It was after the unfurling of the flag at the Republic Day function, I notice a stall put up nearby, allowing people to test drive scooters. I go over, and realize it’s been over three decades I’d ridden one, but watch the salesman tell a customer, “Just press the switch!” He does and a noiseless battery-operated engine whisks him away.
“Wow” I think as my memory travels back forty years to my old Lamby. If she had had a self -starter like this she would I’m sure have lasted a few decades more. Every kick I gave her knocked off a few years of her life. She was already more than twenty years past her prime when I bought her. We rode back on her, my brother and I, in second gear, since the mechanic from whom I had bought her informed us after we had paid him, there was something wrong with her third gear. There was of course no fourth gear; those Nineteen Fifty-Eight models came with only three!
There were a few other differences that made her look different from her sisters on the road; her head light wasn’t on the handlebar, but fixed on the front panel, and her handlebar had cables springing out, which showed the whole world, her brake and clutch wires.
It took a while each morning to wake her from her deep slumber, till one day I found it was a waste putting so much effort kicking her into submission and instead got my younger brother to push while I sat in majestic splendour till the old engine spluttered to life, and then he would jump pillion and we would ride into the wild west for a few kilometres, till she ran out of gas!
One day the side shield fell off. It made such a clanging noise on the road, that a policeman started blowing his whistle hysterically. We put it back, but found the old spring which kept the shield in place was no more. A cycle tube was then fitted round the cover to hold everything in place. It looked a little odd to others but, it worked didn’t it?
And then one day the kick starter fell off.
With kick starter gone, she lay in my backyard; till one day an onion merchant friend of my father offered to buy her. Reluctantly I gave in and it wasn’t the onion smell from his shirt that filled my eyes with tears as he led her away.
I watch this new battery-operated scooter near the unfurled flag today. and my thoughts go to you dear reader, “Will you laugh with me today at some ancient machine you once had, your first car, bike, or ancient cycle? It’s wonderful to do so, than be like many who complain of tough childhoods! Instead, let’s praise our Creator for lovely memories He let us have..!”
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