Biking has a kind of adrenalin rush that only enthusiasts across the globe understand. The only difference is that the craze is mostly amongst men, given the stereotypes and patriarchal mindset in India. But when we saw Pooja Rajput zooming on her bike, we were wheely impressed.
She is not any ordinary lady but a part of Indian Navy. She makes one thing obvious that she doesn’t only talk the talk, but also walks it. Biking as a passion, she has evolved with calling it a wonderful means to let out her guts and proves that nothing is impossible. She sure is a head turner wherever she goes.
The craze for biking isn’t a novelty amongst women; however it’s not that widespread either. Women like Pooja are hardly seen and when they are, they carry loads of charms and charisma with them on the journey as an asset. The biking fanatic travelled her heart out this year.
She covered a distance of 2,000 km alone on her monster bike Harley Davidson, thus inspiring not only women but also men. Pooja, a Lieutenant Commander in Indian Navy took a pledge this year to explore the roads all by herself. She travelled from Goa to Mangalore, Coorg, Muzapillangad, Ooty, Conoor, Calicut, Moodabidri and Karwar. She explored all these places on her 1600 cc companion.
It’s not a common concept for a woman to travel alone in our country as far as her safety is concerned; it’s not possible for someone to accompany her all the time as well. The high time has come when women become aware about their own safety and take a step forward towards it. Women need to understand there are all kinds of people in this world and it is our responsibility to ensure our safety.
On the matter of safety Pooja says, “You need to get out of the house. Sitting in your home and thinking that something would go wrong is not a healthy approach. Go out and assess yourself on the road. I have a knife with me all the time; I have an iron baton, and a pepper spray. All these things are in my jacket or pants pocket. Women should also learn some self-defence techniques.”
Predicting the bad consequences is not an option, empowering one on their own is.
She admits it though that women on bikes gain more attention than normal on roads. When there is a smaller bike, people are inspired and amused but when it comes to superbike people are amused, but it goes away when they receive a pinch of salt. She quotes an incident from her trip this year.
“I was on the right side of a bus and the bus could not pull up and therefore started slipping backwards. With great difficulty, I managed to manoeuvre my bike to the left. Some people are very rowdy on road. A woman on a bike sometimes attracts a lot of unwanted attention. On a smaller bike maybe people just pass by, but I get noticed more because of my superbike.”
Although, she successfully covered 2,000 km but that does not mean she had a smooth ride. There were troubles and as she says, her naval training took care of all and she was confident to face the issues on her own. Problems that crop up are inevitable but to take care of them is in our own hands. She inspires women to come out of home and assess the situation on roads in any sector.
As for biking she says, a little training and practice does the task. To get to know it better and more, technical expertise and training play a major role in the same. Few roads are more challenging than others when it comes to riding skills. She talks about how she dealt with difficult bends in her recent journey –
“The hairpin bends one after the other put a lot of strain on an individual’s body, especially with the heavy weight of the superbike. Crossing the hills on the way to Ooty with five narrow and steep hairpin bends was a test of my riding abilities.”
Despite the troubles she faced, she advises women to venture out well-prepared and leave the mask of fear behind to put on confidence and be well equipped with safety means. Amongst all this a woman must not forget to enjoy the journey because that is what it is all about.