My Kawasaki Ninja 650 came factory-fitted with a saree guard in 2013. Government requirement, evidently. I paid to have it removed and get the original handle re-installed.
Last month when I got my Royal Enfield Himalayan, a saree guard looked up at me again. Fragile. Delicate. A complete misfit on the big muscular motorcycle. It could feel it in its bones that no saree would grace the pillion of this bike. It gave me a futile, resigned look. It meant well, but was in the throes of self doubt. “Why do I exist? What is my purpose?”
I tried to convince my saree-clad mother-in-law to ride with me. She is all of 4’ 10’’ and would need a ladder to reach the Himalayan pillion seat, but she was the only likely candidate. However, she has a healthy mistrust of motorcycles. And of me. So that didn’t go anywhere.
When I started gearing up for the Spiti-Pangi ride, the saree guard went into deep depression. Two weeks of long rides with a backpack on the pillion!! And further, this rather dainty, delicate saree guard being sent to Spiti and Pangi Valleys non-existent roads on a mule of a motorcycle – it was like forcing an undernourished, anorexic teenager to play in the pro kabaddi League.
As the trip started, my saree guard started to lose it one screw at a time. 70k in, the first screw went missing.
“What I the meaning of life?” It asked me, as I replaced the screw. “You are helpful but pointless” I almost said. But didn’t. It didn’t choose its existence. Someone else did. Just like humans.
At 500k the replacement screw was also gone, and the frame itself was broken. I fixed it
(literally) with borrowed duct tape and donated bolts. But just another 40k and a resounding clang accompanied every rock we went past.
I dismounted and checked – my worst fears had come true. The saree guard, unable to find purpose or meaning, had joined the many saree guards up in the deep blue sky. My Ninja Saree guard was there as well, waiting along with an angel motorcycle at the gate for the ideal saree clad pillion rider to walk through.
The bodily remains of my saree guard at its elevated resting place at the Chandratal
RIP, Saree Guard. Enjoy the heavenly roads up there.