By Anurag Kotoky and Nivedita Bhattacharjee
About four decades ago, when the world was swinging along with the Beatles and Bob Dylan, India got her first female Prime Minister, and a large part of the Indian middle class drove in the change on the Bajaj scooter, the telling epitome of prosperity then.
The humble two-wheeler was seen everywhere from Bollywood movies to your own garage, and was more a part of the family than the current muscular, jazzy Pulsar (also from Bajaj) which you don’t even have to kick-start.
Earlier this month, when Indian media reported Bajaj Auto Ltd’s decision to stop scooter production, it struck a chord with many.
“When I bought the first Bajaj Vespa, neighbours came in to take a look — it was a celebration,” says Pinaki Dutta, who bought his scooter in 1986, and still rides it.
“But I can’t picture either of my sons agreeing on riding a scooter by any stretch of imagination. It’s an obsolete option for them, a status climb-down for them.”