Good old days !!!

8:32:00 PM

Today, on my way to the temple i got to see something that has become a rarity these day(atleast in the cities): a scooter . And a Bajaj chetak at that. I found myself immediately visualizing a family of 4 riding happily to the market (or wherever).The father : a man with a moustache, glasses and a round helmet. The mother : demurely clad in a saree with jasmine on her hair ; a girl on the mothers lap and a boy standing in the front. That typically is an indian middle-class family (albeit of the 80's ,i must add).
This imagery transports me back to my childhood days when my father too owned a scooter ( yes, it was a chetak). I was his pet and he used to indulge me in a quick ride around the area whenever he could . Sometimes in the mornings he would offer to drop me at school and my happiness knew no bounds. I would quickly pack my stuff, look crisp in a freshly pressed set of uniforms and wait for my Dad to kick start the scooter and then hop on for the ride. I was one happy child, wasnt i .
And then there were the occasional rides to the market when my Dad would take me to the bakery. I think it was Henry & Woolsey Bakers and confectioners. The entire area wuld be heavy with the aroma from the bakery and the anticipation of a treat from there would reach frenzying heights by the time i reach. And my Dad would buy a little something always: a pretzel, or a cream roll, or an apple pie or a banana muffin. I would later be dropped back home beaming .
In the evenings around 8pm, my sister and i would wait for that distinct sound from the scooter that would announce the arrival of my Dad. THat was when he came back home from work and all of us in the family generally looked forward to it. it was a habit at home to sit down to dinner as a family and share stories from work , school, classes, the bus and from anywhere at all. And his arrival meant that it was time to lay the table for a mini faily get-to-gather.But during the days just after exam, the sound of his scooter always increased the anxiety levels. We had to get his signature on the exam papers and on quite a few occasions i have received more than just the signature.The same sound meant a home call during holidays. All we happy children, playing , had to get back home the moment the sound is heard. It was family time and all in the family had to be present .
My father has now graduated to a car and does not use the chetak anymore.However, he refuses to sell the scooter or give it away. FOr a while i thought he was being fussy. But when i heard the sound THe scooter again and instinctly turned to see if it was my father, i understood why he would not part with it. The scooter is actually older than i am (by a year) and carries so many memories on its rusty wheels that parting with it would be really a task. The sight and sound of the Ivory Chetak stands for times much happier than now in our family and i guess the scooter will just stay. Forever.

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