The Humor of Melvin Durai

Humor columns, satire and other funny stuff

Drivers all over the world are unhappy about the rising price of gas (or petrol). Some have found interesting ways to protest the prices, but none more charmingly than Subhranshu Samal did at his recent wedding in Bhubaneswar, India.

As widely reported, the 47-year-old grocery shop owner rode a bicycle to the wedding venue, while wearing an elegant sherwani, headdress and garland. No cars or loud DJs were part of the wedding procession, which gained plenty of attention from passers-by, because it’s not every day that you see a groom dashing on a bicycle. I mean, a dashing groom on a bicycle.

Samal told The Telegraph that he didn’t just want to protest fuel prices, but also promote environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

“By going on a bicycle, I have also been able to send a message about the need to maintain a good environment and good physique by avoiding to travel in cars and other motorable vehicles,” he said. “My wife Sipra was also happy with my decision.”

Yes, you’ve got to make Sipra happy. As the old saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.” In this case, it might be: “Happy ride, happy bride.”

My wife, Malathi, is quite happy on a bicycle. She does not like to drive. Her car remains parked on our driveway 99 percent of the time. Malathi drives it only on weekends, usually to go shopping and to ensure that snakes and other creatures do not start living inside the engine compartment.

Malathi has two preferred modes of transportation: cycling and walking.  Only if she’s unable to use one of these modes does she resort to a third mode: Huber.

Huber is what you get when you combine husband and Uber.

Yes, if Malathi is unable to bike or walk, she usually gets me to drive her. Did I mention that her car sits idle 99 percent of the time?

Our house, thankfully, isn’t far from the university where Malathi works. It’s one of the main reasons we bought the house. Malathi can pedal to work in just 10 minutes or so. It’s mostly a downhill ride, but uphill when she returns home, so she praises gravity in the morning, curses it in the evening.

By riding her bicycle, she gets a little exercise, fresh air and the joy of zooming past motorists stuck in traffic. She also saves money on gas and does her small part in reducing air pollution and helping the environment. She doesn’t have to worry about parking—there is plenty of space on the bike rack outside her building. She can park for as long as she wants, without ever worrying about getting her bike towed away.

Many people around the world ride bicycles out of necessity—they can’t afford cars or motorbikes. But even in wealthy countries, bicycles are increasingly popular, not just for recreation but also transportation. In Denmark, for example, more than 90 percent of the population own bikes, compared with about 60 percent who own cars. The country has promoted biking by building a vast network of bike lanes and bike highways, and by imposing heavy taxes on gas and automobiles. Heading home from the office at rush hour, you might find yourself stuck behind dozens of bicycles. You’ll feel like you’re in the Tour de France, but with hardly anyone on steroids.

Most people do not live close enough to their workplaces to use bicycles. But short errands within their neighborhoods can easily be done on pedal power. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town or city that has created bike lanes, please take advantage of them. The bicycle is one of the greatest inventions in history—it’s right up there with the printing press, the lightbulb, and the game of football.

Not only does the bicycle give us cheap transportation, it also gives us enjoyment and exercise—all without polluting the earth.


NOTE: This column has moved to Substack. To read it every week, please get a free subscription at Humorist.Substack.com

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