The story of my Bajaj Vespa Scooter begins in Chakrata, Uttar Pradesh (Uttaranchal) while I served in Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22, Vikas Regiment. I had no need for a Scooter while I worked in Chakrata. I made this purchase at Canteen Stores Department (CSD), Dehradun just a couple of months prior to my departure from Chakrata when I got posted to the Bison Division, Bolarum, Secunderabad Cantonment in December 1974.
For the first time in my life, I received the riding instructions from a military driver and rode this Bajaj Vespa Scooter on the driveway of the Establishment No. 22 Transit Camp in Dehradun. I never ventured to ride this Scooter on the streets of Dehradun.
However, my Bajaj Vespa Scooter of 1974 inherited the “KARMA” of Chakrata. In January 1974, I experienced a life threatening incident plotted by the Enemy agent while I was the Duty Medical Officer at Military Hospital Wing at Chakrata. This inheritance followed me even after I departed from Chakrata.
In 1982, I experienced a serious mishap while riding the Bajaj Vespa Scooter. In my analysis, the Scooter mishap was plotted by the Enemy agent. I initiated an action for my Self-Defense which eventually shaped my actions to relinquish my Permanent Regular Commission in the Indian Army Medical Corps and depart from India for reasons of personal safety as well as keeping my family away from danger.
From 1974, for the next ten years I used my Bajaj Vespa Scooter with the same License Plate ( very similar to the License Plate of the Jeep in the above photo image taken at Chakrata) issued by Government of Uttar Pradesh. The License Plate on my Bajaj Vespa Scooter easily reveals my connection to Uttar Pradesh if not that of Establishment No. 22 or Chakrata. In fact, I spent my time in India until January 10, 1984 without ever mentioning the name Chakrata in any of my conversations either at home or at my workplace. Just like the secrecy around the name Chakrata, I kept my Story about my Bajaj Vespa Scooter as a personal secret and I never discussed about it before with family, friends, or my military colleagues.
I currently have no photo images of my Bajaj Vespa Scooter. The Scooter I purchased was made in India and looks very similar to the Italian Vespa Scooter models. It had its spare wheel mounted on the back of the Pillion Seat. I don’t remember making use of the spare wheel during the ten years time I rode my Scooter.As I was in military service, I had neither the time nor the inclination to give attention to the daily maintenance of my Bajaj Vespa Scooter. Apart from the maintenance of the spark plug, the Scooter essentially provided a service without any hassles. Fortunately, I served in Units that have Vehicle Workshops and provided me with assistance to perform any of the Scooter maintenance tasks.
My Bajaj Vespa Scooter traveled with me since the time I purchased it in CSD Dehradun in 1974 after obtaining a License Plate issued by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. I rode the Scooter in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Pune, and Ambala Cities.
I rode my Bajaj Vespa Scooter in Secunderabad and Hyderabad from December 1974 to December 1975 while I served in the Bison Division.
My Bajaj Vespa Scooter accompanied me to the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune where I rode it during my Advanced Training in Pediatrics Course and Medical Officers Junior Command Course (MOJC 67/76)from December 1975until September 1976.
In September 1976, I moved my family from Pune to Ambala Cantonment while I served in the Black Elephant Divisionuntil December 1978.
My Bajaj Vespa Scooter mishap happened in 1982 while I was taking my daughter to Saint Ann’s High School (ICSE) on Sardar Patel Road while I lived at 10-3-30, 2nd Floor, East Nehru Nagar, Secunderabad- 500 026 on a side street next to the present location of Heritage Fresh Supermarket on Entrenchment Road/East Marredpally Main Road. I went to the Army Ordnance Corps Centre Medical Inspection Room (M I Room) to attend to my Daily Morning Sick Report work and came back home to give a ride to my daughter going to her School before 8.00 A.M. While I entered East Marredpally Main Road from the side street, I recognized that the rear wheel brake of my Scooter was not working. To avoid colliding with other moving vehicles on the road, I moved to the side of the road which I has no pavement. I could not still control the speed of my Scooter and it came to a halt after I hit a Telephone Utility Pole just before reaching the East Marredpally – Tukaram Gate Road Junction near the Playfield in front of Shenoy Nursing Home.
My daughter who was not wearing any helmet survived this collision without any injury. The news about the Scooter crash reached my home quickly and my wife provided the ride to my daughter in my Fiat car to take her to the School in time.
I sustained facial injuries and a few bruises and avoided a serious head injury after colliding with the Utility Pole. The AOC Centre Commandant was informed about the Scooter mishap. I did not go back to work on that day while I treated myself at my home for the injuries. The Commandant,and his wife visited my home to wish for my speedy recovery and to share their personal concern about the Scooter mishap.As I thought that the Scooter mishap was not an accident due to mechanical failure, I kept my concerns to myself and made no attempt to either document or report my injuries to Indian Army by following the standard protocol such as the filing of Injury Report which often results in a Court of Inquiry to investigate the incident.
I will submit my analysis of the Bajaj Scooter rear wheel brake failure mishap and give reasons as to why the mishap could be interpreted as a plot by the Enemy agent and not as simple mechanical failure in my next blog post.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22-Vikas Regiment