5 on a Scooter and other tales

5 on a Scooter

Before the likes of Ford and Outlander, AWD and Cruise control, swanky silver gear and touchscreen consoles, it was the age of Bajaj – Hamara Bajaj.

The ultimate common man’s mode of transportation, that carried the 5 of us through the quiet cantonment of Ambala, and busy streets of Guwahati and Jorhat, skillfully maneuvered by my military Dad. It was the mid 90s, when my brother and sister hadn’t yet gone through a growth spurt. They would sit right in the front, while I would squeeze in between mom and dad. Later, as they grew taller, my sister would reluctantly sit with me (her straight hair flying in and out of my nostrils). While bro would regale in the front – remaining low and trying not to block dad’s view.

We sang ridiculous songs of the 90s, caressed cows when the traffic would halt at the signal, ignoring numerous warnings of my mom who had enough of the three playful monkeys.

I remember the time when I had moved to a new school and was supposed to board an Army school bus. The bus driver probably wasn’t aware of this change and didn’t stop at my location, twice in a row. On the third day, my dad accompanied me, with the scooter parked right beside us. When the bus didn’t stop, even after showing hand signals, my Dad jumped on the scooter. He asked me sit tight as we chased the bus down. All the way to the school.

It felt like a scene from a movie – the massive frame of Shaktiman (the school bus that every Indian Army kid is familiar with), and behind it – a timid scooter. MyΒ pigtail flying in the wind, breezing past rickshaws, autos and the usual morning traffic. That’s probably the fastest my ever-so-careful Dad had driven. And believe me, it was awesome. Pretty adventurous for a student who was bound by time tables and strict rules. And let’s just say that the driver never forgot to halt at my location πŸ˜…

The scooter still rests in our Garage, too bulky for anyone in the family to use.

It aged, along with us.

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The Milk-powder Thief

In the 90s when Milkmaid milk-powder made its first entry into our household, the three of us turned into the thieves of the night. Overnight, it turned into the most delicious and desirable item in my house, the cocaine of our existence. Each of us would separately sneak into the kitchen. We would then take out heaps of powder in a bowl, mix it with few drops of water to make a thick paste, and savour the sweet flavour. Often from the dark corners of the house, hiding, lest mom caught us in the deed.

A packet would barely last a week, slowly causing a dent in the monthly budget of a middle class family like ours. This went on for few months, until my Mom opened an Assamese newspaper and pointed at some random news, informing us that consuming more than two spoons of milk-powder caused cancer. That did scare us for good. And we probably ended up scaring half of our classmates too, by sharing this piece of shocking information.

I didn’t realize until I was in College that my Mom and her sisters had tricked us. πŸ˜›

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Meet the Boyfriend

The year was 2011, when the winter was slowly paving way for spring. My husband, then boyfriend, along with his Dad had for the first time stepped on the land of Assam, to meet my parents. After months of convincing and cajoling, my Dad had half heartedly agreed to meet the boy from Nagpur. I didn’t miss the opportunity and even before my Dad finished saying ‘Okay’, the tickets were booked for the next week.

My parents didn’t expect this sudden turn of events. My sister was summoned from Bhopal to clean the house and get the menu ready, my mom’s sisters were called in, along with more reinforcements from the village of Bonai. The whole household was buzzing with activities, even though they weren’t sure of the outcome. My mom spent nights painting the gate and the iron grills around the house. While, all this time, I was working in Chennai after exhausting all my leaves, staring at Java null pointer exceptions that my code was throwing.

As the fate may be, Assam Bandh was declared on the day of their arrival. Early in the morning, my husband got to see a mob blocking the main road, police and CRPF jawans positioned at various intersections. Not the kind of impression I had hoped for.

My Dad picked them up from the hotel and escorted them to our home. My mother’s sister, lovingly called Tun Mahi – the best cook in the family, had made her intentions pretty clear. She would cook only if she liked the boy, else it was up to my sister to take care of lunch.

As the car pulled into our front yard, the whole assembly of my sister, cousins and Mahi rushed towards the living room, stealthily peeping out of the window to catch a glimpse of the boy. Dressed in Blackberry suit and a fresh haircut, they saw him step out of the car. Mahi, took one look and walked away.Β Β ‘Let’s start cooking’, was all she said.

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Related Post : How I was tricked to go out on our first date?

 

Linking to Monday Musings

32 thoughts on “5 on a Scooter and other tales

  1. Such lovely heartwarming stories, Raj. We used to touch passing cows or autorickshaws on scooter too and we had a grey Bajaj too.
    Aah. My sisters and I loved milk powder too. But we would just have the powder as it is. I still have it, especially the satchets which are kept in hotel rooms. πŸ˜€

    1. Hahhaha you too. Milk powder seems to be every kid’s favorite. It was so delicious πŸ˜€
      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. I loved reading all the four tales – yes, I just visited that post about your first date ! I always enjoy reading your anecdotes, Raj…and most of the times, I have this big grin all through the post, as I had today!
    SOOOOOOOO cuteeee!
    Happy 10th anniversary to you guys!

  3. What cute stories! It was the same case with milk powder at my home. It was our grandparents who always brought a huge tin, it would get finished within days. It’s hard to keep control even today when we buy a packet sometimes. ^_^

    1. Hahaha my mom was out of her wits to find a solution to our rampant consumption πŸ˜€ looks like milkpower is a fav of every one

    1. I am glad she liked him too. Else that would have been different kind of war πŸ˜› Thank you.

  4. I have to tell you that I cheated. I only read the last story – meet the boyfriend. Assam can never have enough of bandhs. It has forever been the same as I recall of 80s when I lived there. Well for the account – it was sweet. Like Tulika, I loved how your mother’s sister all impressed called out let’s start cooking πŸ™‚

  5. Oh god the scooter ride; I used to be embaressed by it as eveyrone else in school came in big cars. I would sit between dad and mim while my sis would be in front; earlier it was me in front and her in mom’s lap. God I remember crouching down and how uncomfortable it was when it was my turn to be in the front.
    Raj you tell the most quirky tales possible and its such fun to read them. They stay with me long after and make me long to know you in real life! πŸ˜‰

    1. hahaha we all have had some memorable times on scooter πŸ˜€ It did get embarrassing after I turned 15 I guess πŸ˜› Thank you so much. I hope we meet someday πŸ˜€ It’s gonna be fun.

  6. Hahaha, so cute πŸ™‚

    Oh! I’m still so obsessed with milkpowder. I used to lick my finger and dip it into the jar to have a coat of it on my finger. I would then sit down to lick and relish it slowly!

    Also, what all did they cook? The foodie in me wants to know πŸ˜€

    1. they had prepared fish (and I had given special instructions to not cook anything in mustard oil), matar paneer, kofta, pulao, some other veg sabji, chicken and dessert … Everyone keeps telling me that was the best food ever cooked in our house πŸ˜›

  7. That last line was so very cute – Lets start cooking :-).
    I have plenty of memories of riding pillion on a scooter and I hated it because our pleated skirts would get all messed since my sister and I had to sit astride.

    1. yup after a point traveling in scooter did become embarrassing πŸ™‚ specially with the skirt flying everywhere πŸ™‚
      Thank you for stopping by.

  8. Milk powder “cocaine of our existence” -hillarious annecdote…
    Hamara Bajaj – i miss that ad !!
    And cooking being the mark of approval or liking- family tales are the best …

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