Normality Still Proves Elusive
Life was just about regaining normality after the pandemic when the war between Russia and Ukraine gave rise to a global crisis with energy shortage pushing up the price of fuel and gas. The semiconductor shortage seems to be easing now as manufacturers start increasing production. Two-wheeler sales, however, are yet to regain the pre-pandemic figures and the economy is yet to recover fully. The combined upshot of all these is that all the essential commodities are becoming more and more expensive and this naturally hurts the ordinary citizen, who is a two-wheeler buyer, the most.
This month we have tested a variety of two-wheelers, including two 300-cc scooters by Keeway and two 350-cc Hunters by Royal Enfield. The Keeway scooters come in a retro and moto scooter design. To date Royal Enfield motorcycles were made mostly for laidback cruising and riding, barring the Continental GT and the Himalayan. While the GT is a retro café racer, the Himalayan is an off-road touring bike. Now the company seeks to attract younger riders with the Metro and Retro Hunters.
The authorities in Gurugram (formerly Gurgaon) have increased the fine five-fold for driving/riding on the wrong side of the road, for it is one of the biggest causes of road accidents. As has been discussed in these columns time and again, the traffic situation in our country is moving from bad to worse by the day. People tend to show blatant disregard for traffic rules, whether it is traffic signals or cutting a road-divider to make a right turn or driving/riding down the wrong way. Last month I was driving up from Mumbai and was horrified to see a police SUV being driven down the wrong way between Lonavala and Khandala on the Expressway. If the custodians of the law start braking traffic rules in this manner, what can one expect from ordinary citizens? We look up to the Army for setting standards of discipline, but today one comes across even Army personnel breaking traffic rules. We need to take drastic action now, otherwise the situation will deteriorate into one of free for all.