A Kashmiri family travels on a scooter in Srinagar August 13, 2008. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

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.”