Reviving what was once cool seems to be the easiest way to do something new these days. The recently launched Delhi Scooter Club appears to be yet another example of such kitschy enterprises. Looking to bring back the long lost carefree, fun, laid back and retro feel onto the roads, Varun Katiyar, a 23 year old engineering student has come up with the city's first Scooter Club. "Ever wondered what happened to hamaara Bajaj?" he asks. It appears it lost out in the race with fancier and flashier bikes. In the decades since liberalization, the average Indian who might have once sworn by his Bajaj scooter has undergone massive transformations. Today, a young college student is far more likely to go in for a low end motorcycle since driving a scooter is likely to illicit a few laughs from one's friends.
It's interesting to note that this experience of shame and the need to make the scooter cool comes from those who have the luxury of choosing between a scooter and a motorcycle for example, since for those who actually use a scooter on a daily basis it represents nothing but a convenient means of transport and not something meant to be romanticised.
Bikes are like anorexic models whereas scooters are more like curvy women. For us it’s all about the curves, easy going comfortable seating and efficiency.
"One day I stepped out of my house to attend a friend's party. My bike had broken down so I took the old scooter out in a rush. I bent it sideways, gave it a few kicks and it sprang to life obediently. Here it was, my old scooter- dirty, broken, frayed, ignored, worn out and yet a survivor, a trust worthy partner" narrates Katiyar. While he marvelled at his vintage yet efficient automobile, his friends had a different reaction to the situation. "I reached my friends place and was given smirks and condescending looks. That's when I decided- my old Bajaj did not deserve this. NO old scooter deserved this. They need to come out, they need to be appreciated for their simplicity and sheer sustainability" he added. What emerged from this is a small but growing club dedicated to promoting and improving on the good ol' scooter.
At present the group has seven core members including girls, the newest member being a 62 year old British expat who was keen to join the group on their rides once he gets to Delhi. They get together regularly and go on casual rides to different places within and around the city on their scooters. They also make plans twice a month to eat together, attend musical evenings and hold discussions on the structure and working of their scooters. Ask him why they prefer scooters to bikes and he quips "Bikes are like anorexic models whereas scooters are more like curvy women. For us it's all about the curves, easy going comfortable seating and efficiency."
For members of this club, the scooter also represents an alternative eco-friendly means of transport. "Scooters help reduce oil consumption, pollution and traffic congestion. It's easy on the pocket and requires low maintenance" says Katiyar.
The group also offers to help newcomers with buying new scooters or fixing up an old one- essentially breaking it down and 'pimping it up'. One needn't ride a dull and boring grey two wheeler. If it's bright yellow that catches your fancy, they'll do that for you as well.