A bicycle of my own

When I was five or six years old, I was dying to have my own bicycle. I wanted to have a two-wheel bicycle. It was beneath my dignity to have a three-wheel one! My parents allowed Mantu to get a two-wheel bicycle, so I thought if Mantu can get one, what is wrong with me? Is it not an insult for me to have three wheels? But my parents were very strict. I had to have a small three-wheel bicycle.

Then one day I saw a two-wheel bicycle in a shop near our bank. I was so happy. I went inside to ask the price. I had no money, but I was so eager to buy that bicycle. The bicycle shop owner said, "Yes, that bicycle is for sale. For fifteen or twenty rupees you can have it." I was so thrilled. I ran back to the bank and told my brother Chitta. Chitta said, "No, no, no, they are not going to sell that bicycle."

I said, "Definitely it is for sale. They told me." I started crying for that bicycle. Then Chitta said, "When I have finished my work, we can go and make enquiries."

But my brother was very clever. In the meantime, he secretly sent a peon from the bank to go and give them two rupees or something like that to tell us that the bicycle was not for sale. When Chitta had finished his work for the day, I dragged him to the bicycle shop. It was only a few hours since I had been there, but the shop owner said, "I am sorry, but that bicycle is not for sale." My brother pretended to be very innocent.

What can you do? A beggar cannot be a chooser. My brother did not want me to have a two-wheel bicycle because he felt I was too young to ride alone. He was afraid I would meet with an accident. So I had to be satisfied with sitting on the back seat of the messenger's bicycle.

So this is how my brother fooled me. I did not find out that he had fooled me until long afterwards, at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. There he told me the truth. At the Sri Aurobindo Ashram I was so unhappy because my brother Mantu had learned to cycle in Chittagong, so he was given a bicycle at the Ashram. But, poor me, I did not learn and also I am much shorter than Mantu, and so when I came to the Ashram, they did not give me a bicycle. This is how my brother Chitta prevented me twice from having a proper bicycle.