"Don't think my bike is going to start. Why don't you go ahead, I'll try and get the bike to start and follow", he said, with the heavy rain pouring over him. It was 10 in the evening and he was getting back home from a cafe. It was just his usual routine. He would finish work; ride his bike to the cafe two roads away from his house. Sit there alone or with a bunch of friends and discuss the day's happenings with them. He loved doing that. He loved the quality time he got with his friends.
The rain was being ruthless that evening. The roads were deserted and the occasional bike or car that passed him, were moving pretty fast, splashing the rain water that was now mixed with the drain that was overflowing onto the road. He loved the rains. But that was when he is sitting dry in his house or even in a cafe with his hot cup of latte next to him, a good supply of smokes and a tissue paper. He could sit there and look at the rain for hours on end. He could even get lost when in those moods. Time can go to hell, he would say smiling. It was just way too beautiful to leave and go.
As the rain got him drenched from head to toe, he was stranded on the side of the road near the footpath. The rain was getting heavier now and his bike wouldn't start. He spoke to the bike often. He liked it. He knew she liked it too. "Maya", he would call out, if she didn't start with the first few kicks. She would immediately listen to him and start. They play that game every now and then. If he forgets to give her a wash during the weekend, well Monday morning would be fun. She will have a face that only he can understand. They were made for each other. He would say, "Oh, come on. It was Sunday. It's god's day. I just wanted to chill and not do anything". She would then give him a hope that she was about to start and then stop. I think it's that time of the month for me. He never got upset with her antics. It was just way too playful when both of them were at it.
"Maya, come on. If you need a wash, this is surely not how you get it. Its sewage water for crying out loud. I swear, get me home and morrow morning you're surely going to get what you want. But rite now..." That's all it took. She was up and ready to go, for as long as you wanted her to. They reached home, but not before a handful of call taxi's sprayed them with water all over.
The chemistry that the two shared was something that words won't do any justice. He came to the city four years back, with a master’s degree and nothing else. He never had a bank account. He didn't have a place to stay of his own. But he came in to the city a day before his 21st birthday. His phone ran out of currency twenty minutes before midnight and he was stranded in his cousins house because it was pouring heavily on a bloody April evening and the few friends that he had in that city didn't really want to get wet that evening and so they decided to cancel the plan. "Well, 21 is not a bad number", he thought to himself when he was walking down the steps that lead to the drawing room on the first floor when he came down from the terrace of his cousin's house. He was 21, just out of college in the big bad world. He had been doing small jobs here and there, radio shows and freelance work to make enough money to get himself some beer and pay for the exam fees and not to forget his short films and music videos that was so close to his heart. He had also served coffee in a cafe while he was still in college. Life was completely insane at that point of time. Now he has to do something and he has to do something to make the world stand up and take notice.
"Type my name on Google and you would get a million hits. Pictures of mine, interviews of mine, news and information about me", he would tell his friends during one of their many (infact during every) coffee meetings. A small tea cup in hand and a lit smoke, he would gaze into nothingness and tell his friends, that he is set to make it big and he would surely.
He was kneeling down on the ground, wiping the drops of water off Maya. He took extra care every time he came close to the mirror. He saw his reflection on the rear view mirror and smiled, adjusted his hair and smiled again. Like he was posing for the cameras that were clicking. For the million people who were looking at him and waving, trying to grab his attention for one second. Flash.
"It's the 13th of the month and you still haven't paid the rent. When can you pay?", said a female voice in the background, making him snap out of the world that he was in and come back to earth. So here he was washing Maya at one moment and stuck with the house owner's wife the next. She was big, at least 100 kilos. She didn't care whether there was electricity in your house, or water. Give her the rent and she would smile. No smile otherwise. A phone call on his cell phone gave him a reason to leave that place, only after he made a sign that was more like; I shall pay the rent either today or by tomorrow. The lady gave him a stern look and walked inside slowly, because she couldn’t walk any faster.
All set for a new day, he sat on Maya and smiled. Ten meters down the road, pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. A loud hissing sound and the bike was sliding to the left and then to the right. Maya had a flat in the rear wheel.
Maya Memsaab always had the last word.