“Baba, baba…what is the time to?” (reader’s don’t get confused cause this is a cute kid’s …me…vocabulary for asking the time”). “its 4:30”; he replied. The next moment I was ready in my trademark pink colored frock and was searching for matching shoes to wear …(fashion..fashion!!) and sitiing on the rear seat of my ride...and ghooooooon!! went the Baja kooshter( can’t help it folks…scooter was kooshter then). ‘AP57356’, ..i am an amnesiac when it cames to names and numbers… but the former are the alphabets and numbers….i’ll never forget. The blue colored Bajaj scooter…prized possession of my father...his best friend.
There are fond memories of our long rides…of our unique sitting posture(I and my sister used to sit with our back towards baba’s back)…and we loved waving hands at people and it was like a competition for us… whoever got the more number of waves in return would be the winner. Whenever we studied maths near baba… (well we were horrible at it…so the scoldings …and teary faces)…a ride on it was his compensation for his anger. Know what!! I first learnt riding on it…just like my Baba it was so strong and dependable. How can I forget those short naps on it holding baba tightly…and everytime the ad of bajaj played on the idiot box…I and my lil sis would sing in chorus “hamaaara bajaj…hamaaara bajaj.”
Durga puja festivals were like a get together occasion for the whole town of Rourkela…the roads would be jammed…and traffic ,which basically is never a problem in my hometown…would be at its worst.. but ‘hamara Bajaj’ escaped slyly through the narrow twists and turns. One day I, and my parents went for purchasing the green and healthy delicacies…while returning as usual….the big kumbhakaran that I am…I slept holding my father…when we reached home, guess what? Mamma…she wasn’t there behind me…he he we left her in the market.. ( I guess my forgetfulness is an inherited trait ;)). Well she returned…I could see her sitting on a rikshaw with the bag of veggies and believe me the whole scene looked like a scene from history…I mean RaniLlakshmi bai sitting on a horse ready to attack her enemy. Well I and hamara bajaj were giggling..well, not literally but I felt it must also be having a great time.
It had been a part of our humanly emotions… smiles, tears, anger…it stayed with us for 25 long years ….and now its gone….!! My hero (baba), whom I had never seen cry…couldn’t control his emotions the day he bade it a goodbye.it was an indispensible part of our small family…yes biologically it is nonliving….but some emotional strings had wound us all together. They say man has come naked and will go naked…still I wish today it was still there with us. It had seen us prosper and seen us happy and sad….but it stood by us till the last….!!!