Human beings are never satisfied. It just isn’t built into our wiring. Forgive me for just having discovered this. You see, I firmly believe I have the best job in the world. My boss likes to leave me to my devices. And by that I mean motorcycles. I am free to do what I like, and I usually do. So far I seem to have behaved myself well enough for this to be acceptable to all parties involved.
Journalism isn’t the most lucrative of professions but in time, I make enough money to buy a motorcycle or two, feed myself and most importantly, afford and buy enough motorcycle gear to keep myself safe. So I cannot complain right?
If the wife was around, she would have burst out laughing at this point. And she would be right.
The other day, over a round of drinks, a friend asked me the simplest question of all, “If you were to lose your job right now, what would you do?” I am still surprised by my first reaction. “Why, I’d take Ferocitas [my KTM 390 Duke] and disappear for a month.” And after that? “I figure I’ll have two months of frugal living within which to find a new job.”
Think about that. Does it not sound exactly like what any motorcycle-loving software professional would say? I am surprised that despite all the innumerable motorcycles I ride constantly, that’s my first plan of action. And it is entirely without a destination. I would love to ride my own bike to Ladakh once but outside of that, anything goes.
It would be sort of like Sarath Shenoy’s ride but with quite a few more haircuts and shaves. Of course, Shenoy’s crop goes to Hair for Hope, which makes wigs for cancer patients.
When I thought about it, the desire seems to stem from the combination of the two things a motorcycle journalist does not get. First is the opportunity to ride their own machines as much we would like to. This is obviously because there are so many machines to be tasted and tested that your own motorcycle can sometimes be left waiting.
Second is the option of not having to film or write a story. Or to generate photos and videos that will be go into the social coverage that must inevitably accompany the story. Even as I write that, a huge pressure seems to lift off my shoulders.
And this is despite the fact that I like writing. It’s as much a part of me as is riding motorcycles today. When the Tuono rocked my world, I wrote my feelings down before I called the bank. Writing the Life Lessons column was essential to my process of dealing with Arti’s passing. And yet, here I am wishing to ride for a month without having to write about it.
Is there a point to this? Perhaps not. I guess one should not underestimate our innate ability to crave what we do not have. That it is easy to be seduced by the dulcet tones of a settled, rhythmic life. But eventually we want upheaval. We want change. It makes us human. And by that I mean essentially evolving rather than fallible, fickle or fragile.
When was the last time you sat down to think about what is the ambition or desire that you have not paid attention to. Ask a question that shatters the limits posed by the bounds of your current life and see what pops up. You might surprise yourself with both the question and the answer you come up with. And then what happens? Well that is up to you. I would love to take a sabbatical and disappear for the ride but if Ladakh is on the agenda then it must be mid-2017 at the earliest which is convenient.
But I am convinced that these dreams that lie silently waiting to be discovered are worth pursuing. At the expense of a settled life. At the risk of losing the essential stability of a routine. Perhaps this is made more important by my recent Motorcycle Travellers’ Meet experience where I met incredible people who did just that. The point I’m making is just that we get lulled into settling down. Scooch back into the cushions until the world fits just so. And it is a good feeling. But there is more life than satisfaction. Pursue that dream, chase that vision and ride that dream ride.
It makes us human. It makes us happy.
Because measuring life in years is foolish. It isn’t how long you lived, it’s how you lived this long that ultimately counts, no?
To read more of Shumi’s opinions, click here