Windswept hair cruising through the city streets despite the heat that the Delhi environment exudes, had me soaring to deep throated sounds of the 350 CC Royal Enfield Bullet a few weeks ago. A bike ride after a couple of decades of inching through the roads, in an equal number of cars, was exhilarating. From sliding through the slim pathways to gliding through the traffic pushing the four-wheelers behind and always finding a parking slot had me wonder why I haven’t thought of owning a bike instead of the fancy line up of cars. The first car at home I remember as a kid was the ‘trusted’ Ambassador, which invariably had to be pushed into life even after a short haul in between excursions. It’s amazing that the white beauty (as patronised by our babus) is still seen on the roads cruising amidst the aerodynamic bodies of other chuggers.
The Maruti Van taught me driving skills when I was eligible to be seen behind the wheels. And from then on started the ménage’ with the automobiles. The first car that I bought, a Santro, had me thrilled to the hilt. Subsequent cars though bigger in size proportionately decreased the excitement and increased the caution of maintaining it on the Delhi roads. A kink in the chrome or a bump on the boot became an unbearable eventuality. Scrutiny of every other car on the road for similar nicks , dents and bumps became a source of satisfaction as mine was not alone to be wounded.
And now after years of speeding through the roads with windows rolled up, music pelting out and cool drafts blasting through the vents, a sharp contrast has been the ride on this aging 350 CC engine. The strong gush of the wind, chatter of the engine and the expanse of the sky promises to get your spirit soaring despite the heat, dust and grime through the exposure.
On delving further, I discover a whole cult of Bullet owners with many a fan clubs for the beauty. It seems what Harley Davisdson is to USA, Bullet is to India.
There are expeditions planned covering the vast expanses and terrains not only in India but across the world. On the other hand, ‘crotch rocket’ enthusiast meet from as far off places as the Scandinavian islands, Israel, Greece and create expeditions traversing thousands of miles within the country. Exports of the indigenous bike go up to Europe, America and Australia according to Wikipedia. The Himalayan Royal Enfield Bullet trips pride themselves to reach where even Jeeps can’t reach. The company itself promotes expeditions connecting with and patronising the Enfield owners endorsing the cult status.
What with the Indian government in the ’50s conceding to the Bullet to have the border patrolled, it isn’t a cult for no reason.
My own host for the bike ride brought home his Bullet paying cash down after saving the first two months of his salary. The brand connect is well established through the magic that the royal Enfield so heroically spun in the yesteryears. And I am not the only one who rediscovered it through the folds of time.
The Royal Enfield Bullet is slated for a retro revival. Almost after 120 years of starting business by this Anglo Indian motorbike maker. “The company is investing heavily in its operation in the southern state of Tamil Nadu as the orders flood in,” states a report on a foreign news channel clipping on the Royal Enfield website.
Quite a magic to revive.
So when was the last time you let your hair be blown in the wind?
Carry a scarf, if it’s been a while. Though it’s a small price to pay for the Royal Enfield that’s built like a gun and goes like a Bullet.
Take on the world – You got a Bullet to ride.