30 May 2010

How many wheels have you?

During one exchange of letters with my friend tommydan1 I mentioned that I drive a two-wheeler.  He sent back a query - Whats a two-wheeler?  The world may have shrunk to a global village, where I talk more with a friend who lives thousands of miles away and barely exchange a sentence with someone sitting two feet away from me, yet cultural differences do count.  I had to shoot off an explanatory letter and as I did so, my mind started working on all kinds of wheelers.

One wheeler

Here is a one-wheeler.  I think only the performers in the circus drive it now. Its been years since I saw this.  It looks pretty precarious and seems to need a lot of skill riding this bike.

Look Ma ! No Hands !

The Two-Wheeler

Plenty of examples of two-wheelers that run on the Indian roads. From Hamara Bajaj of old days that lasted for decades to the new fangled four stroke wonders with a built in mobile charger and an under the seat storage space you could rent out.  But this one is my poison of the moment.  Meri apni Kinetic.


Another life-saver for people in a hurry to get to their destination without being at the mercy of state transport buses.  Called Rickshaw or Auto or three-wheeler or Tuk Tuk.  In places like Delhi and Chandigarh they rarely take you by the meter and try to fix a rate before the driver even condenses to move.  Extra rates for newbies, rainy season travellers and for those in a hurry.  If you happen to be savvy, the prices crash down to half. Get ready for a jerky ride that will endanger your cervical joints and make you reach for the painkillers.

Just like men, cant live with them, cant live without them.

No point in discussing anything about 4 wheelers. 
skip to:

Eight Wheelers

Good for enticing crying babies with, "Look what a long truck".  The baby stops crying and looks at the giant thing moving from the safety of his mothers arms.  What is the baby thinking?  "When I grow up I will eat all the chocolate I want and drive a big truck"

x Wheeler

I studied in a school on the Air Force campus and this trailer was used to cart Airplane parts.  This is called a Queen Mary Trailer and was the biggest grandest vehicle I ever saw.  A sighting of Queen Mary was guaranteed to stop a bus-load of students in their tracks, gawping at the immense size of this vehicle.  Big trailers will come and go, but in my mind this is the grandest.


  1. LOL ! So true, we often forget that many terms we use are uniquely Indian English and may not be readily understood by people from other cultures.

    Loved the Wheelers list. Talking of three wheelers, I remember a small car called Dolphin which ran on three. We had one briefly but I always felt so unsafe in it, though Autos are cool !

    The Queen Mary Trailer looks grand. The biggest X wheelers I've seen are the Container Trucks, which take an eternity to "overtake " !

    Enjoyed reading.( esp. the "cant live with- cant live without" :-)

  2. Though I can not view the pics now but loved the post! U r so right tuk-tuk for some of us is the lfieline!But for so many ppl it is alien as an alien :D

  3. Yosee, you are so right. Recently my daughter on a visit from States asked a shopkeeper for a battery, when what she wanted was a pencil cell. We have made English so uniquely ours that it is hard to fathom that the same language could become 'foreign' for others.

    Oh yes, those Maersk trucks are the biggest.

  4. Yosee, when I googled for images for a 3 wheeler, I saw that 3 wheel car too.

  5. Smita, Kya karen, its hard to figure out what things are quintessentially indian unless we spend some time abroad. If only our employers listen and let us make enough money to let us travel abroad.

  6. I hv always preferred the 6-wheeler buses (hv always thought they run on 4 wheels for long) and choo choo trains, for the simple reason that I don't drive.

  7. Nice euphemism for Auto.. ;)

    No No... I did feel offensive. It was nice.

  8. BB - so cant live without them. eh ?

    Vee- ha .. go to my book blog and read the last two posts..

  9. i actually saw someone riding the one-wheeler (in san francisco i think). everyone on the road was scared out of their wits for him, but he just rode by effortlessly looking pleased as punch with himself ... i would be too :)

  10. CP - I have seen the circus clowns do that.

    I would love to be able to ride a one wheeler too.

    Were you busy recently? Do read the the two posts on my book blog, you will like them.

  11. Saw my comment. I meant 'I did not feel offensive' , wo not pata nahi kyun nahi type hua. :):)

  12. Very nice! A veritable pot-pourri for Indus!

  13. Three wheelers of all kinds are making a comeback. Check out a 3 wheel cycle rickshaw in Manhattan (They are called PediCabs)
    And Central Park also has Horse carriage rides, with 4 wheels, whereas, I suppose Indian Tongas are 2 wheelers.

  14. 1 request - Can you please try including the australian road trains in this post.... :-)