Ride pillion with this god

Updated: Sep 22, 2019, 08:21 IST | |

Why motorcyclists won't be able to put down author Murali K Menon's adrenaline-pumping debut about a deity on a hunt for the world's greatest bike

Byline: Dylan D'Silva

As someone who picks up a novel very rarely, the biggest draw to read Mumbai writer Murali K Menon's debut was unquestionably its title: The God Who Loved Motorbikes (Juggernaut India). For an enthusiast of all things two-wheeled, Menon's novel captured my imagination right from the get-go.

The book opens in Kollengode, a village in Kerala, which is home to the local deity, Kandakarnan Swamy alias KK. Centuries of living on Earth has made life a chore for KK. It all changes when the god sees the "beefy British motorcycle" Norton Dominator. Before you know it, he has befriended its owner Koman Kutty, who then introduces him to the world of motorcycles. KK's mission now is to travel the world on every bike he can lay his hands on. There is a twist to this plot, when he finds out about the legendary Velocette Venom Thruxton HT, of which there is only a single prototype. The prototype has disappeared and the god now decides to track it down.

The God Who Loved Motorbikes
The God Who Loved Motorbikes

The God Who Loved Motorbikes is an extremely trippy take on what could possibly be the 'greatest bike in the world'. The concept of a god, who rides bikes, pretty much connects with someone like me, who feels the otherworldly with just a simple twist of a throttle on an open road. The fact that being a local god renders him invisible, only adds to the hilarity, especially the point where a rider-less motorcycle does the rounds of the village late at night.

The writing is fast-paced, just like the bikes, and though there are many instances in the book when the plot veers into the ridiculous (albeit deliberately), you never lose control. It's like an obstacle course, and once you get past it, you are on track again. Menon's wit and sardonic humour shines through the pages; there are occasions when his god says things that one might not want to be caught dead saying in public. This, however, makes KK only more likeable.

Murali K Menon. Pic/Ardeshir Ashley Baxter
Murali K Menon. Pic/Ardeshir Ashley Baxter

Yet, what makes the novel really stand out is that it is peppered with trivia on many classic English and Japanese motorcycles that have made an impact on two-wheeler history, and in some cases also made many MotoGP riders famous. For me, it was a primer of sorts, because I am fan of modern bikes; to be filled in on the history of the now, defunct company, Velocette—it shut in 1971—that was the force behind the classic breed of bikes, is handy information for any bike lover. This is a fun, action-packed and light read and need I say, totally worth the ride.

The writer is a motorcycle enthusiast

Price: Rs 499
To buy: juggernaut.in

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