Beginning in 1500 BC, Alwar’s history has been woven into a colorful Rajasthani tapestry. It glitters as the princely state of Rajput, adorned with Delhi Sultans and garnished the Rulers of Jaipur. Throughout its history, Alwar has always sparkled like a deep blue sapphire in the red Rajasthan desert and today, the city of is full of hustle and bustle and features some fascinating destination locations. But for me it’s a portal back in time and therefore, a perfect place for riding and wandering.
First published in,
There is nowhere to hide on the open road. It’s just you, your bike and all your dirty little secrets. Long rides leave you completely exposed. They strip away all the superficial nonsense, all your polite societal veneer. If you ride long enough, every last one of your character flaws will get poured onto the pavement for inspection. Eventually, you will have to examine who you really are, like it or not. If you’re riding in a group, they’ll get to see who you really are too. Truthfully, it’s as simple as that. That does sound a little harsh, perhaps you don’t believe it? Do you find my ideas a bit too bombastic for biker talk, or are you chuckling at the ramblings of some antiquated folklore or worn out biker code? Then maybe, just maybe you’re not a biker after all…because the truth is, there ain’t no code, only open road.
Originally published in Collective Voice Magazine
As the launch date for The Collective Voice Lifestyle Magazine drew closer, the jabber and din within the writers’ camp grew to a defining roar. The excited discussions about inaugural posts and first articles were fervent. So many angles, so many viewpoints, and here I was, dear readers, your hero, with NO clear direction to in which to head. Everyone else was piously pitching ideas, bandying concepts; encouragement and suggestions abound. Such a diverse collective we are, the writers at The Collective Voice are from all around the world…all of us unique individuals…miles apart, yet drawn together…and thinking about that, the wheels began to turn.
“We will have to amputate above the knee I’m afraid; now go lay down on that table over there like a brave solider.” The young doctor was sitting beside me and delivered the news with a mixture of pity and bemusement. The sheer joy of it was painted all over his sadistic face. The older doctor behind the desk glanced up from my shattered ankle x-ray. His glasses were perched on the end of his nose and he gave a nod as he fixed me with an icy stare over the top of them. What the young doc had actually said was, ‘No riding for at least two more weeks; and if you have to go to Chail, ride pillion. Let’s not take any chances with you!’ But to me it sounded like, ‘Hack off all his limbs and feed them to the flying monkeys, no anaesthetic needed. Nurse Ratched, make haste!’. Due to this injury I had already missed a ride with my motorcycle club into the Himalayas the week before. This was agonizing news, as today, the cast had come off my leg and I was hoping to join friends on a ride to Chail this weekend. Yet, after a thorough examination with hot pokers and long sharp scraping clampy things which had been administered lovingly by the younger doctor, a negative ride request reply had been given. To be honest, I couldn’t be sure it was the young doctor doing the prodding; the examiner was clad entirely in black leather with a cape and hood. But I am certain I recognized the cologne.
Featured Article in Blogadda March 25th’s
Can you imagine? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. What would they drink for pity sake? The Englishmen would undoubtedly opt for a scotch, Chivas Regal if you please, as the Canadian scoffs and orders a Canadian Club rye whiskey and the Indian will nurse his Royal Stag. What happens when the cheque arrives? The Englishmen will feign a move to pick it up, thus causing the Canadian to grab for it first. The Indian sits with a fabricated blank look on his face, pretending he has no idea what is happening. This, in a nutshell, is my life! These are the conflicts that dwell within me . The endless struggles that tear me in three very distinct directions on a daily basis. With almost every decision, I am forced to choose between my blood, my heritage and my adopted culture. What have I done? What have I become? Good God man, I’m Canbritdian!!
“ Do you ever get trapped inside your car at Walmart because there is a tiger wandering around the parking lot?” I asked.
“Really?” she replied.
“Yea, yea! Or do you ever walk out of your back yard and step in one of those rope traps that spring and grab you by your foot and hang you upside down in a tree?” I pressed. I had never been to India, I needed the info.
“You’re an idiot.” she laughed. “You are aware that tigers don’t roam around freely in cities, right? And these traps you’re talking about, I think they were in African jungles in the 1400’s or something and there are no Walmarts here.” She concluded.
“What?!?!” I was aghast, “No Walmart!!” India sounded like a strange and exotic destination for sure…no Walmart…imagine!
“Sometimes, do you have to pull over on the side of the road because of stampeding elephants?” I wanted all the basic information before I travelled to this alluring jewel of a country.
“Elephants are a nuisance actually” my then girlfriend Mrs. R. said quite casually.
“What?” I sputtered, all joking aside now, she seriously had my attention.“What do you mean a nuisance?”
“They knock over fences, trample your garden, in the city they hold up traffic…like that” Oh, there was so much I had to learn about India and I couldn’t wait to get there. This was going to be the trip of a life time. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any elephants on that trip. Lots of monkeys and a camel or two, but no Elephas Maximus Indicus. Nor on the next trip. It wasn’t until I moved to India permanently, I experienced the joy of seeing wild elephants and suffered the anguish of being in an elephant caused traffic jam.
I am Canadian! I am proud, I bleed maple syrup, love hockey and three down football; I ski and skate, I apologize too much, my favorite pass time is teasing Americans; back bacon, poutine and Nanaimo bars are the greatest foods on earth…believe it. Minus ten is not cold and there is nothing wrong with a beer with your breakfast if you are at the cottage or camping. I am also a Brit. A pompous, stuck up, tight assed, stiff upper lipped British subject; and bloody fiercely proud of that too! Go on, insult the Monarchy…you’ll see. I’ll gut you gullet to gizzard. But it’s not over yet, recently I received my OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) in my adopted nation and new home. Now I’m Indian too. Well, time to celebrate I would say! By way of indoctrinating myself into the culture, I have compiled this tidy collection of mild Indian irritants. Just for a laugh of course. Easily offended Indians may now exit to the left in an orderly manner (good luck with that) and as for the rest of my new compatriots, I dare you to call foul! Ah India, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, One…
Outrageous, you say? Then explain why the beggars flock to me, a white man, while there are ample indigenous Indian people between us? They will literally trample a half dozen of their own kind to get to me. Is it because I must be a tourist and therefore have lots of money in my pocket? Is it because they know Indian people are “frugal” and less apt to loosen the purse strings? They are aware that begging has been outlawed in Delhi and Mumbai, but they think I don’t know that? No, the truth is, a large percentage of the begging in India is either a scam, or the beggar themselves are under the rule of the begging mafia, and it’s assumed I just won’t know that, being a white guy.