The Urban Indian Steed (photo blog)
Sure, the number of automobiles on Indian roads has dramatically increased in the last 20 years but it still pales in comparison to the urban steeds that zip past lumbering 4-wheelers, zig & zag through gnarling traffic, and frustrate pedestrians when they get on the pavements in a bid to weave traffic jams. I’m referring of course to the timeless 2-wheelers of India – ranging from the venerable Bajaj scooters (a vanishing breed) to the automatic transmission scooters (Honda Activa & its kin) to the Royal Enfield Bullet (India’s Harley Davidson) to the ever evolving crop of 100cc/125cc/150cc motorcycles from Hero Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki & the indigenous Bajaj to the scooty (TVS-50 et al).
Between the LML Vespa scooter I used to ride in Jamshedpur (1992-94) and the Suzuki GS-700ES I used to ride during my Chicago years (1995-1998), I have fond memories of the ‘wind in my hair’ whether I used a Studds or a Shoei helmet. It may thus surprise the reader to discover that the rest of this blog (the photographs I’ve collated in the past 3 months) have nothing to do with ‘riding into the sunset’ motorcycle rider. Rather, it is about the diverse type (& number) of passengers and cargo that are laden behind the 2-wheeler’s driver. The concept of a ‘pillion’ itself is redefined in India – you can have a mom & two kids sitting in the traditional pillion seat or you can have 2-3 kids sitting on top of the motorcycle’s tank or you can have a 4-10 year old kid standing on the front footboard of a scooter. In my first month in Bangalore, I even saw a scooter-driving mom with an infant in a Baby Bjorn equivalent sling – I was too shocked to whip out my trusty camera in time. With all these examples, shouldn’t we call the urban Indian steeds as MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle)?
I present to you a few urban steeds in the din and roar of the Indian roads living up to their multi-purpose image.