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Right Royal Enfield Education

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Take six teenagers, slum-dwellers in every sense, one charity school in the slums and one motorcycle tour company in an industrial area housing the slums. Mix together in a hot and dusty terrine, add mechanics with insight and willing, season with masala of mixed spices of India and herbs of Europe. Simmer gently until reduced to an even and gelled sauce. Sprinkle with a sustainable liquor of choice and opportunity. Stand back as the flambé ignites with flames of passion. Serve with relish on a bed of good will. Consume and enjoy the warm after-glow while digesting the success.

The slow, deep thud, a single cylinder, chug, chug, chugging, sparking memories of photographs, an uncle sat astride a relic Norton with his beautiful bride, pre-war bliss, innocence and smiles.Roy and Dot on a Norton small

The memory chugger the once British, state empowered, Royal Enfield, a symbol of colonial dispatch, shipped to the sub-continent, now Indian and shipping back to poor old Blighty to slake the thirst for, once common, chest-pounding thump of large bore, long stroke engine. The workshop of Vintage Rides, echoing to the thrug thrug pounding amid excited laughter of teenagers allowed to start a glorious, white, custom machine. A company generous to teach mechanics to the poorest and needy students of the Project Why school nearby. Normally ambivalent workers, here found to be earnestly and enjoyably instructing an enthralled and enthusiastic group of youngsters, captivated by the inner workings of the 500cc powerful engine. Stand back, take in the smile inducing scene, forgive a moment of pride in a small part taken to produce this tableaux. Allow a brief, heart-warming to flow through for the beginnings of a success, hopeful of becoming a change to a life otherwise destined for rubbish sorting or sweat-shop factory, forever trapped in a slum, perhaps now a chance to escape.

The work done, time to leave them to it, no need of an intrusive overlooker. The thrilling offer of a lift on the back of a works Royal Enfield Bullet, to surge through the hectic and chaotic traffic of Delhi, to feel the heavy and resonant thrust beneath the seat. Not to be turned down, feeling like one of the teenagers just left, off down the bumpy, barely kept, crowded lanes, dodging people, cycle, rickshaw, tuk-tuk, car and truck. Relax into the cissy seat and enjoy the ride, its been a good morning…two minutes later…shattered. Lurching to abrupt halt, car a few feet in front…something’s wrong, screaming and crying.  Is that the car tyre shredded? No! It’s a shoe? Someone blocking the view squats down then stands with a 7 or 8-year-old in his arms, the owner of the shoe now revealed with blood pouring from a leg, bare foot wrongly shaped, face erupting with fear and cries, teeth through blooded lip. This pillion passenger lets an exclaim involuntarily escape, a thought of helping forges apart the shock, before decision sorts itself a crowd envelops the boy and he disappears, his screams diluted by shouts. The once magical bike is forgotten as the pilot steers around, away, scene left behind. Glad for the cover of full-face helmet and dark glasses as emotion forces its way out the eyes. Optimism is grasped for sobriety. Hope says it is just a broken leg and he will be looked after. Hope his family are able to afford the medical bill so the poor boy suffers not much. Not the perfect day end as earlier thought but a jolt back to reality of  those who, am supposed to be helping, live every day in the slums, why helping them learn a trade to break out of the slums within the dangerous industrial area, unsafe just to walk home from school. More reason for more effort to make a small difference. Thoughts only of a bloodied and scared boy, should be protected. Hope he is cared for and all right.

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