Prevention of cruelty against scooters? Well, call it whatever you want to call it, I do have a soft corner for old Vespas and Vespas made in India under license from Piaggio. Whoa, that includes scores of Bajaj 150’s/Supers/Chetaks/Cubs; Priya 150’s and even LML Vespas and the odd Vespa PL 170’s. But primarily I am concentrating on rescuing Bajaj 150’s and Priya 150’s that has the look and feel of the original from the 1950-60’s complete with the curvaceous Wasp-ish rear-end that gave it the Vespa tag. What makes me love them – the simplicity of design, the classic origins, the numerous movies and lore and all of the above. Actually, more than anything else a Vespa 150 or a clone is a piece of art in itself. And me, I think of unloved, abandoned examples as blank pieces of canvas that can be used to express my mind. I know, psychedelic scooters are done to death already but what the heck, I have just started!

The process is simple as it happened with Roxanne and Alice – a Bajaj 150 and a Priya 150 that came my way. Identify the scooter, pay a maximum of Rs 4000 for it, then do the essential repair and body work and paint it for another Rs 6000 and you get a piece of art that can do the milk-run.

Roxanne was supposed to be a Lamborghini edition but I couldn’t get the right stickers and hence decided to settle for a checkered-tape that lend the scooter a degree of sportiness. But when Alice was given the matt black and red paint job that was inspired by the black and red that makes up Ferraris I was also determined to get the livery right. So one flank of the scooter pays homage to the Formula One car (F2009) while the other apes the road-going supercar. Painstakingly cut and paste Italian tricolore and a prancing horse (ok, that was a bit blatant but what the heck!) later we had a scooter that, in my eyes, looked just perfect. Cost? Rs 10,000 only including the donor scooter.

Sadly, the scooter is not going to be mine and I felt the tug in my pump when it was time to let her go. Alice will ferry my friend Vishal to the starting points of various half-marathons and training sessions as I embark on the next project that revolves around a theme of WWII aircraft, nose-art (semi-naked women, of course) and overall a riveted look. After that I will start considering an installation art exhibition on Indian Vesp-art!

I am loving it.