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An odyssey to cherish

Asmita with her Himalayan Odyssey group

Asmita with her Himalayan Odyssey group  

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Hyderabad biker Asmita Misra relives her experiences on driving a Royal Enfield as part of an all-women ‘Himalayan Odyssey’

Asmita Misra calls herself a ‘chilled out’ adventure junkie at heart. The girl from Hyderabad, who’d travelled from Delhi to Ladakh on a Royal Enfield as part of an all-women Himalayan Odyssey, is honest to admit she’s a tarmac rider. It was three years before that she’d first rode her brother’s Royal Enfield that came to her after consistent persuasion. While she’d used it to commute to her office and for day trips sparingly, she couldn’t ride it as much as she would have desired, all thanks to the taboos surrounding woman-bikers that she had to surpass. In fact, she’s more than happy to be the only woman-biker (who rides the Royal Enfield) in her family, like many of her counterparts in the Himalayan Odyssey.

“The ride is generally not gender-specific and is open to all. But, there are hardly one or two women who take part. For this year though, the organisers ideated an all-women Royal Enfield ride which really got me interested (including the supporting crew),” Asmita, currently a designer at Pramati Technologies, says. There were no safety issues as such, during her 17-day ride. “The only care that we had to take was to drive well, control our vehicles, not to skid and scrape past the rocks,” she states. The rider-group took breaks during the nights.

“We weren’t expected to ride together and were scattered all over but for the check-points at which we had to group back again. All along, we had time to make friends, come at our own pace, meet the locals,” she recollects. The topic that tends to concern woman bikers often, with regard to washrooms, wasn’t an issue here at all. “We had a tent of sorts to accommodate our needs, but we never had to use that. There were rocks all over and we could take a loo-break in the open while asking someone to stay around in the wherabouts.” She laughs about it now and it took a while for her to come out of the habit, when she was back.

The return-trip, expectedly, was easier, they knew the roadblocks they had to surpass. Two days before her ride was done, a call from her father steadied things. “After going past the difficult terrains, we all start taking it a little easy on the normal roads. That’s where the danger begins, he told me and he was right.” It was tough to get back to normalcy for her after coming back but she cherishes all the trip-memories and the friends she made all along. She adds that all her trekking, hiking, paragliding and mountaineering experiences made her breathe easy. “They did help, but it boils down to attitude at the end of the day. Most of the women who accompanied me didn’t have that experience but still made it through. You need to be relaxed while approaching situations.”

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 6:53:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/An-odyssey-to-cherish/article14628528.ece

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