I am absolutely fascinated by women who drive heavy duty vehicles...whether they are bikes, big cars or jeeps.
A friend of mine, who is almost 65 years old, rides a Scooty (a two wheeler) but absolutely refuses to drive a four wheeled vehicle. Her reason being..."When I buy a four-wheeler, it will be a jeep. When I drive a four-wheeler, it will be a jeep." I salute her spirit and wait for the happy day when I can hop in for a ride.
Meanwhile, let me introduce you to another woman of spunk.
Shilpa Nagaraj's fascination for 'big', 'male' bikes, began a few years ago, when she was 25 years old.
However, working full-time, as a Senior Executive Assistant with a leading R & D entity in Bangalore, meant that she'd have to make a little more time in her already packed schedule, to include her hobby.
No pink ladies bikes for Shilpa please ! Her poison is a Royal Enfield Bullet of 500ccs !
Adrenalin charged, Shilpa pursues her passion on the weekends and is joined by a group of like-minded women. From participating in rallies, attending track days, to setting off on long rides and leisure trips, Shilpa has done it all.
An equally enthused and supportive family, encourages Shilpa to travel out with the biker group on long rides, the longest one thus far being from Bangalore - Valparai - Athirapally - Valprarai (Kerala) and back. The journey covered over 1400kms. Shilpa and her group have also travelled to Goa and places in Andhra Pradesh.
Shilpa is unperturbed, no matter what she may hear or read, about the downside of riding a heavy bike or the hardships she'd face, being a woman in a man's world.
Once on the bike, the possibly mundane desk job is put on the back burner and she transforms into Shilpa the biker, the adventuress, the conqueror.
A major accident left her with rods in her hand and a ligament tear in her leg. But along with conquering the Bullet and the distances and the worries, she also stands tall, having conquered her fears.
Being in the same profession as Shilpa, I relate to her every day occupational limitations. Having said that, I also see and have learnt so many valuable lessons from Shilpa and her group of merry bikers :
* Age and gender are no barriers, unless YOU want them to be
* When the distance is long...take short breaks
* When you get fed-up of sitting behind a desk...let a ride recharge you
* Connect with like-minded people
* When you fall...don't just stay down...get up for goodness sake !
To all those administrative professionals and secretaries who are reading this, take heart if you haven't had the courage to pursue your dreams yet. There is still hope.
ESOPs, Provident Funds, bonuses, increments and promotions will come and go...but time, my friend, will not wait.
So if you have something you have been wanting to do, now is the time, my dear...now.
Each day, do something to make you feel happy...until this becomes a habit...don't forget...a journey of a thousand miles...begins with a single step.
Thank you, Shilpa, you are indeed an inspiration to all who read this.
It's time for us to kickstart our lives...
Stories by M.E.G. Robinson