22 January, 2021

Fearless Nadia Rides Again

She’s taken the plunge. Desi sisters are tapping into their latent, restless adventure gene.

Fearless Nadia Rides Again

Long ago, in Hoshiarpur in Punjab, shopkeepers would hurry out of their stores and elders would pause on their hookah puffs to get a glimpse of the little girl who had just vroomed past them on her scooter. Three decades later, open-mouthed stares still follow Moksha Jetley as she sits astride her silver-grey 350cc Royal Enfield, leading bikers—mostly men—up precarious mountain slopes to Leh and Spiti or past parched dunes in Rajasthan.

Miles away, on a different terrain, Poonam Darne, a scuba-diving instructor with Ocean Pearls in Havelock Island, evokes a similar reaction of incredulity. “Are you going to take me scuba- diving?”—most tourists hesitantly ask this when they see a woman dive leader. “Their faces fall at first,” Poonam laughs, “but once they have explored the ocean with me, they insist I lead them on subsequent dives too!”

It irritates Anita Deshpande no less when people ask her at meetings, “Who’s the man running the show?” Anita and her...



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