Last week has been a pretty interesting one, especially because of one gay little organization and the stupidity that they certify. It appears that Sarika Mehta faked her Saddle Sore certificate, and The Bikerni, the group she is supposed to be a part of, pounced on her like a hyena on dead rotting meat.
I couldn’t give a smaller shit about this entire fuckfest. If somebody feels better by showing off that she rode an arbitrary number of kilometers in a random amount of time, so be it. Life is about doing stuff that you like, be it coprophagia, necrophilia, or playing a flute. If this pointless, risky, retarded little thing is what floats the boat for you, by all means, go for it.
There were 2 interesting observations I made during the course of this event. First, The Bikerni Facebook page looks less like a platform for sharing some riderni love, and more like the Tehelka of female biking world. I can’t say I understand the need they feel for publicly sharing a happening which basically disgraces one of their own members, and in effect, them, but what I definitely don’t understand is the exposé style method they chose to do it through.
Second, and I will be branded a sexist for this, I couldn’t help but imagine what would’ve happened if it was a dude who had done this colossal sin. Think about if, if a male friend of yours, or even some guy you just know, happened to fake a Saddle Sore certificate, would you go this ape shit on him? Allow me to show you what a conversation between two bikers would have looked like if a third one had faked one silly little piece of paper.
Hey you saw that moldy little piece of foreskin faked his Saddle Sore certificate?
Who? That belchy little piece of cat urine Akhil?
Hmm. You wanna go for a ride?
And that’d be the end of it! I am not kidding, try it. Ask a friend of yours to take some photographs of you in rain, do some Facebook posts proclaiming that you’ll do 1000 miles in 24 hours, then totally not do it but fake the certificate, and then somehow let the “brotherhood” know about it. If even one serious Facebook post appears about your tiny little shenanigan, I will change my name to Iron Kumar Butt.
Which brings us to the female biker this post is actually about, a person, who I am proud to say, is also an expert in not giving a shit. I had been planning to meet her since quite a while, and it finally happened during my first employment ride.
There are a few very basic things that make me respect a biker.
A. They should NOT be proud of their riding career, since it’s nothing special in itself
B. For them biking should be a psychological compulsion, not a happy pastime
C. Their standard answer to any suggestions to use other means of transport should be “Why the fuck?”
Being a biker is supposed to be cool, non-conformist, rebellious, but only a “true” biker can tell you how fucked up the entire experience can be, especially in a country like India.
Not only do you constantly fight with your loved ones, but every time you slide your ass up that seat it’s like the rest of country is preparing for battle, rallying their forces together to make sure the few precious moments of motorcycling nirvana that you get are interspaced with violent near-death situations, constant facepalm moments, and asking yourself repeatedly why the fuck did you get on a bike in the first place.
But they still do it.
I had heard a few things about Roshni Sharma before we met, and not all of them were positive. I had exchanged a few Facebook messages with her a while back, trying embarrassingly hard to make her post the story of her K2K ride on RiderZone, which she fortunately refused to. I am a horrible judge of character, so much so that I have stopped making opinions about anyone. Even if somebody is nice to you today, there’s no guarantee that shit will hold tomorrow as well. People change, so why bother?
So there I was, sitting at Café Torque in Bangalore, waiting for her to show up, with a completely open mind. After about an hour of playing with my phone, there she was.
As far as first impressions go, this was a good one. She is a pretty unassuming little thing, which I think you’ll notice if you ever get to meet her. There’s none of that aura of self-importance that comes attached with certain individuals, especially females, even more so females that ride.
We talked for about an hour, with the brief distraction of a mosquito buffet dinner that happened to be hosted on her feet. Like most other conversations I have had, I don’t remember most of what we talked. I generally try to pull a dialogue from just an inane exchange of words to a higher level, where it’s more about the feel and the connection than it is about what literally was said.
What’s different about her?
I can’t say I have met a lot of female bikers, although I do follow a bunch of them on social media. The most fascinating thing I noticed about Roshni Sharma through the course of our discussion is the following:
She either doesn’t remember, or really doesn’t care that she is a female.
Through the course of our history, the image of a frail, dumb, helpless woman has been drilled into our brains as THE standard, cute, sexy kind of lady that you would want to fuck but probably not marry. Plenty of woman have prospered with this belief, many have failed to fight this stereotype, but some simple don’t give a shit.
Not giving a shit is the single most wonderful trait that I admire in any living entity.
Let me give you an example. We were talking about the trips that she had done, and she told me about this crazy night ride from Bangalore to Pune. We all know that riding in India is unsafe, riding in India at night is worse, riding in India at night when you are a girl is just fucking insane, but that’s where the difference comes into the picture.
I had to meet some sponsors in Pune and Mumbai, and I didn’t really want to bother with bus, train or plane. So I picked up my Yamaha SZ, and did a night ride from Bangalore to Pune.
You rode in night, from Bangalore to Pune, on a 150cc bike?
Weren’t you scared?
No, what’s there to be scared of? I mean apart from getting a puncture, what else could go wrong?
That’s a pretty normal conversation to have, if you are talking to a dude. Most women that I know of would probably go nuts if you told them to even set one foot out of the house alone past 10 PM. And that’s what I think is the reason why she has done all of these trips without anything going terribly wrong.
If you are scared, if you are just waiting for a disaster to happen, it will. If you are ready for the worst, have planned for everything, but failure is the last thought in your mind, things generally tend to go well.
So it’s all in the head?
Yes, and nothing else can prove it better than her. All through our conversation, I never felt like I was talking to some helpless little thing, the image of a woman that’s endemic to our society. She doesn’t expect special treatment, she doesn’t sound entitled, it’s all about a genuine fascination with bikes and travel.
What I also thoroughly enjoyed is the candid way in which she answered all my stupid questions. No bullshit, no embellishments, no paranoid privacy. And that’s all in the head, it’s all about your attitude, the way you think, the way your perceive the world.
It’s very easy to live your life thinking that everybody else is your enemy, that they are competitors, trying to sabotage your life and fuck your happiness. All of our media, news, movies, serials, everything reinforces that belief, that you come alone and you die alone. But the more you travel, the more you realize that it’s not true. People are genuinely nice, and they go out of their way to help you out, even if they don’t know you.
That’s what you understand while listening to Roshni’s stories.
How do I become her?
Unfortunately, it’s a skill that you have to be born with. Actually, it’s not even a skill, it’s a bloody tumor that destroys your life. Many people ask me how they can become a biker, and all I want to tell them is that become anything else. It looks cool, it sounds cool, but it’s a rather painful experience, with a very few happy moments.
If you still wish to understand how someone becomes a biker, the first thing you have to understand is practicality. I know, doesn’t sound as exciting as you’d have imagine right?
While we were talking about her K2K ride, she told me about her experience in Leh. When she reached there, the plan was to ride onto Khardung La, world’s highest motorable road. However, she was tired, sick, and maybe even fed up of riding. Bikers love bikes, but they understand that there are situations where you gotta give the middle finger to your motorcycle.
So she hitched a ride in a car and had a good time, but not without other “Bikernis” poking fun at her for not riding all the way. To become like her, the first step is to stop giving a shit, that’s like 90% of the character. You do what you do, you cannot live your life based on what someone else thinks, and the realization of this fact and the execution of your actions based on that is the single best gift you’ll ever give to yourself.
Next comes the mindset, the attitude. You cannot live in fear, you cannot live your life based on negative choices, you have to take chances, fuck up, get back at it again and then fuck up even worse. There’s no instant gratification, no shortcuts. You find what you want in life and you just keep scratching at the wall. The wall is thick, and your hands are soft, but you’ll be surprised by how far deep you can reach if you just never stop.
The other angle for practicality comes with money. We all love bikes, and it’s a natural urge to want to convert your passion into your job. I’ve done it, and Roshni tried too. She worked with Indian motorcycles for a while, but then quit to get back into the IT life.
I worked with them for about a month. It was fun, I got to ride those big motorcycles. They are surprisingly easy to handle. But it all comes to money.
Yes. I was making some 20,000 bucks a month over there. Biking is not a cheap passion, if I don’t have the money to buy my dream bike, what’s the point? I’m now making 65,000 a month, and I think that makes more sense.
It’s all about choices, and whether or not you are ready to live with the consequences.
There is one thing that I don’t like about her, and it’s her fixation with “record” rides, be it Guiness or Limca. Women riders already get more attention than they need, some unwanted too, although nobody can deny the amplification it gets when the words “First woman in India” get attached in front of anything.
But then it’s not all about attention, is it?
Would I ever ride with her?
Probably not, not only because I prefer solo, but also because she does too. For some people riding is about following some fucker, who is following some other fucker, who is following someone else, until you reach the bigger fucker in a horde of 100. For some riding is about small groups, people you know, people you care for. For some others, it’s a very selfish desire, you feel out of place if anybody else is around, it’s a very personal experience.
And I think we both belong to the last category, which means that we’ll probably never ride together. But that’s OK, it’s better that way. People change, you should enjoy the moments you have together and then forget about it. The more you get to know someone, you more you want to gut them with a rusty spoon.
It’s always good to have some people just fly through your life like a feather.