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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Teda hai par mera hai 

India has come a long way from the 80’s time when the epitome of a child’s aspirations were a BSA SLR bicycle, a wad Wrigley’s chewing gum, a Mon Ami pen set and perhaps a North Star pair of shoes. However for most adult males, ownership of any of the famed Priya, Chetak, Super or Classic set of Bajaj scooters was sufficient to grant a visible halo of middle-class respectability, familial attachment and belonging and rootedness that languidly promised upward mobility. At a time where even colour TVs were indeed an owner’s envy, four-wheelers were beyond reach and most took succour and grudging pride in these odd-shaped vehicles.

So when the Bajaj group announced their decision to move away from manufacture of all scooters this week, it does perhaps herald the passing of an age. A move away from a comfortable familiarity, a diffident aspiration and a compromised ambition, for good. For sheer symbolism, nothing quite served as a tempered conduit for India’s grounded dreams to reach through to acquisitiveness and materialism.

Santosh Desai looks back at some of these memories in an evocative piece



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