Krishna Rao bought this 1965 Rajdoot for practical reasons, but is now deeply attached to it
If a man is past the age when he can comfortably take care of a technologically outdated vehicle, but still perseveres to keep one going, he has attained a state of perfect bonding with the machine. Stretching himself to protect a 1965 Rajdoot S32 from blight, 77-year-old S. Krishna Rao epitomises this theory.
Not love of classic bikes, but a sense of gratitude drives the septuagenarian to do this. With its two-stroke, 175cc engine, this bike sustained his family for decades. As an employee of Life Insurance Corporation, Krishna Rao rode the three-speed bike to forlorn parts of Madras and beyond in search of clients.
For a long time his daily schedule included visiting the factories in Manali to meet new clients. “You can't guess how much this bike has helped me in my work,” says Krishna. “My wife knows and which is why she understands my determination to keep the bike well-maintained as long as I can.”
Interestingly, Krishna bought this bike from Southern Motors, which was next door to LIC building. The showroom's proximity to his office ruled the decision, not any particular liking for Rajdoot. With a slew of factory-fitted parts intact, it is plain to see that Krishna developed a love for this Rajdoot S32 over the years. The front mudguard with the characteristic curvature of a soldier's helmet in ancient Rome — a feature Rajdoot shared with the Jawa — the taillight, the yankay speedometer (which needs a minor repair to set it ticking again) are proof that the bike has never reached a dreadfully low point and required any extensive restoration. The missing pads — designed for the sides of the fuel tank — are a small blotch on an otherwise impeccable maintenance record.
With its magneto-type ignition and kick-starter system, this is not a very comfortable bike for a septuagenarian. Honestly, any of those automatic bikes will do better for him. But then, Krishna's love for this S32 goes well beyond comfort and specifications.