The sixth edition of one of our biggest biking festivals — India Bike Week (IBW) — starts on December 6 in Vagator, Goa. Launched in 2013, the event gathers bikers from all around the world. Unlike its past five editions that celebrated biking brotherhood, this year, many acclaimed female bikers will be riding down to the fest.
The female representation in the biking event is going to be a big part as biking is perceived as a male-dominated area. India’s youngest stunt biker — Anam Hashim — will also be an important part of the event. She will be speaking on ‘Career in Motorsports’ at the event.
Originally from Lucknow, Hashim (24) embarked on the journey to become a stunt biker when she was only 18. Though she officially started to ride bikes once she received her valid licence, the passion to become a biker was always there.
“I developed the love for bikes when I was in Std X. I did my initial research about bikes and stunt on YouTube, which fascinated me so much that I thought of pursuing it. But it all started in a very vague way. I had a Scooty back then which I would use for performing stunts. However, I convinced my parents to buy me a bike which I later used for practice,” recalls Hashim.
The safety angle
Like any other teenager, Hashim used to upload the pictures of her stunts on social media but when her parents got to know about her ‘dangerous’ passion, they took back the bike from her. She however calls their fears misplaced as she was always conscious of her safety. Even now, she does not drive or perform without wearing a helmet and suggests people to wear it too for their own safety. “It is absolutely fine to get scared and care for your life,” she believes.
“When I actually entered the field, I got to know that there’s a lack of awareness about safety. At that very moment, I decided that I wouldn’t do a wheelie on the road or create nuisance,” Hashim says.
Pursuit of passion
Hashim’s parents did not allow her to opt for biking. The only way was to leave Lucknow and pursue it. She came to Pune for her graduation and continued with her passion. Her family disowned her after knowing what she was up to. Hashim had to drop out of college to pursue her passion, work part-time and perform stunts to sustain in the city. She bought her first bike in Pune with her hard-earned money.
But the testing times are over and now, Hashim is excelling in her chosen career. She says, “Motorcycling is a way to get away from negativity; it gives a sense of freedom and being happy about what I am doing.”
India Bike Week
Hashim will attend the event as a speaker. This is the third time she is attending IBW as an associated member. This year, IBW will also see the presence of Rok Bagoros, (international celebrity stunter), FMX 4 EVER, (international freestyle motocross team), Aishwarya Pissay, (first Indian athlete to win a world title), Rajini Krishnan (first Indian winner of Asian Road Racing Championship) and Simran King, (national champion for JK Tyre 1000 CC category), along with Ashish Raorane (bike rider). The participants will be showcasing their talents by coming together for a session on ‘Careers in Motorsport’ moderated by Sagar Sheldekar.
People would also witness some amazing performances like flat track, hill climbing and a mix of other bike stunts.
Hashim, who calls herself her biggest competitor, does not deny the fact that she is a woman and has to work extra hard in comparison to men in a sport like stunt biking. Her body is more prone to injury, so she has to take care of her fitness. She says that she learns something new everyday. Recently, she learnt the most difficult stunt — circle wheelie, which took her more than one year.
Hashim gets a lot of offers from Bollywood, but she never takes any of them. “Biking has always been the priority for me but never a way to fame. I believe in keeping my skills intact,” she says.
Though she had to go through a lot of hardship to land where she is, Hashim stands firm on her choice to become a stunt biker. She motivates other girls by saying that to succeed in any field, the very first thing to do is to stop doubting yourself. “Go ahead and give it a try. There’s no big deal even if one fails; not trying is the actual failure,” she advises before signing off.