Part II: My Pondicherry life

Bicycling at last!

When we came to the Ashram in 1944, Mantu was given a bicycle because he had learnt to ride in Chittagong. But, poor me, I had not learnt and also I was still much shorter than Mantu and so they did not give me a bicycle. I was so unhappy.

This is how my brother Chitta prevented me twice from having a bicycle. Two weeks later, I was allowed to learn how to ride. In two hours, I learnt it. Of course, I fell down quite a few times while learning!

Then afterwards, I used to borrow one of the Ashram bicycles whenever I needed one. At sports time, I used to get one for three or four hours to go to the playground. They did not mind if I kept it even for four hours.

A very dear friend of mine had a cycle that was a little bit old. One day he told me that he wanted to give it to me. So I wrote to the Mother to ask her permission. She said flatly, "No!" I was so sad.

Then the following day, the Mother sent one extremely good bicycle for me to have. It was not brand new, but it was very good. So only one day I suffered.

In those days in India, we used to think that two types of bicycle were the best: Phillips and Raleigh. Both were of British manufacture. According to us, Raleigh was better. It was a little shorter than the Phillips one.