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My motorcycle had served me faithfully for ten years. I thought of retiring it and buying a new workhorse.
During the weekend, I visited the nearest motorcycle showroom to inquire about a new bike. They had a kind of exchange offer: they were willing to buy my old bike, and I would have to pay that much amount less when buying the new bike from them.
An employee came along and inspected my bike; after a thorough scrutiny he made his offer. The price he offered was far less than what I had expected. But, I did not have the inclination to find a customer on my own and, so, agreed to the price.
The next step was to choose a new motorcycle. After spending quite some time gazing at the sleek motorcycles on display I zeroed down upon one. The showroom employee recognized the signs and began to extol its virtues.
"A wise decision. You must test ride it to see how smooth it flies," he told me after concluding his sales talk.
I always feel uncomfortable when I have to drive a new vehicle for the first time; it is alright when I get used to the vehicle over a few days, but when it comes to driving it for the first time, I prefer to do it away from curious onlookers. I mean when I am driving a vehicle to which I am not accustomed, it takes me some time to get used to the controls; I accelerate suddenly, I brake abruptly, I fumble with the controls - in short, I do all kinds of things which makes the vehicle kind of nervous. It starts behaving like a wild horse and tries to throw me off its back. There is no point in providing this sort of free entertainment to onlookers! So, when I am riding a vehicle for the first time, I like to do it away from prying eyes.
"No," I told the salesman, "I don't wish to test ride the vehicle".
"You must," he insisted.
The salesman was one of those persons who did not like to take "no" for an answer.
"Don't worry, I will ride pillion. There is no need to feel scared," he said.
I succumbed. "Alright," I said. He took the pillion seat even before I could take the driver's seat. The ignition key was duly inserted and the starter button pressed. The motorcycle lunged forward as if in a haste to be away. The salesman clung on to me for dear life. I couldn't see his face but I am sure it must have turned very pale.
Somehow I managed to get things right, and the motorcycle really flew. The test ride track was a rectangular track around the rectangular showroom. I suppose if the track had been circular, the turns would have been easier. But on a rectangular track, the motorcycle (or, rather, me) wasn't quite certain whether it had to continue going straight or turn. That, again, caused some anxious moments to my pillion rider. Finally, I came to the end of my test drive and braked. What a brake! The motorcycle came to a complete stand-still at the exact spot where I applied the brakes - not an inch here and not an inch there! I think it had something to do with the Law of Inertia; my pillion rider almost flew over me. I had to bring him down to earth.
"A good vehicle," I said.
My pillion rider was shaken. "You need to get used to it," he said and wiped his brow.
Well, I don't know whether the salesman ever insisted on customers taking a test ride after that incident! And, if he did he must have become wise not to ride pillion.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu