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Scooter and me

I had started using the scooter from 1961 when father bought a Vespa Two Wheeler for just Rs.3,000. I learnt to ride within a few weeks. For over 40 years I used the scooter for commuting and rarely used the public transport. During those years I hardly met with an accident and had never broken a bone. I changed scooters four times and had also used Mopeds on several occasions. I had three of them over the years. Ambika and the scooter have a strange affinity. A few incidents come to my mind apart from the above mentioned incident in this connection. When the children were quite young I normally traveled on the scooter with Jaya and children when we went outing because I found it more convenient than traveling by bus or auto which were never available when we needed one. While I drive Supriya would perch in front in the leg space, Jaya with Ambika in her lap and Raji would sit on the pillion. A few times Raji would stay back at home when Ambika would be sitting between me and Jaya. One evening when we were on an outing on the scooter Jaya was sitting at the edge of the pillion with Ambika in between me and her slipped on the road without my knowing it. A minute after this Ambika who would have been about four years old drew my attention and casually mentioned that ‘amma has fallen on the road’ as if it was the commonest thing to have happened. I was shocked on hearing this and stopped the vehicle and rushed to her. Fortunately nothing much happened to her. The usually busy road did not have much traffic at that time. Had it been otherwise there would have been a different story to tell. On another occasion I was returning home one afternoon with Ambika and Supriya on the pillion. Normally Supriya would sit on the pillion with Ambika behind her as the long legged Ambika would get more leg space that way. On this day Ambika insisted on sitting in front and Supriya behind her. Consequently Ambika was crammed for space and had her leg spread out. Two youngsters on scooter came fast and brushed my scooter on the side and sped away. Unfortunately Ambika’s foot was projecting a little out and was hit by the rushing scooter. She was in great pain and after first aid she was taken to an orthopedist who noticed a hairline fracture. She was in plaster for over a month. Yet on another occasion I was bringing Ambika home from school one afternoon when I noticed a few urchins jumping over our compound wall to pluck koyyakka fruits from the trees grown by me. I was furious and chased one of the kids on my scooter (he was on cycle) with Ambika on the pillion. I caught him but unfortunately my scooter also fell down in the process. Ambika’s foot was caught underneath but I managed to lift her quickly without any damage being done to her. She moaned that it was she who always got into trouble when she rides the scooter with me.

After the wedding, Supriya’s departure to England seemed to be strewn with problems. Her passage to U.K. along with Sundar who had already bought the ticket in the hope of taking his bride back with him after the marriage met a road block in the shape of the delay in getting the visa. Supriya could not accompany Sundar on the journey to England but had to wait for a further ten days. However our consolation was that we got the papers earlier than usual but that was not the end of the problem. Her ticket to U.K. by a direct flight was not confirmed and she had to make a detour via New Delhi by an Indian Airlines flight and thereafter by another flight to U.K. There was a lot of anxiety and tension since she was flying such a long distance for the first time and that too without an escort. However by God’s grace she finally made it to London. Sundar was waiting for her at Heathrow Airport and took her home without any further hassles.

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