Friday, August 13, 2010

Scooter, car or whatever

Scooter, car or whatever…

One afternoon she came zooming and stopped in front of the gate and honked, I ran out deliriously delighted and planked myself on the back seat. Even before my mother could raise an objectionable finger at us we had vanished! Giggling away to glory, the fresh air running through our hair, the bell bottomed pants flapping like flags, there we were once again taking a jolly ride on the scooter.
As we criss-crossed the by-lanes of Bangalore,(India) my friend stomping the brake as a skinny wrinkled old woman (a road-side dweller) tried to cross the road in front of our scooter & fell down acting as though the scooter had hit her!!!!!!!!! We were no way in a malevolent mood; it was just two teenagers taking a jolly ride. God! How we came out of it is yet another story.

Boys are boys. You will all agree with me after reading this. My friend & I were getting into a parking lot in one of the theatres and there were a group of boys standing nearby, one guy teasingly commented seeing my friend, ‘Which brand of rice does her mother give her daily?’ Telepathically I slid to the front seat to hold the handle of the scooter as my friend went straight up to them and whacked that boy with her helmet and without uttering a word came back to the scooter and we both sped off to another theatre! Such was our dare devil attitude those days!
The other ritual that was religiously practiced was if anyone bought a new scooter everybody would take a test ride. When it came to my turn my cousins would scream to the neighbors asking them not to come out since I was on the road. Those were the carefree memories of my teenage life.

The scooter came in all colors and brands those days. Back then having a scooter at home was a big thing! The inevitable first question would be, ‘Is it a show room vehicle or a second hand?’ And everybody I knew had either of them. Especially my cousins and the other common practice were going straight for the mirror to comb their hair after parking their respective scooters.
One of my cousins had a record for ‘missing maidens’ on the streets of Bangalore. Thanks to his notorious ways of riding a scooter. The minute the keys got turned on, his scooter would gallop like a horse and whoever sat behind him did that on their own will and wish or risk! His track record of taking off not realizing that the pillion rider had already fallen off with a thud and bruised bottoms was a butt of all jokes during festive times!

VESPA SET TO HIT THE ROADS, the headlines in a box full of information in GDN has prompted me to write about this two wheel wonder which I was so used to back in the 70s.
Scooters in Bahrain, my eye brows still raised I wondered how one can obtain their licenses.
With my Herculean task of getting a driving license for a four wheeler let my imagination run wild if ever I have to get a license for the Vespa scooter!!!! And that too with a Bahraini instructor, well… here I come.

Before I say anything further, the first thing I noticed in the GDN picture was whether the scooter had two seats. No, there was one long seat. Presuming that the instructors have a scooter with separate seats, I will write further. Wait, how will they sit? How will they manage to lift their legs with their long white robes? Oh, that’s not my problem.

Here comes my first instructor.
Taking me all the way to the driving school, enters a field and gets down keeping two cones on the field and asks me to take a reverse and walks off. “Sorry man, you cant take me for a ride this time, this is a two wheeler”, so saying to myself I take the scooter in circles until he turns back and looks at me from the ‘old people’s canopy’( I have nick named it) and comes back and decides to take me on the hill.
“Bress’,‘Give petrol, bress pbress”. He screams. Am not disturbed, I do my own thing and go over the hill and come smoothly riding downhill much to his exasperation. “Old man, this is a scooter, not your car. It is my turn now; hahaa… every dog has its day, remember?” I murmur.

Here comes my second instructor.
Go straight, take a left turn, get into this lane, go… go straight, now stop. So saying this instructor goes to shop for an African Grey! Comes back with one and asks me to start. As I ride my way through the by lanes he tries to play with the bird and what happens next, prrrrrrrrr… the bird flies away. “Old man, you deserve it for buying an endangered species and that too when it is banned in Bahrain. Remember the day you had let loose that bird when I was driving your car and how terrified both the bird and I were when it flew helter-skelter and you had the last laugh and now it is my turn to laugh. Thank you God.” I whispered to myself. “Whatever you could do sitting inside your car, you cannot do the same sitting on a two wheeler, gentleman” I tell him.

Next is the turn of my third instructor.
“I want to eat the apple, can you give me?” He had to ask me. “Sorry, I cannot give, I cannot let go of my hands from the handle”. “Ok, at least pass me the newspaper so that I can read.” “Wait till I stop at a signal”, I say. When I pass that newspaper, he takes it and tries to flip through the pages, what happens? The Shamal winds of Bahrain blow them off. I chuckle seeing his helpless anger. I raise one side of my chin with a sarcastic grin and tell him,” You cannot read a newspaper, this is a scooter”.

My fourth instructor comes and takes me for a ride one morning and while dropping me back announces that from tomorrow he is not coming because Juffair is out of country, very far!

Wait, you men, till I get my license for a car and not the Vespa scooter that’s been advertised in the GDN and if at all I get a glimpse of you guys fooling another gullible beginner, I will go straight up to the authorities to complain. I will say this when I have my driving license in my hand. Just wait, days are not far off.

Lastly, I think scooters are meant for teenagers and their partners with groovy attitudes and not for the 40 some things with shapeless bodies and hanging bottoms to say the least!

I got my driving license a year back with the help of my 5th, this time a lady instructor! Complaining to the authority…that has to wait as I’ve got wings and enjoying my freedom now!


  1. Congratulations Asha! Welcome to the world of blogging! I enjoyed reading your first article!


  2. Hi Asha,

    Kabini jungle resort story brought back my memory when i had visited the same place with Anirudh (Husband)& 11 months old Pranav as part of his office annual trip.

    I recalled how i enjoyed Water & Jeep safari, cottage room & yummy food 3 years back.

    I still remember my baby stiing on the net & capturing in camera
    Also horrifying experience when one of Anirudh's friend head got stuck in the net when he was sitting there & how he managed to come out of it.

    Very interesting article indeed !!!


  3. Thanks Roopa for writing in!