By Nishiraj A. Baruah
The story so far
DAYS COMPLETED: 0146
KILOMETERS CLOCKED: 028885
COUNTRIES VISITED: 10
CONTINENTS COVERED: 3
THE TARGET: 45 countries; 7 continents; 100,000 km
TOTAL TIME: 18 months
Yes, that’s right!
Mind-boggling statistics these are, even as she traverses across cactus country Mexico as we write. She has a mission to accomplish, a campaign to promote, and she has her superbike to drive home the message.
Ride To Be One, her campaign is called, as she kicked off her epic journey from Pune on March 15 this year. Riding alongside is Pankaj Trivedi from Mumbai – in 2007 this biker broke a Limca Book of Record by riding from Kanyakumari to Leh in 5 days, 5 hours and 45 minutes.
Iranian by birth, Indian by heart
But we would rather talk here about Dr Maral Yazarloo, for she is from a country where women are not allowed to ride bikes. Iran, yes. “I would ride through Iran and request Iranian leaders to permit ladies to ride motorcycles. I want to change the world’s perception about Middle Eastern woman and Iranian woman in particular,” she says. A woman can be Iranian, follow all the social rules, follow Islamic regulations and still ride a bike – that’s what she wants to prove to the Government of Iran.
Interestingly, Yazarloo is also an Indian. It has been 15 years she has been living in India, 11 of which was spent working for a leading construction company as the retail head. “I think of myself as equally Indian and Iranian. As much as India is intrinsic to my life and future, I still remain proud and conscious of my roots in Iran,” says the biker who is also armed with an MBA and a Phd.
Late night tire puncture!
Having completed the First Leg of their ride across Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, she is now on the Second Leg of her trip from the US to South America.
Supported by a real estate company, Panchshil Realty, it has been exciting so far riding through small villages, interacting with the locals, sampling different cuisines and imbibing varied cultures. But there have been several challenges too: Sub-zero temperatures, language barriers, sometimes dismal living conditions, late night tire punctures, non-availability of vegetarian food…. The list is endless. Despite this, she has faced every challenge head on, making sure to welcome each new day with a smile!
Also read: Am I on a suicide mission? Looks like, only that I have no mission!
The fear of the unknown thrills her
“Each day is a new challenge, with radically different climates across countries – from crazy monsoon rains to damn hot summers and cruel winters, or from perfect highways to bad roads and sometimes even non-existent roads,” she says. On the road, things are almost never in a biker’s control and “my adventure has taught me to be a survivor”.
And oh, she is a fashion designer too, and along the way she has been learning about fashion styles, tradition, colours and textures. Upon her return, she plans to stage fashion shows in five fashion capitals of the world.
Bikes on board tiny sailboat
The highlight of Ride To Be One will be her journey into Antarctica from South America. It’s a huge challenge for heavy superbikes and not many have made it there till date, but her preparations are in place. Using tiny sailing boat with her bikeson board for a month, she hopes to sail over!
Words of the wise
Sure she will. Just read what she has to say: “We never know how powerful we are, until we push our limits. My experiences each day push me towards a better understanding of the meaning of true happiness. After years of being in the middle of a hectic lifestyle, I finally have time to be alone with my thoughts and contemplate my life. I believe that when you start loving yourself, you stop expecting to receive love from others. That is how I found true love and my love for myself keeps me motivated.”
Inspirational words, these are, even as moves on to the third leg of the tour that will take her across Africa and Europe, and then finally to her home turf in the Middle East to offload her message.