My impression about motorcycles from the Royal Enfield stables have remained the same since childhood when they told me these are called 'phut phut'; I considered these motorcycles as symbols of cranky psychic perversions from the common run of thinking.
I used to spot bullets either awkwardly crawling in the busy traffic, where I spent most of my riding hours, or parked on the road sides by traffic policemen, who, I supposed, have no choice but to contend with whatever vehicle the post colonial Government issues in their favour. I didn't take the species of bikes seriously till I ventured out into the Delhi-Jaipur Highway; an enfield bullet roared by and the air, nay, the entire firmament seemed to saintly bear with the roar of the artificial thunder.
Prior to the entry of the Japanese bikes I had to marvel hard the rajdoots, yezdis or whatever products available locally for the children of the rich businessmen and Government servants. That was a time, we kids had to make choices of what we would have taken, if fate had offered the choice between such and such luxury item. I had to make a choice between the more expensive and fuel efficient bajaj scooters and the petrol guzzling motor cycles. Unlike most of my peers from the cattle tending community, I prefer a motorcycle. I was, however, not fully satisfied with the designs of erstwhile motorcycles. The bullets with their monster looks, were a no no, and the rest of the bikes were not stylish enough to make one crazy.
During the middle of the 1980s a new breed of motor cycles sleek and drop dead beautiful, hitting the roads- the suzukis, the yamahas, the kawasakis and the hondas, took my breath away. And they said that the Japanese bikes were extremely fuel efficient. I was curious about one more thing- the price. From the information I gathered from several unreliable sources, I came to the conclusion that such bikes cost around Rs. 10,000/-. I used to wonder why all those contractors, Government teachers and other officials, doctors, engineers didn't go ahead and buy one.
Given the fact that my father collected 70 pawts of paddy, per one cultivating season, from the share croppers of our paddy field, he could make Rs. 14,000/- if he sells of the entire paddy @ Rs. 200/- per pawt, and in the years we cultivate the field by our own, the cash amount may double up, provided that the weather was cooperative. That would fetch us enough cash to purchase 2 Japanese bikes, against the prospect of the entire family going hungry for one calender year. And we would have a hard time feeding the machine with fuel.
I used to wonder why paddy sells so cheap, who the hell must have fixed prices of Agri procucts. If at all rice contains so much of energy giving vitamins and carbohydrates, then why was the Government so indifferent to the plight of farmers? What the hell was the Government doing? These are all damning!