The thrill of the first vehicle(s) and those nostalgic first ride(s)


Driving my own SUV, I thank God for giving me more than what I asked for. Could I ever have imagined during my growing up days that not just I, but all the members in the family would have their own personal cars?

It may be common today for most middle class families to own multiple vehicles but back then in 70s, forget about a car; even owing a scooter was a big deal. I can’t forget how we waited excitedly for months together for the first scooter. (No off the shelf delivery but an advance booking of six months) .What was most remarkable was that the two-wheeler was not driven home but ‘Hamara Bajaj’ arrived mounted on a lorry. The reason: father didn’t know driving.

In early 80s when I got married, my husband was a proud owner of an old Lambretta scooter that he drove with flair. Perched on the scooter, I felt on the top of the world as I went around on rides with him. Blissfully unaware of the chipping paint and the shoddy seats of the scooter we were quite happy with our gaddi (vehicle) till the time a friend pointed out, “Don’t you think your vehicle needs a change?”

We decided to say good-bye to our trusted scooter and thought of graduating to a car. A new car was out of reach and hence began a frantic search for a second hand car. Finally a Fiat car, as good as a new, was bought for a hefty sum of sixty-five thousand rupees. So in early 80s we became a proud owner of a car that was driven home, not by my husband but a friend. I can’t really forget the first car ride when the vehicle stalled in the middle of the road causing a sort of traffic jam. Equally memorable, more like an adventure was the highway drive when we ventured out of the city for the first time. All through the journey from Chandigarh to Kapurthala, I sat alert but during the return journey was so relaxed and confident of my husband’s driving skills that I dozed off.

It was in early 90s that we replaced the good old Fiat for a brand new Maruti 800. It looked so small and fragile in comparison to the sturdy Ambassador and Fiat, queer like a soap-case running on road. I can’t help recalling an interesting episode of early Maruti days. While we were enjoying an elephant ride in Chhatbir zoo, the mahout told us that the elephant found the Maruti plying on the road so fascinating that the moment it spotted one, it started chasing it. Imagine our plight and fright to learn about the peculiar bevariour of the animal, nevertheless, remarkable that even the elephant could not resist the attractive, cute little thing.

That was almost three decades ago. Over the years we have upgraded to swanky sedans but nothing can compare with the thrill of the first two-wheeler and the first four-wheeler. Absolutely nostalgic are the memories of the first ride(s)!

(Published in HT Chandigarh Sunday Read  on 16 June 2019 )

18 Replies to “The thrill of the first vehicle(s) and those nostalgic first ride(s)”

  1. It is very emotional,madam. Life has changed a lot from our childhood till now but its remembrance is very sweet,nostalgic.

      1. Very nostalgic indeed. Society today has undergone a sea change. But the thrill of a scooter driven pleasure was great on Chandigarh roads 👍

  2. Rama what a wonderful journey down the memory lane….I could relate to it completely….I wouldlike to add to this…my best rides were my rickshaw rides when I would feel so carefree and as I got some respite from wailing kids and other responsibilities and glide like a queen on the roads.
    Loved your article Rama.Keep it up dear.!!!!

    1. What a wonderful description Madhu! With smile on my face I am visualising the ‘queen on road’.

  3. Your article reminded me of my journey from a bicycle to a car. In fact those days this was very common with teachers everywhere with a few exceptions. Life was quite simple. No doubt your article is very nostalgic and at the same time picturesque.

    1. Very right Mrs Dhamija. Cycle was the most common mode of conveyance in 70s. When we bought a scooter , my father didn’t know how to drive a scooter.In fact , he was so comfortable with his cycle that he never felt the need to learn driving a scooter.

  4. Wonderful article Rama. I’m reminded of my brothers bullet!! How the dug dug sound use to thrill whole family. Really well worded well thought of topic. God bless you always keep writing 😍

  5. Those days really one scooter and all riding together anjoying every weather I really miss those days.

  6. Well done Rama.Your article evoked a nostalgic feeling in me as well.In seventies when I used to have severe asthma attacks and felt very claustrophobic in the house,my husband used to take me for a scooter ride.

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