Smitten by the Bullet

One among the Bulls Maya Ganesh

One among the Bulls Maya Ganesh  

Meet Maya Ganesh, the lone woman in the 120-strong Mad Bulls

On the road to Ooty to participate in Rider Mania 2009 (an annual gathering of Bullet nuts from around India), riders from Madras Bulls evoked more than the usual curiosity. At chai shops and roadside dhabas in the countryside, all eyes were instantly drawn to one rider who was very different from the rest. The attention made Maya Ganesh feel like a minor celebrity.

The curiosity factor

As the only woman rider in the 120-member Madras Bulls, Maya Ganesh is greeted with curious looks, even in the city (Snigdha Chavan is another woman Bullet rider from Chennai, but not a member of Madras Bulls).

Why, even guys at Madras Bulls are in awe of her for riding the Bullet, considered too heavy by most men. In appreciation, they call her ‘the Mad Cow among the Mad Bulls’. They are very protective of her. During the recent Ooty trip, when a guy tried to act fresh with her, they all but beat him up.

Contrary to popular view about women who ride big bikes, Maya is dainty, has not pierced herself with tattoos of bikes and is not a feminist.

Copywriter at Frost & Sullivan, you can often catch this 34-year-old in a salwar and sporting a bindi. In short, an antithesis of the archetypical woman biker.

At Ethiraj College, Maya used to be intrigued by a scrawny-looking girl who rode her father’s Bullet.

The image of the thin girl on a big bike ceased to be wondrous when Maya got her Thunderbird in November 2007.

And, there has been no opposition at home. Maya, grandchild of actor Gemini Ganesan, is only expected to use the Fieldsheer riding gear that her mother bought her and take enough medicine supplied by her doting aunts. Protected by the Fieldsheer and stocked up on medicines, Maya made it to Horsley Hills. This debut ride was quickly followed by short rides to Puducherry, Tada and Ambur.

She was disappointed to not be able to ride the Thunderbird to Rider Mania 2008. As a probationer at Madras Bulls, she could only be a pillion rider. Madras Bulls and other Bullet clubs extend full membership only to those who have attended a specified number of meetings and done overnight rides.

Having met all the requirements, Maya can now count herself in for any Madras Bulls ride. She is working on each of her weaknesses, which include lack of technical knowledge about the Bullet. Apart from books on the machine, she consults Subash Chandra Bose, a Bullet expert.

Maya names other women Bullet riders from around the country — Freya and Deepa Akhoury and Sonali from Bangalore; Gauri Lokare from Pune; Aarti from Mumbai; Mahima from Chandigarh; and Snigdha Chavan from Chennai; and says her achievements are nowhere near theirs. Among them, these riders have scaled Khardungla, been moderators of the Bullet clubs they have been a part of and done many solo trips.

No wonder, Maya sees them as role models.


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