Biking is a men-dominated domain with no place for women. Or at least that is what I had thought growing up. This patriarchal mindset of mine was laid to rest at a relatively younger age when I saw a lady ride the Hero Honda CD 100 SS. She was navigating across whatever little traffic on the roads with expertise.
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Now, I know. This isn’t precisely the beast of a machine with a maniac engine. Nor was she zooming around the town. But, hailing from a small town deeply rooted in traditions, seeing women ride around a bike towards the end of the 20th century was a scene enough to leave a long-lasting impression on my young mind.
Years later, I had the opportunity to stay in various metropolis across the nation and, on an unrelated note, discovered my love for riding a bike. Over the years, I have seen many women riders who have yet to learn the name of any.
However, it was not much of a shock when I saw a certain Gul Panag take her Royal Enfield for a spin or a confident hot Katrina Kaif riding in on a more desirable pair of wheels in the blazing sun to confess her feeling in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
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Even though the last example was from a fictional scene, her bike riding was a natural phenomenon. As authentic as Veenu Paliwal calling it quits on her marriage on being served the ultimatum of choosing either her marriage or her love for bikes.
The Fast and The Furious fame Paul Walker had said, “If one day speed kills me, don’t cry because I was smiling”. And much like his death, Veenu Paliwal also succumbed to her injuries from a bike accident.
But it is indeed because of women like Veenu Paliwal, Gul Panag, or the lady who was skillfully negotiating with the pothole-ridden roads of my home town on her Hero Honda CD 100 SS (what a great bike that was). In the long term, my brain never really came to a misogynistic conclusion that riding a motorcycle was only a man’s territory.