What a bike without handlebars? No, not the uni-wheel at a circus. That’s right a two wheeler without handle bars, the rider and four passengers. Only in a fantastic dream. This is one ghost of a dream I don’t wish to banish. It plays out occasionally which helps me recall colorful details. I don’t believe my uncle, Kaka, the rider, ever owned a bicycle in the first place. Though I heard it been told that when the family, seeking desperately to eek out an existence, started a home soap making operation, Kaka sometimes drove the three wheeled box cart they used for making deliveries. But that’s a story for another time. By the way, I ought to tell you that the dreams I write about, visit in the waking hours of the night, which makes recalling them easier. As if I just lived in one. That morning Kaka as usual, which is entirely untrue, started out on his bicycle for the ride to the train station, where he intended to catch a train for the ride into the city where he worked. He was going to escort my three cousins and I up to the city railway hub and see us safely ontoh a bus that would take us the rest of the way to yet another cousin’s home to join in the “bhai phota” festivities. Bengalis girls celebrate an additional tradition like Rakhee to wish long life and prosperity for their brothers. That’s quite a challenge and task; five of us on a bicycle, what a feat. I have heard and seen upto three folks on a bicycle quite regularly. But five? Yes, at the annual ruckus of a visit to the circus. Most of our family outings were large, loud, boisterous, and eventful. I remember every detail of the riding arrangement. My two leanest cousins on the back carriage rest. I hope the reader is familiar with the design of a common bicycle. My stouter cousin on the center bar between the rider and the handle bars. And myself balanced acrobatically, my tush resting tentatively on the handle bar, my feet astride across the front wheel, with the heels of my feet resting on the ends of the front axel. PHEW ! No, not because I am out of breadth; only that I finished giving you a detailed description of the seating arrangements. Kaka pushed off and pedaled with little effort. The first surprise came when the road became suddenly steep. The familiar route to the station was flat. What was happening? Kaka had not made a wrong turn. Actually no turns at all on the route. A little winding, but positively no turns. Soon loose stones replaced the concrete surface. The ride became bumpy and risky. Still Kaka pedaled on with most of the complaining coming from my cousins on the rear seat. Bicycles don’t have great shock absorbers. Sweat broke out and drenched his back. My heels struggled to keep their hold on the axle nuts. At one point I lurched right and knocked the bell off. My stout cousin gently smacked my head. She was not one given to inflicting harsh punishment. Now the stoney road was definetly a very, very steep rise, not possible for a bicycle to surmount. Looking up to the top we noticed the train tracks at the summit. How was that possible! Were we supposed to climb the rising embankment to avail the train. Kaka, the bicycle, and all of us began to wheel downards, the front wheel having entered a deep rut heading downhill. The strangest thing was yet to happen. Suddenly the handle bars broke off, sending me spiraling down the slope. How was Kaka still free wheeling down hill with no handle bars for steering. My cousin’s were glancing backwards looking at me come charging down the slope, after I had gotten up and began to give them chase. High above a coal locomotive was chugging along, traveling east, in the direction of the city hub. But the only trains that run on our tracks where electric trains. With the only train station way above us up the steep embankment, there was absolutely no chance for us to board it. There in plain view, we saw the steaming engine now riding away on the cantilever bridge that spanned the river that lay ahead of us. Exactly at that time I feel the water from the river splashing my face. I am awake.