Sunday, March 11, 2007


One of the truest joys I experience is when I am in an automotive and the automotive moves by itself! The onset of such an experience is during the era of me driving bicycles. I used to carefully select routes which involved maximum number of decent descents such that I did not have to pedal and the cycle used to move by itself, and I always felt wheels is such a wonderful invention. I mean the very thought of moving from point A to point B without doing anything, and at the cost of nothing is - for me - simply magnificent!

I experience similar joyousness even in train journeys for I always feel the movement of the bogeys is all by itself although it is in fact pulled by the engine! Come to think of it, even in a train, after the initial pull, and when one can hear the ceasing of the acceleration, the train moves by itself in momentum and it is this automatic momentum that sort of gives me a unique joy!

People akin to my driving would have noticed how haltingly I accelerate and thereby enjoy the consequent automated momentum of the vehicle moving by itself! There is a stretch in Banashankari which we encounter en route to Padmanabhanagar from Jayanagar which I used to ride in my Kinetic with the ignition off for almost a mile! And every time I do that, I am in awe of this simple beauty!

The US car that I had was of automatic transmission. Such cars have built-in acceleration and left to itself will move at about 10 mph. If the road is empty and there are no cars behind me, and in places like the parking lot, I never used to accelerate and would allow the car to go on its own accord! I remember the time in office parking lot (which was sloped) where I used to wait to pick up people. Due to the upward slope, the built in acceleration was sufficient for the car to move constantly at about 1-2 mph till it reached the top of the slope which was the door to the office! Since I was in effect waiting, it was a nice pastime to see the car move by itself by no manual force!

But going back to the roots, so many other inventions followed the invention of wheels like bicycles, engines, motorbikes, cars, trucks, railways, aero planes, etc. It has generated so much of employment in areas like creating asphalt roads for hundreds of thousands of miles, shops at bus terminals and Road-side plazas and Railway stations and Airports. In aviation alone, it has bred pilots, Air Force personnel, Air Traffic Controllers, flight engineers, Air hostesses, etc. It has eased life in so many ways such as ease of commute, moving of parcels and packages, making travel easier and bringing remote areas of the beautiful world to man’s easy grasp. It has created enjoyment and encouraged competition in terms of Grand Prix Formula One racing events, and not to mention the layman’s version of go-karting and dashing-cars which is a popular sport in amusement parks. The list is endless.

Just felt like giving three cheers to man’s one of the most wonderful inventions: Wheels!

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