of Mad Dogs and Yamaha 50s

Posted on June 27, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Humor, Society
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Owais Mughal

Many years ago, before I became a proud owner of Yamaha 100, I used to have a Yamaha 50. It was red in color and many a times the person riding on it also used to get shades of red. These red shades sometimes came in anger and sometimes as blushes. This motorcycle made sure that its rider always remained humble.

During my high school years, poetry of Allama Iqbal became part of our compulsory Urdu course. Almost in every Urdu class our teacher used to make us think about Allama Iqbal’s philosophy of ‘khudi’ (ego). I tried my level best to understand it but whenever I sat on my Yamaha 50, my belief in ‘khudi’ always went lower than before. This motorcycle was more a like a case of ‘be-khudi’ (no self control).

Maximum rated speed of this motorcycle was 60 kmph. This must have been the theoretical limit set by its Japanese creators, (Mr. Yamaha??) because on the road it never went above 15 kmph.

So Once Upon a Time….

I was riding my Yamaha 50 on a narrow street. To give room to an oncoming vehicle I swerved to the side and went past closely to some wild bushes. What I didn’t know at that time was those wild bushes were home to a mad dog which was not very fond of visitors; especially those who came on motorcycles. On seeing my motorcycle near his front door, this mad dog suddenly came out of the bushes. He started showing me all his canines and then made bubbles out of his saliva. pphhrrr pphhhrrr.

At this point I was hoping the dog should start barking so that from his barking tone I could judge his mood. I also knew that ‘barking dogs seldom bite’ but Patras Bukhari‘s famous lines also came to mind that

You never know when a seldom biting dog may stop barking and start biting ….

so I guess I was rightly suspicious of his motives.

The dog’s silent phrrrrr phrrrr bubble making exercise was extracting living daylights out of me. I turned the accelerator to the full while not taking my eyes off the dog.

Nearby, the dog also started stamping his back feet on the ground as if getting ready to take off. My motorcycle gained full speed which to my horror came out to be exactly 15 kmph. For a second, it seemed to me that the dog smiled at me and then I remember vividly that he ran after me.

I’ve heard that mad dogs go for the human legs first therefore I immediately lifted my legs. I made them horizontal in the air, so they were at the same height as my motorcycle’s fuel tank. On the other hand the dog gained speed and reached up to just 3 feet behind my motorcycle.

Since I don’t have photos from this incident, I tried to sketch it out for you. I have no talents in drawing but I hope my sketches may convey the situation well.

The mad dog came witihn 3 feet of where my legs start

phir kia hoa? …(What Happened Next?)

hona kia tha..He must’ve been an old dog because somehow his maximum speed also came out to be 15 kmph. My motorcycle and this dog were now in a state of dynamic equilibrium. We were both running but the distance between us remained constant.

The traffic on both sides of the street screeched to a halt as everyone started watching this interesting tussle between dog and machine. The human (i.e. me) was out of this equation as my fate was totally dependent on the machine-animal variables. After chasing me for 15 or 20 feet, the dog finally gave up and I was able to breath again. The traffic that had halted to see this interesting duel also started to move again. All of this happened in just few seconds but for the life of me, I cannot forget the details up to milliseconds level and hence I am able to stretch those few seconds to so many lines of text here.

I was a teenager when I started riding this motorcycle. I was full of energy, dreams and ready to take on the whole world. You cannot imagine how handicapped I used to feel while riding this bike. There was no mode of conveyance available to mankind, to which I didn’t lose in speed.

For example, filled with youthful agression, I would sometimes decide to overtake a passenger bus. I would increase the accelerator and in 30 seconds or so I would emerge from the back of the bus and reach its side. At this stage my motorcycle would reach its maximum speed. Both bus and I would be running in parallel now. Some passengers, who would be looking at me with interest, would openly start smiling by now. This would further deplete my trust in Allama Iqbal’s philosophy of ‘khudi’ and increase in that of supurdagi (submission).

Trying to overtake a bus was always a humbling experience.

This motorcycle remained in my custody until 1990 when I bought a Yamaha 100 and was able to conquer the whole world with it. Yamaha 50 was sold for just under a thousand rupees. If it is still alive and running then by now it must’ve grown old to Yamaha 20 or Yamaha 10. I wish all the best to its current owner, whoever he might be.

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32 responses to “of Mad Dogs and Yamaha 50s”

  1. Bilal Zuberi says:

    Hey Owais, funny incident.
    I have had my run-ins with dogs as well. And knowing that a friend’s pet Alsatian (why do Pakistanis like that dog anyways, and not the cuter variety that fit inside handbags?) attacked his sister and sent her to the emergency room with several stitches, made me literally run for my life at one time.
    That said, I took your numbers and did a calculation. If the dog was traveling at 15 km/h and followed you for only 20 feet, that says he followed you for less than 1.5 seconds. How much a single “lamhaa” can change our lives!

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    my life is full of being chased by mad dogs :) In grade I my English teacher Ms Laila asked us to write an essay on ‘My School’. Being seriously challenged in English then, I came up with this silly sentence: “My school has 13 gates”. Ms Laila had doubts on this sentence on technical grounds. She thought our school had 11 gated entrances. So to resolve this issue she sent myself and another class fellow Rehan to go out of the class and count the gates. Our school was huge. It had a cricket ground, a hockey ground, a soccer ground and lots of barren land. We crossed all these land barriers and had counted 7 gates when we came across a shrub where we found a few new born puppies. We were completely peaceful but their over possessive mother dog came barking and running after us. She gave us a long chase across the width of the soccer field before giving up on us. It was sheer good luck that she didn’t get hold of our legs. We came to our class out of breath. Ms Laila asked: “so how many gated entrances our school has?” To this my friend Rehan replied: “Miss hamaary peechay kuttay paR gayay the. Hum ne sirf 7 ginay haiN ” (Miss, we were chased by the dogs. We only counted seven). The whole class burst into laughter but since that day I’ve never known whether our school has 13 gated entrances or 11. Hopefully one day in future I’ll go back and re-count.

  3. Altamash Mir says:

    funny story…I never owened a motorcycle in Pakistan but am aware of the “Pagal Kutta” (Mad Dog) issue very well. I had my own share of experiences with these pagal kuttas…some of them only barked and some ran after you. As a reflex action, whenever I’d spot a Loose Dog I would very quickly start looking for stones. This was an excellent repellent ! So, if the dog starts running after you or barks at you, you simply throw 4-5 stones at it and it should run away. Now sometimes I made pre-emptive strikes as well, due to my love for Dogs. These pre-emptive strikes made sure that the distance myself and the enemy would be a decent one.
    As for breeding Alsations and German Sheperd Dogs, most people do it for security. Some also do it for showing their dogs off. My dad once bought an Alsation Dog for me. He made this purchase while driving. He was waiting for a red light to turn green and then there was this peddler selling this real Alsation dog for only 100 Rs (in 1985). He immediately bought it and brought it home. I was delighted to see the animal and couldnt wait to torture it. We named it “Tiger”. The next day as we were giving Tiger a bath, we discovered that his “Alsation Ears” were glued in a way that they would point up. And that “Tiger” was no more than an ordinary mutt. I still loved Tiger and wanted to keep him until the following evening when he somehow jumped our six feet wall or sneaked out of the back door and left us for good !!!

  4. Adil Najam says:

    Owais, interesting as always.

    I did own a motorcycle (A Honda 70… of the ‘kabhi nahin rukti’ fame), but was never as adventurous as you.

    On the pagal kutta thing, however, with all due apologies can I take a slightly different take. Maybe we should look at it from the kutta‘s perspective too. I wonder if they really are pagal... or whether it is paalto dogs who are the mad ones. [From the dog’s perspective a two-legged guy prancing on a two-wheeled beast that makes horrendous noises and belches smoke, woudl not look too sane either ;-) ]

    More seriously, maybe being seen to be mad and be thrown stones at and to bear the ridicule of society is the price that they pay for maintaining their independence and not bowing to the whims of silly ‘masters’ throwing them bones and balls to fetch.

    I guess I am just in a philosophical mood today ;-) This reminded me of a poem (I think it is by Mustafa Zaidi but I may be wrong) called Pagal Khanna… the last stanza went something like this:

    Apni tolli tou hai kuch sokhta samaanoun ki
    Aksareeat mein hum aatay tou samajhti duniya
    Iss katheray kay udhar bheeR hai deevanoun ki

    Gist: maybe its all of us on this side of the ‘pagal’ divide, caught in our so-called ‘real world’ who are actually the mad ones ;-)

  5. Owais Mughal says:

    Adil, you made me laugh in the first paragraph of your message :) I agree, we should look at it from the dogs perspective too. To them we may appear as much mad as we try to label them such.

  6. Kumail says:

    imagine if you were on a Honda 50 – the no clutch bike – that is a death trap.

  7. Owais Mughal says:

    Many of my friends had Honda 70s. Great thing about them was their miniscule petrol consumption. They never seem to run out of gas. whenever petrol tank went empty, one could always bend a honda 70 to the side (in slang we called it ‘leTi lagaana’) and it was ready to go for few more kilometers. Honda 70 was also famous for the TV -ad where a guy goes to petrol pump and asks for 1 litre fill up. The attendant says ‘just one litre?’ and the Honda 70 owner replies ‘ek bhi buhat hai’ (1 is more than enough) :)

  8. Bilal Zuberi says:

    Kumail: Honda 50 was a trusted “sawaari”. Its little red basket in front could carry sooo much stuff, probably even more than a trusted Vespa which I enjoyed riding in as a child.
    And it was so much prettier than the Honda CD-70. I think the Honda 50 was a 2-stroke engine which polluted a lot, and then 4-stroke engine of the CD-70 gave it better fuel economy…
    Karachi’s famous politician, Mr. Altaf Hussain, promoted his humble roots by touting his Honda 50. Somehow that led to immense popularity of the vehicle but it was already gone from the streets. I still see a few people driving it, especially in the saddar/Joria bazaar area, but it would probably get better value as vintage art than a riding vehicle.

  9. Altamash Mir says:

    lol @ Adil…you crack me up man…we’ve gotta do something about these pre-emptive strikes against these “alleged” Pagal kuttas…

  10. Sager says:

    I was reading your well written, extremly funny article till I saw your hand drwan pictures, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud. I did bring some old memories back.
    Thanks for the great article & sketches.

  11. ayesha sajid says:

    and like they say …. boys will be boys … !!
    nurture them , work on them , they grow up to be seemingly mature , well read , well travelled men and in comes a honda motor bike and they are back to ….. boy land !!

    No offence guys , keep at it , i witness it now and then when my husband gets together with his school chums …. aah its an inferneal racket !!

  12. Maryam says:

    LOL, the sketches are simply hillarious! You have brightened up my dull day at work, great article!
    You remind me of the days when ptv used to be genuinely funny :)

  13. It was red in color and many a times the person riding on it also used to get shades of red. These red shades sometimes came in anger and sometimes as blushes.

    I must confess that you have talent of humor. I still remember your Empress Market article. I wonder why didn’t you become a part time humor writer?

  14. Aqil Sajjad says:

    A hilarious post. Your use of words like ‘dynamic equilibrium’ made it real fun to read.

    Though I’m just wondering whether you’re really sure the dog was mad or whether it was just angry because you intruded into his private space. :)

    Personally, I’ve always been very scared of dogs. My cousins and I used to say ‘yeh jo kutta hota hai, bilkul hee kutta hota hai’

  15. Kashif Hussain says:

    Owais, loved every word of it, since I have seen you on this motorcycle therefore I can also imagine the situation you were in. Any way, thanks for this post, small things like these bring a smile in the busy and boring life of others.

  16. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:

    What are you riding on these days Owais. I mean how is your sense of ‘khudi’ (self respect) these days. It must have improved ten fold. Just joking. Enjoyed your post immensely. Thanks.

  17. Aadil Aijaz says:

    Great post…
    I just love your writing style.

  18. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    @ seems you guys don’t get along with dogs !

    Muddaton socha, barhaein dosti, gali kay kutton say,

    Hans kay kutton nay kaha, Aa ! aaj teri khair nehein !!
    Rafay Kashmiri

  19. Richard Rai says:

    I also had once a Yamaha maybe it was 90 or 100 it is years ago.
    I remember in the late sixties and early part of the 70’s young men in Karachi wore long hair and it was anti Islamic according to the religious group. So every now and then they would get hold of a hippie with long hair and give him a clean shave. I also got caught by that group but luckyly I escaped.

    I was coming from Board of Education in Nazimabad that I saw a thong on its way demonstrating against all the hippies.
    When I saw that I got a bit scared but then thought in my mind what the hell, Let’s go full throttle. When I came close to that group a corridor opened and went through. In the back ground I heard, O muchal, agli dhafa jab hamarai cabzai main a gia to tind karwa thain gai. What a relief it was to have escaped that throng. Yes Yamaha was a good bike in those days for a young college kid.

  20. roger says:

    Dont forget us…the Honda 50 owners..

    Yeh Honda fifty
    kabhi naheen ruktee :o)

  21. Aamir Ali says:

    A fun and interesting read, thanks!

  22. ShahidnUSA says:

    Let me further the dogs perspective :-)

    “I just want to play, but you always scared and run away”

    Give them a rabies shots and then you dont have to worry about their bites if any. What I dont like is the group of kids in karachi pelting stones at the stray dogs (very sad)

    To any dog reading this
    Thank you for your unconditional friendship but what I dont like is your slobbering kissess :-)

    Good post!

  23. hello , nice article

  24. Tahira Khalid says:

    very good and excellent written, thanks again

  25. Ali Dada says:


    A truly great, humorous post.

  26. Owais Mughal says:

    Maryam: thank you

    Adnan: thank you

    Aqil: I knew a Physics background person will enjoy concepts of Dynamics

    Kashif Hussain: thank you. aap se kia parda. you and I go back many years

    PMA saheb: after being ‘bekaar’ for many years, i now ride on a car

  27. Owais Mughal says:

    Aadil Aijaz, Aamir Ali and Tahira Khalid : Thank you

    Rafay Saheb: “koi patthar se na maare meray deewane ko…”

    Richard Rai: The concept of what is acceptable has come full circle in all these years.

    Roger: In Pak I’ve seen Honda70 but not Honda 50. Yamaha had 50cc models.

  28. Sajid Khan says:


    Very good article

    “Roger: In Pak I

  29. Poor Hungry Doc says:

    Mughal Sahib another great article. I can tell you of at least one instance in which a Yamaha 50 passed all vehicles. It was on Murree Road close to Gordon College in Rawalpindi when all the cars were stopped in a traffic jam, and we were weaving through all the cars in our Yamaha 50 giving everyone else red faces. My friend was the ‘pilot’ and at the time, I was too worried about the wellbeing of my knees to enjoy this proud moment for our ride.

  30. Jyoti says:

    Owais, I laughed so much that had to clamp my hand over my mouth and just sat there shaking like a woman possessed.. I can’t decide which one gets more credit for my maniacal state; the story or your sketches:) too good.. sounds of silent bubble making.. dynamic equilibrium.. awesome verbal sketches:) I think last time when written words made me laugh so much was while reading “Mulla Naseeruddin ke Kisse” in Hindi:)

  31. Shahraiz says:

    dont say any thing to yamaha 50 its my companion i was born on 1990 and i am 19 years old now at 2009 but i love my bike cozzz its better than other bikes my bike’s average is marvoles i just cruise around johar and north nazimabad in just 15 rs fuel 65 per liter is the rate of petrol and u r wrong mr writter my bike maximum speed is 70 kmph thank u i love yamaha 50

  32. Ahmed says:

    nothing less than 125 cc was acceptable back in the early eighties when i got my first bike, fuel must have gotten too expensive…. 50 cc was unheard of although girly men would ride these for groceries. Cool boys had to have a 125 cc GTO or a 175cc KE trail bike, but the smoothest was a 200 cc Honda with self start.

    50 cc? hmmmn no thanks, i will live a little and not look a dork.

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