By some strange turn of events, while petrol prices continue to zoom further on the one hand and the public transport system crowded and as unreliable as ever, we see the choices in Two-Wheelers on Indian roads being limited to an all-time low. Looks to me like some deep-rooted foreign conspiracy…the Indian streets, once a colourful medley of autos, cars, scooters, bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds…now seriously lack the diversity they had…not so long ago. Alas!
Talking of types….the last one, the once pervasive moped, is clearly on the verge of extinction.
Officially speaking, TVS is the only manufacturer that produces mopeds today. Be it the good old workhorse TVS 50 or its kickstart avatar TVS XT. Often bestowed with a 50 or 60 cc engine, mounted on a robust little-better than a cycle chassis, the moped used to be the poor and middle class man’s conveyance not so long back. And do think back, probably most of our first experience of a motorized solo flight was on a moped…thanks to the uncle who had forgotten to carry the keys after parking it at your door.
Compare that to the late eighties and early nineties. We had the ubiquitous Luna, that thin frame wonder that carried five plus families with effortless ease defying all laws of Physics…to the college-goer’s trusted pony the Hero Punch. Even Bajaj Auto, which now is the leading manufacturer of motorcycles today, did a Nano to the moped by bringing out its Sunny… and later the Sunny Zip. Those were the days…
Even I have a moped story of my own to tell. Prodded by my loyal sidekick China way back in grade VI, we took an uncle’s moped blasting at full speed to impress the hottie I was trying to woe in school, through the next bylane. We loved the feel of air in our hairs and made the first chakkar…till she came on roof…all smiles and starry-eyed… to see what the commotion is all about. Then as Murphy’s Law would have it…droog…drooogg..dudaag. The moped chose that particular moment to inexplicably halt. No amount of static pedaling, no amount of checking the spark plug, no amount of prayers to Hanuman (hope you got the pun) or cajoling could get it started. Worse…even China, my dearest loyalist accomplice in many mango raids and Romeogiri refused to push me on the moped back to my house.
Needless to say, we stopped talking to each other for weeks after that episode.
Think of it…the moped has it all. It’s fuel-efficient. It can be made environment-friendly with a few tweaks…and its affordable. It occupies less space on the congested roads, easy to park, and by and large safe…blissfully puttering along as it takes you from point A to B. Moreover, it offers the convenience of mobility to a large section of the population. And on bigger wheels, it does so better than any scooterette of today. Thank you!
Isn’t it time then that we the dudes and divas of today…launch a movement to revive the moped’s population…aka the Royal Bengal Tiger? I’m sure people will look sexy while hugging a moped, what say?
Author– JD aka Somebuddy
(To earn a living he has done odd jobs, written paid news (without selling his soul), got fired, got sworn at and now handles communications for a Fortune 10 MNC. A typical NRO, you may say…though he HATES the NR part of it!)