I loved her. I still do. In all certainty she was my first love. It isn’t that she lost her beauty or that her involvement with me deteoriated. She still looked charming. She could still surprise many with her maneuvers. But then I moved on.
I still remember the day she stepped into our home for the first time. Although, her name sounded masculine at first instance, she sure was a stunner. She was our ‘Chetak’ (from the stable of humara Bajaj). When I started writing, I was confused, whether to call our scooter a he or a she? Many things pointed at her being a handsome dude. The first, ofcourse, her stallion name. Then there was the kind of amazing number of riders who could ride, pillion and stand on it for the ‘ride’. I have never seen a family of five (sometimes six), on a scooter other than on a Chetak. But the most important differentiator was ‘the ride’ itself. It was the smooth yet dizzy feeling when riding her, which you get on your first date. The one-kick start was the nonchalant obedience of a young girl and the unconventional colors (in the early 80s’ – sea green and violet) in which it was available that made me decide to call it ‘my lady’.
Her first day at home was a day of mixed feelings. We were happy and sad. More happy than sad though. We had to give away our lean ‘Vijay’ Super to bring home this buxom babe. He served us for a long time. Vijay (Dinanath Chauhan, ha!!) had turned old and weary. To be truthful, orange was not an attractive color. But my father loved the color and ofcourse, Vijay. We did not mind either as long as we got our ice creams. But I guess, it was time to part with the orange old mate and get home this week’s writing piece.
It was love at first sight. Comparing her now, well, she had the broadness of a Latino brunette matched with the elegance of English lass from a Swedish finishing school. I simply could not take my eyes off her. I ran and stood on her front leg-stand and turned her mighty handle from left to right acting as if I am riding her, taking her to top speed and talking to the winds. I even pressed the horn button faking to clear the unseen traffic in front of me. Whenever our family of four took to the streets on her, I would be standing in front on the leg-stand put my hands on the handle and emulate my father fancifully as he rode her confidently.
The day I took her out for the first time, true to her name, she was behaving like a mare, but an untamed and wild one. It was a ride to remain fresh on my mind forever. According to me, I was riding just as my father does. After all, I practiced standing in front of him. But she was not running as she usually did. On the way, at the peak of her speed, she went out of control. We fell. I was worried about her more than myself. I brought her to her stands and looked all around her to check if she was okay. It was a big blow on the wall so I had to make sure she could run. I kicked her. Voila, she started! I was relieved but realized at that moment that I could not see through one eye. There was a jutting pain above my left eye and I was falling off my feet. Falling, we had slid together and just when I was about to get away, her mighty handle had hit me on the forehead and opened a 5-inch cut above my left eye.
I was still a boy. Only men rode a Chetak. Many people may disagree with me. Some may feel their ego being hurt. But who can deny ‘she’ sure took you for a ride? Still you love her.