‘It taught me to manage money and mileage’

Author Preeti Shenoy on life as a student in Kochi, astride a TVS Eko

My father had promised that if I did my board exams well, he would buy me a TVS Eko. I was generally a good student and had studied hard, so I ended up among the top 2 %. When the results came, he had to keep his promise. He also taught me how to ride it, which was quite easy since I already knew how to ride a cycle.

And so I came to own an electric-blue TVS Eko in 1990. I was in love with it. That was when I got my two-wheeler driving licence as well. At that time, I was studying at St Teresa’s College in Kochi. I rode the moped to college every day. Since I was the secretary of the commerce association, when I had to invite people to college, I would go off on it, with my college mates riding pillion. In those days, it wasn’t common for a woman to ride a two-wheeler, so I was even covered by the local TV channel.

‘It taught me to manage money and mileage’

One of my favourite hangouts in Kochi is Marine Drive. I have used the setting in many of my books. It is one of the most visited spots in the city. Kochi hasn’t really changed over the years, other than the fact that there are new buildings.

I recently conducted a writing workshop at my old college, and I realised that it hasn’t changed at all, right down to my old classroom and the bench that I used to sit on. Even the street where it is located, which was full of large, shady, trees, remains the same. It is nice to see this because it almost feels like it is untouched by time.

One of my favourite memories on the bike, was with my dog. I had seen movies where actors took their dogs with them on their vehicles, with the dog sitting in front. I tried my best to make my dog sit on mine, but she never sat for more than two minutes. She would jump down almost immediately. I also remember riding on the bike with my close friends; we would sometimes go to a coffee shop or to the movies.

‘It taught me to manage money and mileage’

My dad used to give me a certain sum of money each month for fuel, and what I saved I could spend as I pleased. It was a good thing; it taught me how to manage money and mileage! Another time, I remember getting stuck in the rain. My bike didn’t start; perhaps the water had seeped inside. I had to push it for over 6 km, all the way home. It was heavy, and I was drenched, but I had no choice. There was once a two-wheeler fancy dress competition in college. My friend and I dressed as a couple, a sardar-sardarni. I rode the bike dressed as the sardarni, while my friend, dressed as the sardar, sat behind me. We won the first prize.

As told to Harshini Vakkalanka

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 12:27:45 PM |

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