The sun had just started peeping gently out above the hills and had started letting its golden rays light up everything around – the greenery, the tarred roads, the people who were walking and cycling their way to health, and everything else.
I looked at the Tissot. It showed an hour and five minutes since I had started off from my home cycling. I had somehow managed to keep up the consistency of this phenomenal exercise. I had completed sixteen kilometers and was exhausted. My legs had started the mild shivering routine, the muscles were hard and were flexing up to provide the necessary strength to move every inch forward uphill.
Secretly I was looking forward to the oncoming downhill in a few hundred meters. Whilst whizzing effortlessly downhill, the plan was to focus on the Oprah Winfrey podcast that had just reached a very interesting juncture whilst also giving my calf muscles the much-needed rest. Oprah was interviewing ‘now’ adult children of divorces and how they went through what they went through when they were smaller. The stories were so powerful and so moving that I was intent on listening to the entire episode despite the tiredness.
Anyways, unlike a lot of cyclists that break rules like jumping signals and the like, I am someone who rides my bicycle as if it had a number plate and I could get caught. After all, as they say, honesty is when no one’s seeing what you doing and you still do what’s right. So I keep to the extreme side of the road and ensure that I have obeyed all traffic signals and rules just like I would have ridden my bike or driven my car.
As Oprah was announcing the arrival of another guest on the show, I was pretty much to the side of the road when a BMTC bus overtook me from the right and inched closer to me; five inches closer and we would have been brushing shoulders. I stared up as all the passengers including myself wondered what the bus driver was up to.
Oprah’s voice was drowned as thoughts started racing through my mind. Five inches had now become four and it was a matter of time before the metal met skin. For a second, I even pictured the Lord of Death standing at the bus stop smiling at me; his eyes declaring it was time!
That’s it! Damn! Why did I not think of this earlier? It was a bus stop and the bus driver was slowing down to bring the beast to a halt. Lord Yama transformed himself into a big burly man with a mustache waiting for the bus to get to his office. It was no longer ‘time’ but it could be if I did not decide quickly!
I had two options. Race and overtake the bus from the left or brake; wait for the bus to fully overtake and then proceed. The first option seemed more sensible and I stamped the pedal. The momentum got from the pedal propelled the cycle to move forward with a sudden gust of energy. I imagined the passengers cheering silently as the wheels caught momentum. For a second, I felt like reaching the finish line at the Tour De France with cheering onlookers on either side!
The wicked bus driver did not stop reducing the inches between David and Goliath. I overtook in just the nick of time when the distance would have been a little over an inch. As I slid over to a safe distance, I turned back as I saw the passengers including Lord Yama board the bus.
The road took a bend and the path began a mild descent; much needed for my exhausted and tired self. I was now on a gentle free fall as the path reduced friction between the tires and the road and that’s when I paused to think. Oprah tried to speak but then I needed my silence. I paused her as well.
Just minutes earlier, I was a tired and exhausted soul. I was tired to the extent that the muscles were not agreeing to pedal just a little bit more. I was at a constant lag. A sudden change of events, thanks to the bus, brought in a fresh burst of energy and my feet met the pedal with a renewed sense of energy.
Where did this energy come from? Was it from the fear of the unknown; not knowing what the wicked bus driver was up to? Or was it from an ego that did not want to brake and overtake after the bus overtook? Whatever the reason, it is certain that this renewed sense of energy originated from the mind!
Would it be safe to say that tiredness is a state of the mind? That you can be only that tired as much as your mind wants you to be tired?
Needless to say, as I brought Oprah back to life, I heard her say, ‘The mind is a very powerful tool! You would be surprised what it is capable of doing!’