Shifting gears, claiming road space, breaking through societal boundaries, myths, and stereotypes, the bikernis have arrived! Welcome to ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ – A special series featuring women bikers.
In today’s episode, Bikerni RJ Arpitha Rai is in conversation with the forever-smiling Captain M, the admin of Bikerni Bengaluru, the queen bee and agony aunt of the city chapter. She loves her red lipstick but the love of her life is Arron, her bike, with whom she has conversations on Instagram! Presenting Minakshi Priyadarshini Mohanty!
Mina, tell us something about yourself
I am an army brat. My dad is an army officer; my mom is a retired school teacher. We come from a humble background. Growing up we did have the kind of exposure towards biking and we always had an old bike at home.
So for me, it wasn’t biking biking per se. It was means to an end.
By the time I was 11 years old, riding my cycle from Point A to B for tuitions, used to be a pain. I used to pester my father to take me for tuitions. And one day my father had enough and he said I will teach you to ride a bike. Take the bike, do whatever you want, as long as the bike is fine. This is how my interest in bikes started. He took me to one of parade grounds and said this is the clutch, these are the gears, brakes and this is how it works. That’s it, now get the bike home. He gave me a five minutes lesson and that was it.
I was given two rules- It is ok to fall, pick up every nut and bolt that was fallen off the bike and come home. Falling is part of it, but you need to be matured enough to know what to do after that. If you are hurt, go to a hospital and get yourself treated, if someone else is hurt call an ambulance. Make sure that the person is all right and then you get home.
As a kid, how much can you understand? I started the bike, and sure enough the bike falls on me. I had to get 18 stitches near my right knee. In my broken state, I muster all my courage to get up first and pick up the heavy bike. This was enough for me to understand that this is something big and I must take responsibility. I cried, but ended up picking up the bike. When to the doctor and he asks me if my father knew. I said yes, Papa left me there and the doctor asked me if I could take the bike home. I got the treatment and went home. That’s how it started. I did not know if it would be a lifestyle.
Photo Credit: Minakshi, Arpita Rai
Editing: Beula Anthony
Social Media Support: Ramya
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