Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Old tyre 'driving'


This was a very popular pastime esp. of the boys.  We just ran all over the street pushing the tire [also spelled tyre] with the palm but a small wooden stick was preferred.  A guava tree branch [strong] was just right.  Just for kicks, we used to roll it on crooked kerb stones as long as we could. We made it jump across them and made it roll down the steps.  When we wanted to go to a friends's house close by, or on some small shopping errand in the nearby shops we ran fast driving the tire.  It was a thrill to run after, control and keep pace with the tire esp. down a gradient.  Only sometimes we raced against each other on the street because traffic was never an issue in the 60s and 70s.  But it never stopped my possessive grandmother to warn 'beware of vehicles' [ಕಾರು ಸ್ಕೂಟರ್ರು ಬಂದ್ಬಿಡುತ್ತೆ ಜೋಪಾನ]. 

When there was no game being played with the street children, we took the tire along.  We often gasped after a long run, but we were never tired with the tire!  We were mostly on the streets, outside our 'study and school time'.  We were all barefoot in those times.  The only footwear we had was a pair of school shoes and a pair of rubber sandals.  The flip-flop sandals were worn only on summer afternoons or only when it was needed.  They hampered our free running and so there was no comfort like barefoot.  It was pure fun. 

My tire was from one of our three bicycles at home. My father's favourite was "Dunlop Roadster" manufactured for Cycle Rickshaws which had heavy duty rubber.  They were durable to us.  By the time they were replaced, it had become thin and weak, exposing the fabric like those of a frail old man who was proud of his strength in his prime but now exposing the bones.  Some tires were so weak that they wobbled like a cat-walking slim young lady walking the ramp when they were 'driven'!!  It reminds me of the start of a popular Kannada movie song "ಬಿಂಕದ ಸಿಂಗಾರಿ, ಮೈ ಡೊಂಕಿನ ವಯ್ಯಾರಿ".  "Driving" this weak tire was a funny feeling and attracted some teasing but quite a sight to watch!!  It often collapsed, like the cat-walking lady toppling from her high heels! 

Those that possessed stiff old tires were seen with a bit of envy.  Those that possessed a bare old rim, though rare, were envied more!  Driving the rim on the road produced that clanking sound was music to our ears!  It had the 'enviable' advantage of being steered from the groove as it rolled while we tire-drivers used the sides.  Even more envied were the ones that owned a scooter tire.  Scooter owners were far and few in those times and their old tires, even rare to find for play!  When the stick hit the scooter tire as it was pushed along produced a hollow sound that was so pleasing as to create envy among other bicycle tire owners!!  We used to borrow the scooter tire or the rim to enjoy their feel.  I used to see a boy who rolled a slim hoop wondered from where he got it!  Another boy had a small ring of about 15 inch diameter, probably fabricated from a 8 mm iron rod and steered with a hook-like tip, also fabricated.  It was a very cute toy! 

There was a cycle repair shop at the end of the street owned by Shivaram.  We used to pester him to give us junked rims, but he would not give.  We did not know at that time that these things were sold for recycling at the junkyard.  So he used to save them to make some money. We had to return satisfied just gazing at all those junked rims in his dirty attic.

When I was about 8-9, I was going my friend Srinivas' house in the next street, driving my tire fast, so fast that I must have tripped something and fell flat on my elbows, stomach and knees [like lock, stock and barrel] almost in front of his house.  I still cannot recollect why I was running so fast!  There was a deep cut on my right wrist and blood began to ooze.  The cut was very close to where doctors feel the pulse!   I returned home, tire hung at the left forearm and pressing the wound with the thumb to stop bleeding. When I released the thumb, more blood would ooze. It took a long time for the blood to clot, due to its location near the vein.  Mother did some treatment with antiseptic lotion and I cannot remember crying as I mostly didn't. I also cannot remember if it affected my notes-writing.  The scar mark is still visible, faintly but I can still replay this fall in the mind vividly.

We did not know at that time that such games kept us fit and active and helped in concentration.  We had to keep focus on its movement and it also aided in brain-muscle coordination.  Simple games and activities like those in that era had their positive effects on health.

Recently, I thought of reliving the childhood, but inside the premise.  See this short video.  Now I can boast of an old tire on a rim!  But no one cares!!



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1 comment:

Kumar Sharma said...

Bravo!Thoroughly enjoyed reading and vicariously enjoying those - nostalgic -events. Very ingenious of you, Dinoo Dear,to have included the video, so thoughtfully. The cheddi as a tyre-driver and later, as a cyclist, fuller attire. Was wondering how you got somebody capable to acquiesce....is that the correct spelling?... to your whim and videograph! Later, saw your giving credit to him.Good, please keep it up and continue give us the pleasure of more such posts, as I can very well relate to such activities being a cotemporary Mysorean!