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|17th May 2019, 19:54||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 144 Times
The Saga of the Missing Helmet
One of my helmets has gone missing. But I'm sure you must be thinking, a missing helmet? Who cares? Well, it matters because that helmet had a great purpose. Most helmets are meant to protect one great mind, but this one was chosen to protect many. It was more of a soldier, or a caretaker, than just an ordinary helmet. And this is the story of how it was lost, all that we did to track it down, and finally how it ended.
Let me tell you about this helmet a little first. It was actually my spare helmet. I had bought it because I have a rule on my bike: No helmet, no ride. (In fact, the rule is, no gear, no ride. But I usually discount it to the former in the city.) And more than just protecting the heads of those who were happy to be my pillion, it was delegated to protect the heads of many friends who didn’t yet have one, but liked to ride their own bikes, either with us on our group rides, or even on their own.
It protected one of my close friend’s head on a ride to Udupi, a ride which happened after a long time of deliberation, and was the first ride of it’s kind on my new bike. It protected my friend’s cousin’s head on a ride to closest hillside; he is an avid photographer and had joined us for the first time. For many months, it was with another close friend, who had recently acquired our friend’s old bike, but wanted time to get his own helmet from abroad. This guy actually had it for so long, that he even decorated it himself, with nicely designed and carefully cut reflective strips. It protected my flatmate (another close friend)’s head whenever we went to eat parantha’s. It protected my girlfriend’s head on the day when she finally agreed to wear riding gear without putting up a battle, and came on the one and only ride with me ever. And so on with many others.
So many rides, so many memories.
But now, that helmet is missing. Literally, missing. I cannot find it. You must be thinking, how can a helmet go missing? A helmet can’t do sleep walking, right? A helmet doesn’t get sad and just walk off into the wild? A helmet has no unnecessary marriage pressure and doesn't desire to run away to another city?
Well, it happened a bit like this.
It started the day that we last went for a ride on the outskirts of Bangalore. My friend’s cousin, who happens to be a budding photographer, was our special guest that day, so obviously, the helmet in question had important duties. His artistic abilities were under the careful protection of this helmet, for this ride.
During the entire day, he was my pillion. At the last checkpoint towards the end of the ride, he was to ride back home as pillion with someone else. His home was quite far away from almost all of our own homes, so it was decided that the helmet will go with him till the very end, even though we didn’t know how we will get it back.
Soon after that ride, we finalized plans to ride to Kannur, which is the hometown of majority of my riding buddies and our group. We were 7 petrol heads, 3 on our bikes, and the rest in classic Ford Fiesta. One of us had taken the helmet back from the photographer guy a few days back, and brought it along during this trip. But since we didn’t need it on the route, it was kept away in the car’s trunk.
Having reached Kannur, we separated on our own ways, to go to our homes. Kannur is a big district, and everyone had their homes in one corner or the other. Some of us who had come in the car so far, went pillion with whoever was their closest neighbor. Naturally, the helmet got called upon, and was taken by one of us, whom we can refer to as Mr. X.
But Mr. X was not the only one who would have needed that helmet during our time in Kannur. There was another one of us, who we shall refer to as Mr. Y, who would have needed it as well. During our time in the city, and on one of our meetups, the helmet would have to go to Mr. Y. I don’t think I kept track of who it was with and when, as long as it was on someone’s head. I assumed it would eventually find its way back to me.
It probably would have come back, but I guess the major factor that caused some confusion was that our returning plans were staggered. 2 of us, including myself, had to ride back early Monday morning to attend office, while the others would come back later that day. Since I couldn’t carry the extra helmet back with me, I was under the impression that someone will carry it back from Kannur. The focus was on making sure that we all reached back safe, which we did, and the trip ended on a happy note.
Time passed away, and soon it was time for more rides. Naturally, the helmet’s requirement was felt. And it was only then that I remembered, that I never checked where the helmet was. And when I tried to look for it, it was nowhere to be found!
For obvious reasons, I first searched for it in my own home. There is a certain place assigned for it to take rest inside my cupboard. It wasn’t there. I searched elsewhere. It wasn’t anywhere. So, I thought to myself, maybe I didn’t have it at all. Then I posted on our group, hoping that someone would be not as blank as myself about its whereabouts.
The true nature of the situation revealed itself as we started discussing within ourselves, about where it was. Let alone knowing who had it or where it was, none of us could even remember, with any surety, about where we had seen it last, or who wore it from where, and when did it change hands! It was as if we were all having some group hangover. Total black out.
This was strange. Very strange. And almost out of disbelief, along with the fact that I was lazy and somewhat hopeful that I only had misplaced it within the home, we cut the discussion short. Maybe I will just check my home again in a couple of days, and will find it somewhere where it shouldn’t have been kept in the first place. Maybe it will reveal itself. After all, it’s just a helmet. Where could it have gone?
Days turned into weeks, but I didn’t see it anywhere. By now, I was worried. Not because it could be lost, but because of what it means to me. I didn’t want to take any headless riders with me, nor see my friends riding headless. Add to that all the sweet memories!
The even more worrying part was that it wasn’t the first of its kind! There was one before it too, yes. But that one didn’t have such a sweet life, in fact, it’s life was kind of (literally) cut short.
When I first bought my own helmet, I had bought another spare helmet. Because like I said, I hate it when someone rides my bike without a helmet, even a pillion. But before that one could fulfill its purpose, it had an accident of its own.
One day on the way to meet a friend, I had strapped it to the back of my bike. During this commute, I hit a big bump in the road, due to which the helmet jumped off the back, and hung over the tire. I didn’t realize this had happened, till I almost reached my friends place, 5 km away. But during that time, the tire's edge had drilled a large cut into the helmet, just above the visor. It was so deep, that I could see the foam inside. It was finished, sorely, in just a few days of its life.
I was quite sad that day. I had been saving aggressively to buy not just a bike, but to buy all my riding gear. All of it was quite expensive, as even for something like a spare helmet, I had to maintain high standards. The spare helmet too was an MT, just like my own primary helmet.
And because I knew I would like my friends to ride with me, there were no second thoughts about having to buy a replacement. More money flew out of my pocket. I wasn’t happy, but it was necessary. We all talk about how our lives aren’t valued by the government or whatever, but how much do we value our own lives? Or that of our loved ones?
That’s when the helmet in question was born. The protector of heads and second of its kind. As you have read, it had a good shot at fulfilling its purpose. In fact, some of my friends would say that it did.
So finally, faced with the fact that we didn’t remember where it had gone, we decided to track it down. How? Through photos and videos from the ride.
We started the conversation by listing down the suspects (sorry, Mr. X and Mr. Y, ), the hypothesis, and started the search again. The investigation got so intensely fun, that everyone was kind of acting like a detective. We all started aggressively with the same question, where was it last seen, and where did it go from there. And it went something like this:
Day 1, Saturday
Till we entered Kannur, the helmet was in the car’s trunk. From there, Mr. X wore it to his home, as pillion with another rider.
The rest of the day, none of us met again.
Day 2, Sunday
In the morning, we all met up at the beach. The helmet came to this beach with Mr. X.
From here, we went to a nearby port. Now, we had all assumed that Mr. X had given it to Mr. Y at this beach itself. But we were getting contradicting accounts from both of them, and there were no clear witnesses. So we checked photos for the beach, but didn’t see the helmet, although I clearly remember it was there.
Then we checked images for the port, and voila! There it was, sitting casually on the Honda.
This was the first time I was seeing it after so many weeks, and I became a bit sentimental. Look at it, if only we knew that it was going to disappear soon, maybe we would have been considerate!
Anyway, having established that it was at this port, the question was, who wore it to the port after the beach. Was it Mr. X himself, or did he give it to Mr. Y before we left from the beach?
From there on, we couldn’t find any conclusive photos or videos which could answer that question, even though everyone had some memory of the helmet riding around on someone’s head.
So we started looking at evidence from later that day. In the evening, we had all met up at another, drive-in beach. Hypothesis was that Mr. Y had taken the helmet from Mr. X after the port, and should have had it on him when he rode pillion with me to the beach. Since we were the last of the group to reach the beach that day, and everyone was already there, we hoped someone would remember seeing whether Mr. Y had the helmet on at that time. Sadly though, no one did. So we resorted to looking at photos and videos from the beach.
Unfortunately, there were not a lot of them. We kept looking for a long time, trying to spot this helmet. It was a hard search. Finally, after almost half an hour of searching, Mr. Y had an awesome finding!
In the only video that he had taken at that time, which was from the pillion seat while entering the beach, he saw something! There was a small reflection, in the rear view mirror of my bike, of his face! That could only mean one thing; he (Mr. Y) didn’t have the helmet on while riding with me. Which meant he didn’t have it with him at all till that point, because if we had had it, he would have had to wear it.
The next question then, was whether Mr. X had it, and did he bring it with him to this beach? We went back to search more photos, but what could we find? We had been searching it for the last almost one hour! But happily, I found one. It was a hard one to spot, which is why I hadn’t seen it earlier. But it was conclusive. The helmet was at the beach, and it was surely Mr. X who had brought it there.
This was a big breakthrough for all of us. We were all excited of having tracked it down all the way till here! But we still didn’t have it in our hands. So it continued. Question was, where did it go from here? And there weren’t many places where we went from there. We all just went our own ways, to our own homes, and the next day, we all drove back to Bangalore.
Mr. X was definite that he didn’t have it after the beach. He had photos from his whereabouts after that, and the helmet wasn’t there in any of those. So then Mr. Y must have worn it back with me to his home. The trouble was, as we started thinking, that on the way back to his home, we had stopped at some other places, like a cake shop, and to the home of another friend who was riding back with us.
So we checked Mr. Y’s home. It wasn’t there. We checked the cake shop, it wasn’t there. And our friend was certain that it wasn’t at his home too, else someone would have seen it. Then, for a moment we thought we had a breakthrough, when we remembered that this other guy has a CCTV in his home, which could at least tell us if we had the helmet with us at that time or not.
But you wouldn’t believe, that the only time his CCTV weren’t working, was around the time when we were at his home. Trust me, I am not making this up.
We couldn’t have been more hopeless after this. For just this one hour of our trip, we couldn’t find any answers to where the helmet had gone.
Its now a week after the day we last tried to find it, and it’s still missing. I have a theory now, about its whereabouts. I think, that helmet could read minds. It could feel all the sadness that we hide, and our anxieties, our fears, along with our dreams, and our hopes. It had the most silently human connect with so many of us, that too during such a thing as a motorcycle ride, which we all know to be so very emotional. Just imagine, all the emotions per second of every ride, that it must have felt, the thoughts of so many of us, that it must have endured.
So maybe, it got a bit burned out, and found itself a nice corner in one of my friend’s house, far far away from where I could have found it. Maybe it’s just taking a well-deserved break.
I just hope that someday, it will reappear. More than the fact that I need it, I just miss it a lot. I don’t know how soon or far that moment may be, and whether I will be able to get it back to my home soon after. I might even have to buy another helmet to replace it (sorry buddy). But in my heart and those of everyone who wore it, and decorated it as if it was their own, it will always have a special place.
And once its back, I will find a new purpose for it, and make sure that it lives on forever, in a place of its own.
Note to moderators: I hope I found the right sub-forum for this. If not, please help me move it to the right one.
Last edited by Parishrut : 17th May 2019 at 19:57. Reason: Note to moderators
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|17th May 2019, 22:21||#2|
Join Date: May 2012
Location: RJ-19 / UK-07
Thanked: 568 Times
Re: The Saga of the Missing Helmet
Whoa ! That almost reads like a Hercule Poirot mystery ! I have known people to be sentimental about their helmet(s) (I should know, I am), but this takes it to a whole new level ! Very well narrated account of the missing helmet, this makes for quite an engrossing reading. I hope you are able to trace out your precious helmet and keep us updated .
|20th May 2019, 10:48||#4|
Join Date: Feb 2016
Thanked: 661 Times
Re: The Saga of the Missing Helmet
I have solved the mystery! The helmet disappear-er (yes it is a word) is Parishut!!
@Parishut, you were obsessed with this secondary helmet. You wanted buy a new helmet and relegate your current one to secondary status. All your fiends and fellow riders kept buying new fancy helmets and you were stuck with the old one.
So you kept putting the "disappeared" helmet in situations where someone would forget to return it. Or someone will loose it. Or maybe someone will just pick it up from your bike.
And yet each time it kept getting back to you. You could take it no more and hatched a perfect plan.
Two convinient supects were found: a Mr. X and Mr. Y. You knew a Mr. Z had CCTV which could be conveniently "malfunctioning" on the day of the incident. A cake shop and a beach ride were thrown in to confound the investigators.
But all to no avail. ACP Pradyuman has been informed and as we are speaking Daya is breaking down his door.
|20th May 2019, 16:27||#5|
Join Date: Mar 2017
Thanked: 146 Times
Re: The Saga of the Missing Helmet
Wow, that is some helmet saga. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I was slightly hoping to read a miraculous reunion eventually.
But I feel for your bro. Once upon a time, I had kind of similar habit and made sure i carried basic spare safety gears on smaller casual 100-200 kms rides and used to insist my other friends (riding with basic helmets, sandals) to try the riding gloves, arm/knee protectors. I could recollect times when these gears never made it back after the rides owing to several reasons you mentioned such as friends riding other way, mid way departure in ride plans etc.
But I'm happy the gears served and/or are serving their purpose and in the process, some of my friend's came to appreciate the safety these gears offer. I was in for a surprise on one such recent ride where a friend returned a neatly packed set of my old gloves, some bungee cords and a set of basic fox knee guards after he invested in good quality gear himself.
Your story also reminds me of a sad time when I gave away my very first helmet, an MPA AGV to my distant neighbor ( who used to ride without helmets or the open visor-less ones) after I upgraded. I was in for a shock when I saw the very same helmet dumped in my building dustbin a few months later in a really soiled condition. From there on, I've been very private with my safety gears and been avoiding myself the misery altogether.
Anyway, hope your Helmet finds it's way back to you or at the very least continues it's duty somewhere unlike my fallen warrior (matching helmet pictured below in it's glory days) whom I could not revive.
Last edited by camitesh : 20th May 2019 at 16:30. Reason: sentence completion
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