He was my first employer in Chennai, just after Krishnan and I got married. His brother was Krishnan’s batch mate during the MILT Leadership course. We have attended his wedding too…. Yes, Saify is a very dear friend. Only yesterday we discovered his passion for cycling.
Saify and we lost contact when we moved out of Chennai in 1996. A year back I found him on LinkedIn and we exchanged numbers and our friendship just got back on track. It just felt like a short interlude while 18 years had gone by, but good friendships are like that. You just fill in the gaps and then there is continuity. As part of getting back in touch and filling each other in on the intervening years we mentioned our love for cycling and how we are a part of the PedalYatri group in Gurgaon. Saify immediately said, we should ride with him sometime. Yesterday we decided to meet opposite Tidel Park before 6.30.
Krishnan and I got ready and left by 5.30 and as we went a little ahead of Tidel Park closer to Madhya Kailash, we saw Saify happily riding down on the other side towards our touch point. Tried calling out to him, but he couldn’t hear us, so we just got into the service lane and rode back towards the touch point. When we met Saify, he wasn’t wearing his helmet and we got into a discussion about helmets and why they are critical. The Chennai cycling group that Saify rides with also insists on wearing the helmet. Saify just loves to cycle and he rides a non-geared cool bike that he has custom fitted with a motorcycle’s handle so that it was tall enough for him. And he was clocking a cool 23 to 24 kmph speed :).
We came home and Amma had made nice idlis and ofcourse her trademark chutney. Then we chatted for a couple of hours and that’s when Saify told me that he had once come cycling to the computer centre in Anna Nagar, all the way from Santhome. I didn’t remember that and this is probably in 1994, so obviously no fancy cycles and no fancy gear. I tried convincing Saify to leave his cycle at our place yesterday and that we will bring it in the car and drop it off at his place as it was hot and humid at 11 am. I had no luck… He rode the cycle back to Santhome and the only thing he agreed to do was to wear Krishnan’s helmet. He is a true blue PedalYatri because I would not have ridden in that weather.
My problem is, I am surrounded by friends like Rajesh whose thermostat is non-functional and he rides in cycling shorts and half sleeve t.shirts during the peak of winters and I am married to a man whose thermostat is also non-functional. At 12 noon, it’s not very hot in Chennai for Krishnan :(:( and in Delhi, he has to be coaxed to wear a sweater in winters. I just pedal at “existential” speed when the Sun is up … I would give up, but I don’t and I am a grouch if it’s hot and humid. Now Saify is another one added to the list of people with non-functional thermostats :):):).
Anyway, Saify is the original PedalYatri because he genuinely prefers to cycle everywhere, it’s not for exercise or for racing, it’s just pure fun for him. He rode back nearly 15 kms yesterday in the hot Sun. Hopefully we will do a few more rides with him while we are still in Chennai but early in the morning, so that I can smile and enjoy the ride.
Here’s a pic from yesterday’s ride.