The cycle it stood, in the car porch next to the Innova. It was very functional well dusted oiled. The house was home to Paramanna Holla and his wife Shantiyamma, and lay adjacent to their beautiful five-star hotel the Mohini Vilas. There was a small private lane that lead from the house to the hotel, which was Parmanna Holla’s morning walk to work.
If one did wake up early in the morning just about sunrise, one did shanty-amma hitch her sari, a bit to reveal her ankle, she would ride round the property. Except when it rained, then she just dusted the bicycle and went in. she would ride the bike, then do all the traditional stuff a Hindu housewife of that generation did, that is cleaning the “hostilu” or the small raised strip right in as one entered the house, drew a geometric pattern in, applied the arasina-kumkum to welcome the goddess of wealth. She would then have a bath. By this time it would be 6.30 and the cook, kuppanna would bring the kaapi she would then take it upstairs to Paramanna, or Parashewar Holla as he was named.
Paramanna, would have finished his morning rituals by then and the next half an hour he over the coffee, they would discuss the day. It was a very personal time between them they children sometimes said that it set the mood for the day, for if they had an argument then the whole day would go bad for all.
Yet in her own mind Shantiyamma looked at it as setting the intent for the day. She would listen to her husband’s anticipation of the day, caution him if necessary, applaud him for something.
This was quite unnecessary now, though during the early days, when Paramanna, new from the village of Manoor between Kota and Kundapur, had left home, his greatest possession was the cycle which his uncle had gifted him to go to work.
Paramanna like all impoverished young Brahmin boys, worked in the “hotlu” at night. Grinding for Idli and dosa, in return the owner would give him his three meals and a place to stay anything else he had to make his own arrangement.
After metric, Paramanna, decided to open a “canteen” since it did not entail a whole clientele he thought with his widowed mother relocating to Bangalore, and two brothers they would be able to manage.
Of course Paramanna did manage to finish his degree but the- popularity of the golibaje and various typical coastal snacks, at economic price right in front of a college Paramanna’s business went booming.
So much so, the owner of the hotel where he started, approached Parmanna’s mother for an alliance. Paramanna, did so, on the condition that he would live and work independently. Paramanna, cycled to work and cycled back. When Paramanna’s business caught on, he would take the bus in the morning to work, later Shanti would cycle to drop their children to school and help Parmanna.
The small canteen flourished into to hotel, and now a chain of hotel that competed with Woodlands and Dasprakash. Through the journey, Shantyamma’s kids learnt cycling on the same Atlas cycle there were so many memories tuned with this that Paramanna and shantiyamma didn’t have the heart to discard the cycle.
Few years back when the doctor asked shantiyamma to exercise, she voiced her wish to use the cycle once again instead of going for a walk with other women, or going to gym like daughter and daughter-in-law did.
Like Paramanna says, “the wood and the cycle have been our constant companions