Monday, May 21, 2007

“If wishes were horses beggars would ride” - wily

They call me stranger” went the clichéd line from a b-grade spaghetti western. It had all the props-the lost treasure, an ageing map, Italians and Spaniards with long hair and funny English passing off as Red Indians, the same Spaniards and Italians but with dirty clothes, a weeks growth on their chin and differently funny English passing off as the baddies, cowboys, Anglo saxon whites if you please, smoking the most hideous cheroots and possessing the whitest teeth, the same red bandanna around the neck, and not to forget. They all rode the loveliest horses.

All through my childhood years, I worshipped the lone cowboy who eventually, predictably collected the loot at the end of the flick. At 19 when I got my first motorcycle, what else could I possibly call him? He was black, had the build and gait of a horse, did my CL2, or so I thought. Few if anyone else could see it in that light, but the name’s stuck. People have forgotten my name but Stranger dwells on in their minds and recalls screen images of simpler times.

With Rob Roy however it was a different story. I had admired the Scottish outlaw and hero Robert MacGregor or Campbell as he sometimes styled himself ever since I read an illustrated comic version of his life Rob Roy. To his adoring clansmen and to much of Lowland Scotland where he was viewed with emotions rather different from adoration. He was Rob Roy. His hair and beard the colour of the setting sun. If anything else remained for me to love the name, Rob Roy was the sire of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. When my Y 350 came into my life with lean muscular black lines, all of two pots 175cc each, a Czechoslovakian engine and Warsaw pact swagger, I could think of no other name to capture his essence. To those who point out the incongruity of a Scottish name together with East European lineage I say it never was meant to make sense to philistines.

Go in peace mate.


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