Creative challenge · Heritage · Photography


I confess, I am guilty of holding on to scraps and stuff. Sometimes I keep them for sentimental reasons but mostly for the kids if they ever wish to build a spaceship in the backyard. While my family despairs at my inability to deal with my hoarding syndrome, in a twist of fate I found it was a good thing.

It happened while I was out on a bracing morning walk conducted by my favourite heritage loving Been There Doon That Group of Walkers. These walks are an enjoyable way to get to know the city. An added bonus, it is food for the mind as well as soul.

The theme for the walk that day was Wealth in Waste.

(A guide for dummies to intelligently dispose trash and also identify diamonds in the dust or treasures in their trash)

To cut the long story short, the salient points were-

* smartly reuse and recycle trash.

* as for the treasure, the stuff that rolls into the corners of our drawers, hides under layers of dust in the garage, in boxes never opened since the turn of the century or lies forgotten in the cupboard under the stairs, all will become priceless antiques, as long as we are willing to wait for a century, give or take a few decades.

So folks, hold on to that set of spoons a little longer.

* Now if you are not the waiting kinds, there is hope for you still.

My friend calls himself The Kabadiwaala, a proud collector, nay, connoisseur of junk. So one man’s trash – old MAD comics, rusty Lambretta scooters, watches that don’t work, gramophones that play scratchy music, Gillette shaving blades that are still inside their original blue packaging, matchboxes, all worthy treasures to him. Apparently there is satisfaction in uncovering a piece of history, indulging in nostalgia, polishing it (it may also require heavy duty restoration) and then attaching a nice price tag to it.

Like this one time while rooting through twisted pieces of metal frames lumped together in a scrapyard in Imphal, he had a eureka moment.

Those twisted pieces of metal were an authentic World War 2 BSA folding Paratrooper Bicycle.

Ok! A word about the bicycle.

During World War 2, the paratroopers held the bicycle in their arms, I’m guessing it must be strapped to them and then they jumped from the planes.

Now these very special bicycles could be folded and then straightened with a snap, twisting and tightening a knob in the middle to keep the frame steady and together. Voila! Quite like an IKEA product and good to ride.

As stories go, there was a time when there was a surfeit of such cycles but in a bid to get rid of the old quickly, well, all were sold to scrap dealers at throwaway prices. This one was recognised languishing in one such yard till my history loving, antique hunter friend rescued it from obscurity. Also he ended up paying quite a bit for the rescue.

How is that for the twist in the tale!

WPC- Twisted


10 thoughts on “Twisted

    1. Happy you took the time to read and leave such a lovely comment. Folding bicycles that too from World War2 era, I think surprised all of us. One can’t imagine that such innovation in design take place and yet not find a mention in any war story or movie. I do wonder though, how different was your brother’s bicycle in design?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a friend whose father designed in the twenties a road bike that converted to an aqua bike. He rode it from London to France and she had all the newspaper clippings and promotional stuff he used. She was writing his memoir but sadly she died before finishing it. I think there are probably lots of weird and wonderful things that have been invented by people that just get forgotten or never heard of over time. My brother’s bike I think was similar in most respects to the one you showed though perhaps a little smaller and it was red.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. An amphibious bicycle sounds absolutely amazing and that it worked in the twenties is even better. You are right about the many innovations taking place all around us and those that never got their due respect. Luckily now we live in interesting times and the World Wide Web should put the spotlight on the anonymous ones.
          Also thank you for sharing the story of your brother’s cycle . It was really super connecting with you.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. How fascinating, that fold up bike seems way before it’s time. And I can’t believe the paratroopers held them, that must add a whole lot of added pressure to jumping! Very interesting read thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

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