Trainer wheels

Update for week ended 19 February 2010

A cool breeze blew in from the west and the sunlight was getting weaker – as it yellowed and mellowed in the evening. It was an ideal time to be out and about engaging in outdoor activities. I had planned on going for a walk by the seaside, but a cajoling tug at my T-shirt got me to change my plan. It was my four and a half year old daughter asking me to take her down to play in the building compound. She had just brushed off her milk “moustache” and was ready to don her cycling shorts and head out. I just could not say no; so I followed her as soon as I get could into my sandals. We went down with her little badminton set and soft-ball. As we exited the building lobby, I noticed that the breeze was a little too strong for a game of shuttle and so I suggested a change in our plans. I instead offered to teach her to cycle without the support/trainer wheels. She was apprehensive and looked into my eyes pleadingly, “No Daddy! I will fall down”. It took some cajoling and commitments to finally convince her, and she agreed. I held the cycle from behind her seat and as she comfortably sat, she turned back to see that I was indeed holding onto her cycle. She needn’t have worried because she would not fall, the cycle was of the appropriate height and weight and she would have managed to break a fall if required. But the fear that the support wheels were off, put her off balance too. My re-assurances were comforting for her and she looked ahead and started cycling. Slowly to start with, and then when she saw me keep pace, walking, sometimes breaking into a run, putting a hand ahead on her handle-bar to steer it, she settled down to comfort zone and good speed. After a few rounds, I slowly noticed that she was getting the hang of balancing and I left my grip for that split second. She wobbled a bit, but was blissfully unaware that she had no support. As the riding progressed, I increased the frequency and timing of the grip release. She was doing fine, until the seventh round or so. I wanted to be vocal about her progress and told her that I would be releasing the grip for sometime. That was it; she lost all her confidence in the cycling and became so conscious at my grip hold and release that she could not concentrate on her handlebar, and she wobbled more now than at the beginning.

When the Americans hinted out loudly that they would start the process of reducing the stimulus package support, D Street and its denizens started getting wobbly. They had a hint of it yesterday, when the D Boyz pushed the SENSEX down 101 points, and this morning, they had more than a hint; so they started wobbling more, that they dropped the SENSEX down further – initially by around 120 points but later even beyond 200 points. But when the breezy news of 2 Indians winning the Gold at the Commonwealth Shooting Championship wafted into D Street, the D Boyz cheered and straightened – picking the SENSEX from its intraday low and raising it 150 points. But that did not sustain, as the US news was too loud for the D Boyz’ comfort and the SENSEX slumped a little to finally end 136 points down at 16191. Overall, this week was light and frothy as European travelers flew into Africa to rude “shocks”, and urban Mumbai tourists tried to get arty at a local festival; as busy mothers of brides-to-be went looking for the suitable boy and faithfuls returned from their worship with half a coconut. The froth did manage to add some height to the SENSEX, 40 points – but like the froth it too was light!!

The little girl has learnt to roller-skate quite confidently, and that requires good balance, so I am sure she will be able to go solo in her bicycle riding. Maybe I should be silent when guiding her cycle on the next riding sojourn.

Have a nice and safe weekend. Cheers……

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