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Girls on scooters whiz across

Corona and the subsequent lockdown has overwhelmed our psyche changing the narrative altogether. But away from the virus and the pandemic , let me recall the happy times .

Scores of girls speeding on their scooters is a common sight in urban India today. Perched smartly on their two wheelers, confidently negotiating chaotic traffic on roads, girls are on their own. Thanks to the light scooters without gears, girls today enjoy far greater independent mobility than the women in the past. Independently, they crisscross the city while commuting for education, employment, shopping and recreation. In fact, the two Ms which have contributed significantly to women ‘liberation quotient’ are –‘Mobile phone ’ and ‘Mobility’. Of course, girls do drive cars but for the majority, these are the scooters which provide mobility.

I am envious of these young, enthusiastic female scooter riders whose speed and alacrity amazes me .The moment the traffic light turns green, the girls on their scooters whiz across the road while I still struggle to get my car moving in the traffic. Their swiftness at the traffic signal baffles me, but what rattles me is their attire. A majority of the female scooter riders do not wear helmets but keep their faces thoroughly covered. Evidently skull safety does not bother them. It is the skin protection which is their priority.

As these smart girls on their scooters zoom past me, I can not help recalling my own college days when majority of us boarded the college bus or cycled our way to the college. Of course, two-wheelers were there in late 70s but were the preserve of men, certainly not for girls to drive. In  pre-Maruti days, not many cars could be spotted on city roads. Not only were the cars rare, but were used sparingly. Only a couple of girls had the luxury of chauffer driven cars for commuting. I remember one of them was the daughter of Deputy Commissioner of Jalandhar who would be dropped and picked up from the college in a white Ambassador with the red beacon on the top. It is another matter that at that time I was not aware whether it was use or misuse of the official car.

In contrast to my college days when the humble bicycle used to be the personal mode of conveyance for us, today the auto-geared scooters have caught the fancy of the college girls who have patronized these light two-wheelers in a big way. In not too distant a past, every college had a cycle-stand where scores of bicycles used to be lined up; when one bicycle fell the rest tumbled down one after another.

Today cycles have disappeared from the landscape of the colleges; instead we have an array of fancy scooters of all hues and make. Cycles might have vanished from the stand but as a hangover of the past, in common parlance the stand continues to be labeled as ‘cycle stand’. Even today colleges have a place designated as ‘Cycle Stand’ but of course, minus the cycles.

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Rama Kashyap

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Chander Kiran
Chander Kiran(@chander-kiran)
1 year ago

Dear Rama, welcome at this site….I love to read your crispy posts ..so relevant and apt…you are observant ..have the right words and apt expression …keep it up dear

Ushasurya
Ushasurya(@ushasurya)
1 year ago

Rama Kashyap
I just cannot but envy these dare devil girls on two wheelers. Though it is a common sight today and a utility device, it must have been a thrilling experience in the beginning !!
To feel the wind or rain drops on the face must be real fun!!!!

Ushasurya
Ushasurya(@ushasurya)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rama Kashyap

Rama
I am looking forward to reading that piece !!
Please…no “ji” suffix after my name :)))

Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi(@bakshink)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ushasurya

It took a while for the humble Scooty to get accepted in North India especially, where people carry a false sense of pride for material possession and utility angle is chucked out of window. Boys would prefer to have a Mobike in place of a scooter, but perceptions changed as utility aspect got driven home. I remember there were times when not many brands were available, Bullet was the first choice with boys and Rajdoot ( the only other brand) would make one a laughing stock. When Bajaj scooter started gaining acceptance, another brand, Vijay Deluxe would struggle to sell. And in those days, my friend bought a Vicky which was somewhere between a bicycle and and a Scooter. He was more than 6 ft tall and I would ride pillion with him to Engineering college. 🙂

Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi(@bakshink)
1 year ago

Thanks Rama ji. For us, anything that you post here will be new. Many of my other acquaintances have posted some of the articles from their archives. Since it is a new site, the visits from the people are more important than anything else. You can post from your old stock anything that you would like to share here. Btw, if you have some other colleagues or some young students you have taught, who might be testing their wings in this vast field of creativity, you can ask them to come to take test flight, since the sky here at present is very free.

Navneet Bakshi
Navneet Bakshi(@bakshink)
1 year ago

Hello Ramaji, Scooters or Scooties give the girls the freedom and convenience. They don’t have to hire/share three wheelers which they don’t feel safe in and comfortable with, so if they can avoid and if they can afford to have a conveyance of their own, they would prefer to go for that. As regards wearing a helmet, whether head is more important than face is debatable. I think when they are young, face is more important :). I haven’t seen the inside of a college ever since I left it, but I remember in those days, there were huge bicycle stands in the in the colleges. I didn’t know that they are still called Cycle stands.

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