Nadia Kabir Barb
while ago I may have mentioned that my husband went and bought
(what I thought was in a fit of insanity) a set of rollerblades.
But I have just realised that this insanity is contagious
and has spread to the rest of my household. Now all three
of my children have also been afflicted with "rollerblade-itis".
And from what I have gathered, the best way to get this malady
out of one's system is to go out to an open space, especially
on a sunny day and roller blade to one's heart's content.
So, like any long suffering wife or parent, I bundled one
husband, three kids, four sets of roller blades and one bicycle
in the car and drove to my destination of choice Hyde Park.
There is a stretch of road in the park reserved strictly for
pedestrians and cyclists which seemed like the ideal place
for my ailing family to exorcise the rollerblade bug. This
road is situated in front of the Albert Memorial which coincidentally
is a monument built in memory of Queen Victoria's consort
Prince Albert and is thought to be one of the great sculptural
achievements of the Victorian era due to the sheer scale,
opulence and complexity of the sculpture. Once we had parked
and unloaded the car it was time to initiate the cure. To
my surprise, there seemed to be an epidemic of "rollerblade-itis"
in Hyde Park. I must possess a very robust immune system not
to have been affected. There were people of all ages and various
levels of competence dashing past us. Some were trying their
utmost to just stand up and not topple over and others were
whizzing around making everyone else feel wretchedly inadequate.
it didn't take long to cure my youngest as she tried her roller
blades on, wobbled around for a few minutes and then gave
up and decided to ride her bike instead. Now have any of you
ever observed a chicken when it runs around? It seems to have
a random pattern of running from here to there. That is exactly
how I must have looked to an outside observer. On the one
hand, I was trying to run next to my youngest daughter to
act as her brakes (sadly her little hands couldn't quite grasp
the brakes on her bike properly) and on the other hand was
being manhandled by my eldest daughter who was on her rollerblades
and who initially refused to let go of me and kept grabbing
onto my arm and neck nearly strangling me at times! Fortunately
my husband proved himself to be adept with his rollerblades
and was teaching our son.
now and then the kids would stop to have a little rest so
we managed to commandeer half of one of the benches aligning
the road, as the other half was occupied by another group
of people. Needless to say they were all equipped with the
latest roller blade paraphernalia. When the sun is out people
just naturally seem more friendly and approachable so within
a short time we were all chatting away like old friends. I
think the ice was broken when my youngest nearly ran one of
the men in the group down with her bike. He then turned out
to a police officer called Imran. To her relief, he didn't
arrest her and instead went up and down the road with her
on his roller blades while she practiced not mowing people
down with her bike.
secured my place on the bench under the benevolent gaze of
Prince Albert, I had an opportunity to sit and take stock
of my surroundings. It was one of those rare gorgeous sunny
afternoons where everyone seemed to be in a good mood and
from where I was sitting most people around me gave the impression
that they were all having a great time. For example, one stretch
of the road was being occupied by a group who were playing
hockey on roller blades and there were cheers every time someone
scored a goal. Then immediately in front of me was another
group who were obviously taking lessons from an instructor.
What crossed my mind as I gazed at all the people around me
was that if I took a cross section of them, I would see a
correlation between the approach they took in the way they
were rollerblading, and the way they approach life itself.
Sounds rather far fetched, but hypothesising is such an amusing
way of passing time so bear with me. If you started with the
people like myself, who were not rollerblading but watching
or accompanying people would you find that they were all by
nature, risk averse or were more likely to play it safe in
life? I mean getting on the roller blades would mean accepting
the risk of falling and possibly getting hurt. Not everyone
likes to take that gamble but may prefer to stay with the
tried and tested. Then you had people like the Egyptian lady
Yusrah, who was part of the group we were sitting with. She
had her roller blades on but was kitted out in all the latest
rollerblading protective gear, i.e. helmet, knee guards, and
hand gloves. There were countless number of people like her
holding on to benches or friends and taking things very slowly.
In their day to day lives were these people more willing to
try new things but possibly had the need to be prepared for
any eventualities? Maybe they were cautious in their outlook
but prepared to take up a challenge if the need arose. Then
of course we had the people who were not necessarily proficient
at the sport but were giving it their best shot and each time
they fell over they just got up and tried again. Maybe these
were the people who didn't give up in life and pursued things
regardless of the outcome. In other words, had an abundance
of determination and drive and very likely did not spend much
of their lives regretting all the things they wished they
had done but never had the nerve to pursue. As they say "no
pain, no gain". A great example of this would be our
policeman who was resilient to the point of being masochistic!
I can't recall how many times I must have winced on his behalf.
was brought out of my reverie by a clamour from the kids to
go and buy ice-creams. It looked like for the time being rollerblade-itis
was in remission and we bade farewell to our new found friends.
My theory on life and rollerblades still remains to be tested.
By the time we got home, I had a burgeoning desire to try
on my daughter's roller blades and have a go myself, preferably
when everyone else was in bed! Oh well, what can I say ---
I guess my immunity is not as stout as I had thought…
(R) thedailystar.net 2005