I always wanted to own a Harley-Davidson at least once in my lifetime, preferably by the age of 40. But till few years back this remained a distant dream, as Harley-Davidson was not allowed to open shop in India. But the American giant, managed to break the ice with what is now famous as the "Mango Diplomacy". Under an agreement with the Indian government, the United States government lifted a very old trade embargo, which now allowed India to ship mangoes to the U.S.A. in return for allowing Harley to open shop in India. So after a lot of deliberations, I decided to buy my first Harley Davidson, an Iron 883 Sportster in 2013. Although this decision had everything going against it. For one Harley's were costing up to 40% more in India than elsewhere, due to the high duties imposed on them to protect the Indian motorcycle manufacturers. Two, they were expensive to maintain and guzzled the very expensive gasoline in India. But above all the Harley's were considered impractical for Indian conditions due to their lower ground clearance. But when your heart rules over the mind, everything else goes blank.
Summer of 1978 was when I first saw it. I remember not being able to contain my excitement and thought how beautiful she was. Tried as I might, there was no rest for me that night. As I lay awake dreaming I would one day feel the freedom of riding. I did eventually fall asleep with what I am sure was one of the biggest smiles recorded in history for a twelve year old. The object was a brand new 1978 Yamaha Chappy. It was as Green, as I was with envy for the young man who proudly rode around our neighborhood. I remember asking my mother if we could get one. “Are you out of your mind “ was likely the reply she wanted to shout out, however she softly said, “we cannot afford one, and I am not comfortable with you riding one. When you are an adult and no longer living under my roof, you may do as you wish”, was the reply I remember, however that was so many years ago and mom’s reply may have been a little different.