Friday, December 11, 2009

Hamara Bajaj........ end of an Era !!!!

Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer…….Hamara Bajaj….”, one of the best & most popular advt campaign & jingle in the Indian history is finally coming to an end. End of an era!!! The historical Chetak Scooter from the stables of Bajaj Auto, walks into oblivion. The brand, which used to be the one of the key aspirations for the Indian middle class for decades, especially the 70s & the 80s, will soon be a part of the history. Chetak, which was probably launched in 1972, became a household name almost overnight.

I remember, as a child, I would hear families speaking of owning a Bajaj Chetak Scooter with so much pride. It was like a status symbol. At marriages, it was one of the popular / credible gifts given as dowry. People would actually queue up to get one of those scooters & it needed serious clout & reference to get a delivery ahead of schedule. There was a huge premium attached. The sales people from Bajaj auto would be given princely status, everywhere they went. With demand : supply ratio, heavily skewed towards the supplier, the sales people & the showroom owners, were just raking in moolah along with other freebies.
The famous advt, would show people from various cross sections of the country, riding the scooter. From a lady trying to learn how to drive, to a milkman delivering milk, to a family of five riding, to two oversized men riding, to an executive on road, to a newly wedded couple, to an old couple, to a man cleaning the scooter himself, pride in the eyes, & a few more….it was like an inseparable identity with the common man of India.

In fact, even a second hand Bajaj scooter would fetch a premium. The closest competition was from LML NV, Lamberetta(the longest scooter ever, I guess), Vespa etc. For every 10 Bajaj Chetak on road, there would be maybe 3 LML, 2 Vespa & 1 Lamberretta. There would be endless discussions & debates over tea / coffee, on how the economy hinged on the success of these scooters & so on & so forth…….we as growing teenagers, would listen to such chattering with awe.

There was an uncle in our neighborhood, who would give us children a ride in the evening, if we finished our homework in time. We would do anything for him, including running errands, as that would stand a better chance for a ride on the scooter. Also a chance to hold the handle of the scooter, while it was stationary on its stand & pose for a picture in black & white, are one of the popular memories I still retain. Those were the days, indeed !!

As quoted by R Balki, chairman of Lowe India, the agency who had created the legendary advt in the 80s, “ There was a time for horse carriage & the scooters, now it is the time for the bikes. Today, the bike symbolizes the middle class of India. Bharat is changing, Bajaj is changing”, he said.

I would like to imagine some fifteen - twenty years into the future, A Vijay Mallaya or a Ness Wadia, or an Anil Ambani heralding a Vintage Scooter race of Hamara Bajaj(at least 70% of the scooters belonging to the ever popular Bajaj stable)......just imagine, people in all colours & sizes riding a Bajaj Scooter, with crowds pouring along the walkways, witness the "Two wheeler Prince of yester years on road", sputtering & humming......Hamara Kal, Hamara Aaj....Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer...Hamara Bajaj......

Yaad aa rahi hai….teri yaad aa rahi hai……. Hail ho : Hamara Bajaj. .......


Anonymous said...

Awesome post. I must travel to Badrinath & absorb the experience of divinity. let me know, when will it open again in April.
Keep writing such stuff. Very few people, take efforts to pen it the way you do. Its makes the reader be a part of the article. Amazing.


pawan said...

But Chetak was out of the market a few years ago right?

But anyways, if anyone wants to ride a bike then Chetak is the one to start from.
How I love it!

Gyanban said...

Before Gen x or y came on to the picture there was gen B - whole ot the junta thought having a scooter was really cool.!

Somethings just fade away with time, though memories still keep them alive....

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