A Sexagenarian's Love For Bicycles
In the age of the Nano-s of the world, Dr. V Adimurthy, the Dean (R&D) of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, at the age of 64 prefers to cycle his way to work. 16 km a day for over 25 years and Adimurthy has covered enough distance on bicycles to circle the earth 5 times over.
Dr. Adimurthy initially started cycling to work on Saturdays and Sundays, because he did not want to bother the VSSC drivers on holidays. Plus, it gave him the freedom of being able to stay late at work if he wanted to with no impatient driver waiting for him. Thus began a long friendship between him and bicycles, which has stood him in good stead as he is still fighting fit at 64. He enjoys his cycle rides to office and back, as it gives him the opportunity to get close with the surroundings and people. Even as a kid, Adimurthy had cycled several km to school, and during his student days at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, he used bicycles to go around the huge campus.
The scientist who works for Aerodynamics and Mission Analysis division in the ISRO, has been an integral part of almost all of India's space missions. Though he is well past the retirement age of 60, the ISRO has requested him to continue as they find him irreplaceable. Dr. Adimurthy had worked in close quarters with the former President APJ Abdul Kalam during his early years at the VSSC and they had shared a lodge for seven years before Adimurthy got married.
The heat and humidity in the city doesn't make the scientist long for the interiors of an air-conditioned car. Instead, he rides his cycle at an optimum pace at which he doesn't sweat much. Even the rain cannot make Adimurthy break his daily routine; he stops and waits for it to subside when it rains. He is however thankful that it doesn't rain continuously in Trivandrum and that it always stops in between and gives him enough time to hop on his cycle and get to work.
Once on a trip back from Moscow, Adimurthy found that his bicycle had been stolen. He took an office vehicle to the nearest cycle-shop bought himself a new one and returned home on his new wheels. The other time he found his bicycle stolen was way back in his student days in the IIT, which had left him heartbroken.
There were times when he doubted if he should conform to his growing age and stop cycling, but soon found out that his doubts were misplaced and is confident that he can keep cycling till his is at-least seventy .
The scientist is very much aware of the geared all terrain bikes available in the market, but still prefers his old bike because it is virtually maintenance-free, a perfect choice for a man who finds twenty four hours in a day inadequate.
Dr. Adimurthy owns a car, which he seldom uses. Knowing the man and his commitment to work, his wife who is a teacher has learnt to manage the household without his help.
Adimurthy is the sort of person who picks up every bit of paper he finds lying around on the office floor and carries it in his pocket till he finds a waste-bin. Since he doesn't make use of the ISRO transport facilities, the organisation has refunded him with quite a considerable sum of money over the years, which he contributes to the 'Staff Benevolent Fund'. Cycling has saved Adimurthy quite a lot of money and he is fitter than a lot of motorcycle riding twenty year-olds.
A native of Andhra Pradesh,
Dr.Adimurthy who had first come to Kerala in 1973 to work at the VSSC,
has ever since been in love with the capital city. He feels that the
city has the cleanest of airs and greenery to go with it. Dr. Adimurthy
is no stranger to Malayalam, he can read Malayalam proficiently but
still finds speaking the language a challenge. The decision to learn
Malayalam script was manily out of inability to read the destination
boards in transport buses. He enrolled himself in a Malayalam class for
non-Keralites in the city and was soon reading Kumaranasan's
'Veenapoovu' and 'Nalini'.
He however feels that there is a long
way to go in waste management in the city. The congested roads and heavy
traffic is another turn-off for Adimurthy but is certain that if there
is a reliable and non-expensive public transport system in the city, the
race to purchase cars and motorcycles will stop.
His love for
Trivandrum can be summed up in this one sentence -"We (him and his wife)
don't want to go anywhere else, we are more than comfortable in