

Though I had not read the book The Monk who Sold his Ferari at that time, I had lived my days on the simple lessons of life contained therein and derived as much pleasure too, and reading the book later in my life further enlightened me how not to go after material pleasure only.


About cvsubramaniam

Former Director, Department of Electronics & Informatiin Technology, Government of India.. Authored Book on Human Resource Management. Published 80 plus articles on HR, Management, S&T, general topics.
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