Bikers of India: Candida Louis and the cost of following your passion

By | May 18, 2016

There are thousands of articles on the internet about why you should quit your job and follow your heart. There are also thousands of articles on the internet about why you shouldn’t quit your job and follow your heart. I haven’t read either of them, because nobody can tell you what to do with your life, it’s your own decision that you arrive at after making thousands of bad ones.

When I joined IT, the question that I kept asking myself over and over again was this:

How does it feel to work for someone else and do something that you don’t intrinsically love, but gives you plenty of money to have fun with, and a few weeks a year to have that fun in?

The answer was: Not Bad. Life in a normal “job” is rather simple, you get your shit done, go and live your life, and get paid. There was a certain sense of internal satisfaction that was missing for me, but I’m certain most won’t notice. There are people like Sachin and Roshni who have found that fine compromise between all-out biking and a steady job, and I deeply respect that.

When I left IT, the question changed to this:

How does it feel to work for someone else and do something that you truly love and enjoy, but doesn’t give you much money, or much time to spend that money in? 

That answer is: Bad. Life in a job that’s about your passion is complicated, mostly because it’s really hard to separate fun and work. There certainly is more internal satisfaction about living a meaningful life, but the importance of money is deeply felt, and suddenly the things that you’ve always enjoyed turn into “work”.

So obviously the next logical question was:

How does it feel to work for yourself and do something that you truly love and enjoy, that gives shit money, but plenty of time to spend that imaginary money in?

The answer is: It depends. At some point in life, everyone wants to do something of their own, the difference is that some people understand the compromises that’ll have to be made on this path, while others imagine things won’t change. It’s been only a few months since I’ve lived this life, and here’s a small flow-chart that I think should help you decide if you should leave your job to follow your passion or not.

Needless to say like everything else on this planet, this flowchart is one man’s opinion, and like any opinion, many people choose to ignore it.

One of the people who has is Candida Louis.

I’d been following her adventures since quite a while on her page, and had chatted a few times about some random things. Last week while returning from yet another one of her long rides, she stayed with me for a few days and chilled out. I invited her over to save her some money, and to get to know her better.

It was fun to watch someone follow kinda the same path that you have, although there are numerous differences between us. Like I couldn’t continue with my job after coming back from Bhutan, she couldn’t continue with her job after coming back from her 3 month all-India ride. Like me, she’s attempting to live a sort of jobless life, making money from things that are fun. And naturally, both of us share that fear of the future, failure and fate.

On the other hand, she is a vastly more intelligent person than I am, always politically correct, and consequently, a prized marketing channel for any company related to motorcycles. She is much more willing to compromise to make things work, again helping her cause with the right kind of people. Finally, and most importantly, she rides a Royal Enfield Thunderbird.

Behind the helmet is this smart, savvy, sharp individual who understands the rules of this world and is capable of bending them to her will. 

But here’s where things get interesting, I hadn’t expected she needed to be smart, savvy or sharp. Based on what I had seen and heard, and based on my own experiences, I had imagined that being a lady biker in India would automatically grant you a social jetpack, sending millions of devout followers on your way, and a tonne of money along with that. It was certainly a rather sexist way to think of things, but that’s how it worked out inside my head.

The more we spoke, the more I realized how much of that wasn’t true. My first clue should’ve been her tattered gloves, or her torn and filthy saddlebags. She either refuses to, or can’t afford to wear a decent riding pant. And no tourer of sane mind or means would willingly continue to ride a Royal Enfield across thousands of kilometers.

After speaking with her for a few hours, my dream of getting a gender reassignment surgery, taking over the world of motorcycling as their drag queen, and becoming a multi-millionaire was destroyed rather unceremoniously, like a Space Shuttle that disintegrates even before leaving the launch pad. 

There are many different kind of people in this world. Some do things for fame, some do things for doing them, and some do things because they don’t have an option. We like to think of people as black and white, in the sense that they are either good or bad, or they do things one way or the other. The problem is that it’s simply not true, and different people do different things at different points in their life.

In my conversations with Candida, what I noticed was that her journey started the way it always does, perfectly ideal. She rode because she wanted to ride. She did things because she could. Then social media got involved and she started getting attention.

Facebook likes are one of those things that are completely useless, but once you start getting them, you just can’t get enough.

Slowly, rather than just riding to ride, thoughts start getting twisted towards riding to fame. All those other lady “bikers” on social media don’t help, especially the ones who are willing to show a little more skin than the rest, and maybe a cleavage or two. You see other women getting featured on ScoopWhoop or Tripoto or any of the other mindless, disgustingly whorish websites that’ll publish literally anything as long as it gets them clicks. But these sluts of the online world get traffic, and traffic brings recognition, along with opportunities to make money.

But do they?

I am, at the cost of looking smug, one of the more popular bikers in India. I might be more infamous than famous, but you get the point, people know who I am.  This website has been viewed more than 2 million times, and has about 6000 comments. I have never been featured on ScoopWhoop or Tripoto, but if the final aim of getting your name in there is to be a known personality in the biking world, I think I’m already there.

And yet I haven’t got a single freebie till date, not one opportunity to make decent money, nothing that helped me take my mind off next month’s rent, or the cost of a new set of tires. Given the facts, that I have considerable reach in the motorcycling community, and apparently having that reach should somehow have made me money, something is wrong somewhere.

Either the correlation with being famous and getting paid to follow your passion is incorrect, or there’s something more sinister going on under the sheets.

The most obvious explanation seems to be this: Being famous is not enough, you need to be willing to say positive stuff about everything, even if it makes every inch of your body itch with dishonesty. At least that’s the way most of these big media houses seem to be functioning, a manufacturer sends them a wet piece of dog shit, and they praise it for being the greatest automotive revolution of all time.

So then the question is this, are you willing to be someone’s lap dog? Someone who spits acrid vomit on command, regardless of context or experience? If the answer is yes, you don’t need to be famous to make money.

You, like a dog, will always be valuable to your master simply because of your ability to lick balls until they shine.

If, on the other hand, you don’t want such a life, then there’s no use being famous. It doesn’t matter how good your reach is to the right audience, nobody will give you any money because they have no control over the outcome. A business is run with a return expected on every investment, nobody is going to take a risk on you when they have guaranteed returns from other sources.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should never bother with fame, it’s entirely useless. I also guess I’m ranting off about some random bullshit when I should actually be talking about the person this article is about, so I shall stop now.

I totally understand how Candida’s thinking changed over the months. It’s all fun and games until you can’t find enough money to fill up your tank, and slowly thoughts spiral out of control. I can’t say I am in control of my own thoughts, but I do know I’ve seen the worst of times, and if there’s one thing I’d like to tell anyone else out there who’s struggling to find their purpose in life, it’d be to hang on, it gets better, slightly.

So yeah, if you are a manufacturer and you are reading this, don’t mind me, but Candida is someone you should definitely sponsor and shit. I hope she finds peace with the life she has chosen, and the luck is on her side when she needs it the most, which she certainly will given her tendency to take epic risks.

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  • Custom Made

    Hey man.. nice one and canadia seems to be quite the ticket. However I wanted to say a few things about the hot topic of “sponsorship”. I have been haunted by this since childhood, ever since I got my mmsc license to race group D in irrungatukotai (MMSC track) .. back then (2002, yep I am old fuk) it was all about getting a corporate sponsor to back you. I dont know if you’ve seen old 2t race bike photos, but TANTEX (underwears, yes) was a sponsor. How intricately folded, twisted, and convoluted right ? It was either this or go to find your rich uncle, and trust me, getting corporate sponsors was not easy, even TANTEX. I feel that nothing has changed today and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, keto and IndieGoGo make it seem like crowdfunding is a beautifully simple concept, but well, its not. Life’s harder here, & to fund your adventure or passion or whatever the fuck it is even harder. I have sadly given up and will spend my hard earned money on motorcycles, vegetables and cheese, In that order… Over & Out !

  • rishabh kaushik

    Hmmmm…