Before we started riding the Enfield for real, we took some local advice and brought it around to the nearest Hindu temple for a puja. This is very common here; people bring bicycles and motorcycles to the temple all the time for a ritual blessing. Given the traffic and driving conditions here, we’ll take any advantage we can get.
The temple holy man had us park the machine in the proper spot, and purchase some flowers, floral garlands, coconuts and limes from a nearby vendor. He lit a spoonful of something on fire and wafted the smoke about the bike; we warmed our hands over the flame and then placed our hands over our hearts. Then, chanting all the while, he strung the garlands onto the front of the bike, and made various marks on the bike’s frame with kumkum. He placed the limes underneath the front wheel and instructed me to run them over, while he continued chanting.
Finally, he blessed us, placed a lotus blossom over the speedometer, and sent us on our way, with his business card and a request that we e-mail him the photos we had been taking throughout.
True: On the way home, we ran out of gas…