i, THe biker
34 Year Old
No. of Years of riding motorcycles : 11,
Kilometers done (appox) : 110000+
For you, what does it mean to be a motorcyclist?
I have always envied birds for their ability to fly whenever and wherever they wish. The freedom which their pair of wings gives them is so heartening. For me therefore, motorcycling completes this absence of wings. The freedom to escape from the maddening chaos of everyday life, even if it merely about riding to work or a “long ride” is to me a welcome bliss. That the “pair of wheels” provides me this liberty so akin to a pair of wings is the greatest high I get from being a motorcyclist!!
How has motorcycling changed you and your life?
I remember being just this “regular guy” until February last year. This was when I got the jolt of my life, and when I realized that there is a big difference between existing and living. I took to motorcycling in a big way, and more precisely to “living” after this illness. What until early January last year was just commuting to work and back, was replaced with biking trips and experiencing the new found life!
Life tested you severely and motorcycling helped you to fight back – tell us that story of courage and inspiration.
Last year was probably the worst in my life when late February I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis of lungs. The days prior to diagnosis and after, were the most painful. Not just did I have fever on a daily basis coupled with chronic cough, but my body weight and diet reduced substantially as well. Heavy breathlessness on small activities was common. Walking 5 meters or climbing a flight of stairs was a big “event”. I was definitely at the lowest point of my life – physically and mentally. 6 months of regular antibiotics post the diagnosis helped me recover physically. However, it was during these 6 months that I realized the difference between “existing” and “living”, and more so, living to the fullest. And my motorcycle, to be more precise, my Electra 350 was my instrument of fighting back. Because, you never know about tomorrow.
Tell us briefly about your 2 most memorable life events involving motorcycles?
During my group’s ride to Tawa, M.P., when we were passing through a forest that lay enroute, we came face to face with a full grown leopard that was standing just beside the road. I believe we were lucky to not have been attacked, possibly because of our collective thumps. Thinking of this incident still gives me jitters! The next & probably most cherish able experience was my 16 day ride to Ladakh. Conquering Khardung La - the highest motorable pass in the world was more of a personal vindication following which a wonderful feeling of bliss enveloped me- that feeling of happiness & accomplishment of being able to sustain self and my Bull in the toughest ride meant for us. Being able to breathe normally at 18,380 feet as opposed to the agony & pain of breathing at 1020 feet (Nagpur), just a year ago was a personal victory!
As a motorcyclist, how have you contributed to the society/brotherhood and plan to do so in the years to come?
As a motorcyclist I firmly believe in “Ride Hard, Ride Safe”. I have always been a staunch proponent of following traffic rules, starting with the most basic ones of wearing a helmet and obeying the traffic signals. I have been practicing these religiously ever since I bought my first two wheeler 11 years ago. And this has not changed even now. Given a chance I try to preach about helmet usage wherever and whenever possible.
What are the best and the worst things about motorcycling in India?
Personally I believe the practitioners of “bad” things are more than the “good” things. Unfortunately that’s how the equation is always in the society. There is quite often visible a scant regard for safety (personal as well as that for others) in India. Following traffic rules, use of helmets are a rarity, with rash driving and speeding a common sight. However, luckily the bike culture is slowly and steadily catching up in India. This breed of bikers with motorcycling as a passion are the wandering preachers of the philosophy “Ride Hard, Ride Safe” and following which the use of protective gear is also picking up slowly as more and more people are getting hooked to biking. Here’s to hoping that this trend picks up and infects more and more.
Golden Question : How do you feel when you ride?
Just two words – MEDITATIVE BLISS