Bi-wheelers in veil

In recent years we have increasingly seen a large number of young girls whizzing around on scooters. With their heads covered by colourful scarves floating in the wind with only their eyes coyly peeping out you might be mistaken into assuming that they are Muslim girls.

This new fashion has nothing to do with religion or to protect their pretty faces or hairstyles from the wind. Like the veiled sirens of the Arabian nights, many small town girls are now using these flashy scarves to hide their identities as they drive to college, work or to sneak off to a rendezvous with their boyfriends in some park or quiet monument. These bright butterflies areno longer the timid damsels shyly threading their way through traffic. With their identities safely hidden they are quite willing to display their pretty derrieres in smart jeans or miniskirts as they roar through the milling throngs with as much confidence as any young macho male.

These new breed of bi-wheeler bandits are a symptom of an increasingly mobile new generation. They are usually computer savvy and they all furiously SMS or send selfies to others on their smart phones. Their mobiles are not the basic things of earlier times but have the latest cameras that can take and transmit great pictures. Most of them can even touch up the pictures to make the images brighter and prettier. The young lasses of today want to go places and want to get there fast. They are much better educated than their parents were but they still need parental support until they are economically independent. So they dare not let their parents or relatives identify them. They may feel safe in the anonymity of big cities but have to be more discreet in smaller ones where gossip quickly gets around.Seduced by romantic movies and TV serials they all want to find the great romance of their lives but are not yet ready to defy their parents who want to quickly push them into

arranged marriages.

A few years ago these delicate damsels used to sit demurely on one side of their classrooms keeping well away from the boys. Today many of them will think nothing of

sitting right next to the boys and responding to their mild flirting or teasing with mock anger or a soft pretended slap on the shoulder. Their head scarves will now usually be lowered so that their lustrous hair and well made up faces are clearly in sight. The scarves will go back on as soon as they leave the class and head for the canteen or for a walk in the gardens.

The boys are changing too and many are no longer the shy and awkward yahoos who would hide their shyness behind crude behaviour, wolf whistles and daring remarks delivered from a safe distance. They are smartening up as they want to impress the girls. Boys therefore blow the allowances they get on bigger and noisier bikes and on smart clothes and heady after shave lotions. So a hero will often surface quickly if any lout behaves badly inthe presence of the ladies.

Girls are however always a great distraction and many lovelorn louts do not therefore do too well in their studies. It is little surprise therefore that the girls are doing much better in the exams with the result that there are now many more girls than boys getting admission to the prestige colleges.

The author is the region’s most celebrated automobile columnist