This year, at Vatvatey Reunion 2018, there were many more vintage bikes on display than before, including a couple of customized models. It was a bit funny for someone like me to see the likes of Honda CG125 and Yamaha RX among the ‘vintage’ bikes, because they are still very fresh in my memory (which is becoming sharper with age), and I can vividly remember these bikes being the standard bearers as far as dependability and respectability were concerned in the 1980s.

So, seeing quite a number of such bikes as ‘vintage’ displays put me off somewhat. However, the presence of some brutish-looking bikes, like a Honda CX 500 and two Suzuki CSX 750’s, bettered my mood and gave me a more generous outlook of the collection of vintages. There was this guy called Rohit Maharjan, who seeing my interest in the Suzukis, revealed that they were his. “We have a concern called Auto Land in Sanepa, and that’s where we maintain and keep these bikes in tip-top condition.” Yes, they looked pretty good for their age, both were grey in color.

Rohit added further, “They were originally police bikes, part of the royal motorcycle escort.” Since they had been repainted and given a bit of customization work, you couldn’t blame me for not recognizing them. I remembered clearly those superb white bikes with antennas and what have you and flashing sirens and white uniformed and gauntleted policemen leading the frequent royal cavalcades and escorting VIPs to and fro (airport to Soaltee Hotel, Soaltee Hotel to royal palace, royal palace to Soaltee Hotel, Soaltee Hotel to airport). This escort of snow white Suzuki 750’s were the apples of all eyes then, symbols of national pride, indeed! And lo and behold! Even as I was watching the vintages, here comes one of the original escort bikes, still snow white, still with the side attachments, and I think it also had a siren! Way to go Rohit!

Another vintage that caught the eye was a Bullet with a side car that looked solid and comfortable. I saw a few guys clamber on and let out a few lines of “Yehhhh dosti,” that iconic Sholay song depicting everlasting friendship and filmed on Jai (Amitabh B) in a sidecar with Veeru (Dharmendra D?)) riding the bike. Most of the other vintages consisted of CG’s and RX’s, with most of them having undergone a change so as to look like racers. I think there was also one Honda 50 cc (at least that was what was written on it—‘50’). Was there ever a 50 cc Honda bike Mr. Saurabh J?

Well, no, he wasn’t there this time, and he and his bikes were missed, because last year a couple of bikes from his private collection were the apples of everyone’ eyes.