When you are the ‘70s born, growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s was a lot of fun. It was the world of macho men: men went to a barber’s shop and not a beauty salon. Rocky, Rambo, and Die Hard were awesome. And telephones were fixed on a wall or a table. We didn’t have a million marathon runners. And motorsports, in general, was a lot cooler. The motorcycles were very unruly and in the smell of all things unpleasant, garages built fast motorcycles.
In the late ‘80s, I had moved to a boarding school in Chennai. My social life was restricted to the compound walls of the school. And if lucky, during weekends, I would get to visit my aunt who lived two streets away from my school. The ground floor of this apartment had many small shops but there was one particular shop that fascinated me the most.
Most weekends, I would find a bunch of men in their bell-bottoms and greasy hands, tuning motorcycles and involved in animated conversations. At the sound of high revs or screaming engines going down the road, I would come down and from a distance watching these free-spirited men fix their motorcycles. And some weekends, I wouldn’t see or hear them. And those weekends were race weekends. These modern Marlborough men wrapped their legs around this hot piece of metal called motorcycle and raced on a little airstrip outside Chennai. It was the Sholavaram weekend. A race weekend was like a picnic. From the Chief Minister to the famous personalities from across the country would come to watch the great Sholavaram race. Safety was unheard of but the fun was unlimited. “Grandstands” were filled with families and college kids.
I still remember some of the faces while some have faded away. And in all these years, one thing has always remained fresh - that little garage in my aunt’s apartment block called the Classic Bikes. Today, the scaled down version of the garage still exist. Other old shops have given way to modern retail outlets or beauty parlours! Bell-bottoms have disappeared. Today, some of these men visit the shop in modern t-shirts and shorts but the passion still remains the same. It’s more for passion than for any trophy. Destiny would have it that after almost 20+yrs, I would be sitting in the same garage with some of those men and with Kasi Reddy, the man behind this garage. And as I chat with these bikers, I cannot fail to notice similar sparkling eyes of kids fascinated to see the modern superbikes parked in this garage.
This garage is Classic Bikes. And it was important for my brand, Chris Cross and myself to capture this piece of history on our t-shirt. Colour scheme of this design represents their signboard.
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