Actor and motorcycle enthusiast John Abraham was recently in Kerala to launch a book about a bike journey from Kerala called The God Who Loved Motorbikes.
“I used to travel by train to Kerala and back and when I went to Jai Hind College, and I would not like it if anyone sat on my Yamaha RD 350. I would not mind how pretty the girl looked, but I did mind her sitting on my bike,” the Dhoom actor chuckles. “I don’t own an RD 350, I got mine from a Parsi for 17,500 and sold it for 21,000 and that’s how well I maintained it. But when I sold it, I cried and Hormuz Sorabjee will understand because I felt that a part of mine had gone,” he adds.
John says the only thing he missed buying was a bike he saw in the UK a decade ago. “It was a beautiful baby. It was a ’68 model – a pearl white one. I saw it ten years ago when I was shooting in Birmingham. The BSA factory was based there. It cost $24,000 at that time and transporting that would have cost me double to transport it here,” he rues.
The actor took a trip down to his dad’s house in God’s Own Country. “I spent one or two months of a year in Kerala every year of my life, barring the past 15 to 17 years, when I have been working here. It is a place called Alwai in Kerala where my father was born. We don’t have too many people there, but I keep going back there once in a while. I love the appams. The other part of my house is Bombay because my mom’s from here,” he shares.
Recalling his connection and love for Kerala, John says that it is a melting pot of cultures. “The beauty about Kerala is that you can see a temple, mosque and a church co-existing within ten metres of each other. Seeing what is happening to the world today, which is getting polarised, Kerala is an example of a place where religion and communities can co-exist so peacefully. The other extreme is that I remember when Fidel Castro died, there were posters and hoardings everywhere because I had been there at that time. Kerala has had these communist leanings for a very long time. My father also made me read a lot of Marxist philosophy, and there is a communist side in a lot of us Mallus,” recollects John.