Sunday, September 28, 2008

Battalion Bajaj!

Ours is a very close knit family …so close that several years ago we often ended up crushing each other...

Well then, it was in the late 80’s and my dad had just bought his Bajajmobile. And often it was a ride much more spine-tingling than the real batmobile if you appreciate four souls precariously hanging to an engineering marvel called the Bajaj chetak. The sight in transition though was not exactly elegance personified…

The scooter itself stuttered on a feeble two stroke engine and to a large extent on pure luck…Petrol had to be spoon fed to the engine and it was devoured with sheer delight of a customer that always wanted more. If you are wondering, yes! one of the scooters that infamously consumed like half the supplies from Cochin refineries. The two kilometer ride from home to school was a feat which both Dad and scooter were fiercely proud of!

By the way I missed telling you that inspite of me finishing college several years ago with flying answer sheets at my face, my parents still go to school. Well they are not exactly weak in academics that still make them hurry from home with textbooks and lunch boxes in early mornings. They teach and instill intelligence in already intelligent people like me. For around five years four of us used to hurry to the same school and attend different classes in our beloved chethak.

As years went by, myself and bro had grown tall enough that made dad an exponent of something quite close to blindfolded scooter riding...Infact magician Muthukad was one of his first students. As we grew taller and bigger the chances of mom being pushed out from the rear end of the scooter increased alarmingly and therefore in a brilliant foresight from Dad to make me health conscious and for the greater good of the scooter(later on Mom and Bro was added to the list), he bought me a bicycle.

I had learnt cycling on a palukaaran* cycle at my native and folks who have learned cycling in one of those might know that if you ever fall from it, even the best buns in the world wont save you…A palukaaran’s cycle (brand?) is quite a monolith for 10 something kid and you are often not tall enough to ride while sitting on it. So when I got my Hercules MTB 2000 it was a sleek machine that allowed the Lance Armstrong in me to come out in full flourish.

The cycle was my companion for six years taking me to school, tuition classes, church on Sunday’s and errands for home…Hercules was no Greek for me but a good cycle buddy!

Well as years passed and while I was done with school I aspired for meaner machines…As all good son’s do it , I went to dad and asked for a car….And like all good dad’s who show their son’s their rightful place which I until then thought was a Merc, gave me the keys of the vintage, crippled and barely alive scooter…And for four years that beloved piece of relic instilled fear among Yamaha’s and Pulsar’s in the streets of Trivandrum….She often was the cause of dilemma’s and I remember once friends coming up with the preposterous idea of stripping her to create a two stroke engine test rig for our engineering project. Doing such a crime to someone who had always stood by me inspite of her punctures and occasional mood swings (during which she would refuse to start up). I couldn’t...I couldn’t do it to the sparkplug of my life.

And today four years later, I aspire for a bigger four wheeler. As I see young families with kids going through the same 'cycle' of aspirations as I went through several years ago it leaves a tinge of nostalgia...of Hamara Bajaj and the rides bygone..

P.S. Both the scooter and cycle was sold off…I sort of wish if I could ride them one last time.

Listening to Maksim


Vinod V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What about the hi-fi 'beep-beep but no blink' advanced navigation handling feature? What about the duel between BC and the sodakuppi auto near Pattom junction? What about the plastic surgery you did to it to remove the carrier to give it a contemporary look? OMG, You should have written this article long time ago: you are missing out on a lot many things. You even added an extra H to its name :O

mathew said...

hahaha...John Abraham ennu peru olla etho oruthaan dhoom ennu etho oru padathil ithu upyogichottei ennu chodichathaa...pinee I had to decline that...because it was too advance for him..It has an advanced GPS system too..even if I planned to go to PMG it would navigate itself to KDPuram due to a bent fork!!artifical intelligence you could say that..

"beep beep but no blink " athu aalkaare pattikaan olla oru technique was a feature and not a liability..

Scooter saga's ezuthaan aanengil it would be an epic..if we include the skit practice trips too..;-P

silverine said...


Very heartwarming and cute post. Shows a lot of affection for the Bajaj! I was in a bad mood after having written a vitriolic post for TP to be published today. This made me laugh so much! Thanks!

"The two kilometer ride from home to school was a feat which both Dad and scooter were fiercely proud of!"

"I remember once friends coming up with the preposterous idea of stripping her to create a two stroke engine test rig for our engineering project."


Anonymous said...

Aww this was good. And I still am in the cycle-zone! So the Bajaj for me would be a step up. Lucky you!

thomas said...

That so sounded 80ish. I still see a handful of Chetaks in the roads of Tvm; as my friend puts it, some people get an adrenaline rush by riding this mean machine which even a Ferrari can't give. Hey I too had a Hercules MTB, it was my main mode of transportation; it was sold to some aakri some years back.

scorpiogenius said...

Nice warm post with all that trademark spark touch!

the hamara bajaj saga is finally coming to an end in India, dont you think. bcoz Nano is going to sweep out all those 2 wheelie goldies from our roads. hamara nano...

I tried my skills with my uncle's Vespa once, but doono why, the hand geared scooter never agreed with me. I just graduated from the Kinetic to Activa, thats all...

Abhi said...

You know what, the first image that come to my mind when i think of you is your family on the scooter with you bending your knees to stand in the front and ur dad trying to see what's in front of him on the road even with his height :). I also had such a love affair with my dad's bajaj super and later hero honda splendor until i got my own yamaha :). Really gr8 post. Made me remember all those instances when i raced pulsar's from pmg to kdpuram or ullor with my loduk super:). Ah those were the best days of my life :p. Very nostalgic, could relate to a lot of instances :d.

mathew said...

Thank you..:-)
The Bajaj is now in a high security enclosure at the "Historic museum of Vintage Indian tranport corporation"

Wow..I feel like having a cycle now...esp to ride the avenue in Kowdiar should be a pleasure..

Your friend is so correct..The adrenalin rush is esp high when you never know about the brakes that works only it feels like..

So I guess we can have an Hercules MTB Club and give the Harley's club a run for their money..;-P

Will it??...Hamara Nano aano Mamatayude Nano aano ennu oru doubt...

Driving a Vespa is a cakewalk compared to the Bajaj..

Yes it was exactly like that..:-)
Unfortunately scooter was not the in-thing those days..The pleasure of riding a scooter is so different from the bike..I love both...

Dhanya said...

A nostalgic post indeed.. I remember once me n my friend took her 2 cousins around in my kinetic. The kids were around 5 and 8 and it was like ur desc of close to blindfolded driving and every body was staring at us. My friend was commenting if I were a male people would discard it off as a happy family with 2 kids ;)
But yeh I miss both my cycle n kini now :(

Mishmash ! said...

"Hamara kal,hamara aaj......hamara bajaj...." i loved that ad and still one of my fav...i had to view that again after reading ur post ! :)

Ours was a chetak scooter family too....we used to ride continuoulsy for 1 1/2 hrs in that to go to our tharavadu...but later , for fear of mummy being pushed out and my bro getting a "koonu" (as he had to bent a lot), we started depending our KSTC bus...:)

very sweet post wrapped with signature spark touch :)


anN-series said...

OH MY abt similar childhood father had a bajaj chetak and all four of us wud plonk ourselves on it and then (wen our combined weight hurt his back)father got chech her cycle...then we graduated to a car...but even today when father sees a family of 4 on a scooter, he says there is us 15 yrs back...
but given a choice i still like a pillion ride on a bike or a ride on the scooty i had(with which i crashlanded into 2 unsuspecting uncles) than an air-conditioned car

Rahul Nair said...

.. and u forgot how the scooter had to be tilted to get it started.. it was quite a sght on the roads and my home as wel..

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Good one.
Fultoo down the memory lane types.
Did u miss cherikking the vehicle?


Anonymous said...

A small piece of beauty,of a less inhibited life.
For that two wheeler causing traffic probs in trivandrum,ha ha and hats off to your dad.He is awesome.I think if a good life exist on this earth today,its only because of them..So much practical and simple hearts..!!(appo mathew aayirinnu pattom area yile traffic problem..ethra thavana nadurottil kuthiyirunnu ? sathyam parayunnathaanu nallathu !?)

Anonymous said...

Ours was a lambretta in the late 70s and then a Bajaj in 80s. Luckily I was the only child so not too much of squeezing in between. Still feel stupid on how proudly I used to stand holding the handle and thinking I was helping dad to drive ;-)

PS: commenting on others blogs scares me now :P

Divs said...

I remember dad's Bajaj Priya and how i used to sit in the front n balance.. :)
Then it was this weird bicycle (second hand) in which i learnt cycling..
Grandma bought me my Hero Gen X .. That i used thru high school and even 11th std.. Graduated to bike by 12th... :)

Hehee.. I can see a lot many "features" of your bike being listed by your friends.. :P

Anonymous said...

"By the way I missed telling you that inspite of me finishing college several years ago with flying answer sheets at my face, my parents still go to school."


How do we know said...

ha ha!! Totally cool post!

Arunima said...

quite sweet.

Arby K said...

Reminded me a TVS Scooty one of my friends had in high school. He and one of our classmates used to come to school on that. The fact that both of them weighed well over 80 made it a bit scary. They even tried to go triples with an equally "muscular" classmate. Fortunately, they got in the way of PC Thomas (Entrance Coaching) and got chastised for their stunt.

Pooja Nair said...

This has a nice "wonder years" quality to it!
Enjoyed it! :)

mathew said...

LOL!! But nothing beats the trips when three guys used to sit on the scooter and it moved at a agonizing pace...that was a sight to behold!! Hehehe…

@ Mishmash
Thank you….Seems like most bloggers do have some Bajaj links!!:-D
1 1/2 hrs that must have been some strain on the back…I cannot think of traveling that long on a scooter..

Well every dad is proud to remind you of harder times and how they made a differ-ence…hehehe..
I do like a bike ride provided the weather and the road is good…But given the state of affairs of both in most roads I don’t have a choice…

Well it was not that easy…as mentioned earlier my scooter was a bit more advanced...I had to often clean up the air filter and some other adjustments before even reaching the stage of tilt-and-start!! :-D

@ Nikhil
Cherriking is step 5 in the list of how to start my Bajaj Chetak!! :-D

@ Ann
LOL!! Actually it was indeed a feat if the scooter managed to reach till pattom…that hap-pened when it was in the best of health…

I love that scooter…I haven’t seen a lambretta for years…Every kid must have felt the same as the captain of a scooter!! :-)

@ Divs
yes..yes…most of the features are familiar to them..
I have requested them to keep some of the advanced features for themselves…:-P

@ nimmi

@ How do we know

thank you..

@ Arby K
Triples on a scooty..that’s heights…hehehe,,
Triples on a scooter or a bike is believeable…pakshe oru scootyude podi pollum baaki kaanilla…;-P

thanks… :-)
I don’t remember how you got to school those days..

ap said...

We had a Lamby....and I had a Hercules MTB too .. :)

VIDYA said...

woeeyy... this is a real nostalgic post, infact i was just thinking of my 'lady bird' cycle yest.

and the parents go to school thing, same pinch same pinch, my mom still goes to school though iam in college, haha! :D i feel so wicked.

Anonymous said...

I remember my relatives dring Lamby and Priya scooters around. Bajaj was very common and LML Vespa was like "OMG this is so cool!"

Anonymous said...

are you Mathew sir and Lily ma'am's son?

if so I have seen you guys being dropped at the day-care near Zion cottage in LIC lane when you were like 2 or 3 years old :-)...You guys didn't even measure up to Mathew's sir's knee......hahaha

much fun

mathew said...

Lamby was a like atruck in disguise as a scooter!!;-P

LOL!!..mine still got to school..

yes..yes..LML was like the karizma of today's bikes..

@blewgenes did you make out that!!

and I was a brilliant student at the Tiny Tots in LIC lane..hehehe..

Are u an ex-KVPian too..

Pooja Nair said...

Remember those airforce school bus coaches...:)

Deepti said...

The first thing that came to mind was the song " Bulandh bharat ki bulandh Tasveer .. humara Bajaj"!!
Nice heart warming post .. My relic Scooty still around though :d

T F Carthick said...

Nice post. A scooter is the icon of the 80's. Quite nostalgic reading you post. Though I or my dad never had a scooter, my uncles had one and a guy in college had an old scooter like yours that was the butt of numerous jokes over the 4 years.

flaashgordon said...

Ah ! the chetak. Nostalgic one for me too. Same story here, well guess me too did spend quite a lot of my childhood standing on that specially designed space between the handlebar and the front seat of a bajaj. The entire family of 5 managed to get everywhere on it. Graduated to the ubiquitous BSA SLR and later while in engg college got part possession of the bajaj. Finally in 3rd yr of engg got my Kawasaki KB125..well still a Bajaj!

VMJ said...

Awesome post. Although i must say that bajaj of yours deserve a more detailed tribute, considering the adventures you had in it.
It even took the blow of that soda company jeep and let you get away with a few scratches and me with not even that. :)
And that really was a damn good idea to use your chetak for the project man, the one we finally modified(destroyed rather) for the purpose used to ride better than yours. :)
and yes of course a vespa is incomparible with a chetak, hehe.

mathew said...

oh yeah...i remember now.. :-D

Scooty was such a hot product when it was out..i think lost a good deal of glamour with activa around..

@The Fool
sorry..can I call you Joe.. ;-P
dont ask me the jokes me and the scooter has suffered in college..even now if you see two commenters who have actually travelled in it once..

hehehe..hey so glad you peeped in it has been really long since i read a post of yours..miss it..

BSA SLR..athu ekke herculesinte munil verrum sishu.. ;-P

pakshe 5 in a Bajaj..sathyam paryaallo..a new found respect for you!!

Yes..Vinod has very well mentioned that in the first comment..and few scratchesoo? Just because I had a steel frame body rakshapettu...and you were saved because of the sturdy design of the scooter..

But the project scooter costed just 3k...My scooter was much more worth than that..

atleast oru 100 rupaa engillum kooduthal..onnu samathikaddei.. ;-D

Anonymous said...

The brilliant kochu of Tiny Tots :)

Yes, I'm ex-KVPian. And a huge admirer of your parents as both of them have taught me. They laid such a good foundation for us, that it is just incredible! [Sir taught us with so much dedication that a few of us got 99% in Bio in 12th boards and I even got Medical seat without preparing or going to coaching classes for the entrance cool is that.]

mathew said...

They will be very happy to hear it..:-)

Anonymous said...

Hey here through brogroll and I am in total love of this blog!!! Keep up the good work, it is amazing how much I laughed at all ur posts

Anonymous said...

Bajaj makes sub standard products and tries to sell it in the name of India.