|Handwritten behind this photograph, "With my savings, I have purchased my dream motorcycle - 1964"|
This is the bike that started it all - my dad's Jawa 250 model 353 (he named her Betsy) that he bought brand new back in 1964 from the Nagpur military canteen. Why a Jawa, I once asked him. All he said was that he never fancied scooters, the Rajdoot was too cheap and the Bullet was too bloody expensive. He bought the Jawa for the princely sum of Rs 3000. Back then, a tank full of petrol would cost you a hefty Rs 5. He spent 15 bucks getting the bike to Bombay.
|Dad, mom and Betsy, back in the day.|
He met a certain woman, fell in love and terrorised her neighbourhood with the din that only a Jawa can pull off. He later married her and I call her mom.
My brother was born after a few years and I followed six years later. I learned to ride on the Jawa in the 5th grade, strictly in the compound under my dad's watchful eye. My legs didn't reach the ground and so dad would stand in one corner, ready to catch the bike as I approached. If it was a special day, he'd turn the bike around and let me loose again. That almost always happened, though.
|Betsy, as she stands today and still very much the stunner that she started out being.|
The Jawa, ah, the Jawa still lives with us. I may have ridden a handful of motorcycles in my existence till date and owned a couple of them too. But there is never going to be a motorcycle that makes me smile more than dad's Jawa named Betsy. I secretly wonder if dad loves Betsy more than me. I wouldn't blame him if he did.