Friday, March 13, 2015

Royal Enfield carries a man to contentment, in "Rider"

In "Rider" a young motorcyclist seeks contentment on a Royal Enfield.
"Rider" is a short, well made new film documenting the joy a young rider experiences on his Royal Enfield motorcycle.

It's a distinctly Indian film, wafting the viewer along through heavenly scenery with a contemplative soundtrack, no engine noise and — no traffic!

Film maker Farhan Khan notes in his own description of the film that it shows the peace the rider attains on reaching his destination.

The message is that the Royal Enfield Bullet can carry its rider into a world that he seeks; in other words, an imaginary place of contentment.

I sympathize with the motivation but can hardly swallow the young rider's adoration for his motorcycle (he washes it before the journey) and seemingly aimless route.

Where's he going, after all?

To the lake, to watch the waves.

I'd give that five minutes. Anyone younger than me would give it one minute before pulling out their phone to browse Facebook.

Farhan wrote me that a 1980 Royal Enfield was used in making the film. It looks newer (although note the missing left rear tail light). Clearly, though, the Royal Enfield is meant to evoke a classic, serious attitude.

For a long time I explained my love of vintage motorcycles like the Royal Enfield to those who didn't ride this way:

"Young men just want to go fast. Old men (like me!) just want to be young."

What I meant was that an old motorcycle, once the apple of a young man's eye, could remind an old man of the past.

And the past was very much where I wanted to go when I bought my vintage (looking) 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet. It was my mid-life crisis. My own age had just swung around the half-century mark on the odometer.

If I wasn't going to get a motorcycle now, when would I ever have one? If the motorcycle didn't "take me back" to my youth, how would I ever get there?

So it had to be the kind of motorcycle that would remind me of the ones I'd wanted when I was young. That meant British, simple and probably a little leaky. The Royal Enfield Bullet of the time was perfect for the role. It's sudden appearance, in a newspaper article, was providential.

I had my dreams of where it would take me and the things we would see on the way.

Where the motorcycle and I actually went, though, was to work. I had a job that could be reached on the last worthwhile old country road in the area. For years, the best part of my job was the commute!

But the job went away and the country road developed into just another suburban street. I was possessed by a sense of loss that writing this blog about Royal Enfield motorcycles has salved, partly.

I still have my Bullet. We don't go anywhere special now. We just ride around to recharge its battery, and mine.

We're both looking for another old country road. I hope we find it this year.

Meanwhile, give "Rider" a view and ask yourself where you're going.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this memoir - reminds me of why I, too, ride a Bullet. ( had two of the Redditch singles in the 1960s)


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