It’s a hard pill to swallow, but even the most ardent motorcyclist can’t ride every weekend. Prior commitments, family, work or (the worst of the lot) your bike just won’t start. You are then resigned to a Sunday of brooding as your mates post pictures on the road. Well, reading a book like this could be the perfect remedy for those blues.
The God Who Loved Motorbikes is a piece of fiction by Murali K Menon about a local deity, and how motorcycles captivated him. It takes us back to how he was introduced to bikes, and his subsequent journey into obsession about a very particular motorcycle, a mythical one-of-a-kind Velocette. While the protagonist is obsessed with old British motorcycles, the book isn’t filled with technical details about them, as it prefers to brush on those and instead focus on crisp storytelling, imparting a clear sense of local motorcycle culture and daydreams. Without going into spoilers, we can tell you that it is a journey that includes the past, present and future of motorcycles, and more importantly, the mind of a motorcyclist.
What makes it such an enjoyable read is that it is littered with highly relatable anecdotes slipped into the narrative in subtle ways. Menon briefly touches on topics such as the struggles of a writer, the wild thoughts of an enthusiast and the concept of religion and god. He takes not-so-subtle potshots at the supreme leader of India, and liberally uses the F-word which is far from making the reader frown. It adds a sense of gritty realism as you delve deeper into the vivid imagination of the author. And this is what the book excels at- making you smile as the mental image created is so clear, you do feel transplanted into the world it describes.
In many ways, reading this book is like experiencing a motorcycle — it starts gentle, with a low and inviting rumble, and then builds up to a crescendo that is addictive enough to make you forget what time it is. It is the story of every single motorcycle enthusiast, our love for all things two-wheeled, how we got to where we are and what populates our daily imaginations. If you have been riding for a very long time, it will make you nostalgic about how it started. If you’ve just started, it will make you smile and aspire for the future. And if you’ve missed a Sunday ride, this 200-odd-page book is the closest you’ll feel to being on a motorcycle. Go order one from Amazon, here