Our society has restrictive thoughts about how women should behave. And women who don’t remain within the social norms, are labeled as REBELS. As per society, these so-called REBEL women are doomed and have no future. But in reality, well-behaved girls seldom make history!
Here’s one such story of Roshni Misbah aka the ‘Hijabi Biker’, who dared not to FIT IN, rather STAND OUT.
While sharing her inspiring story with HOB, she mentioned:
“I come from a Muslim family of scholars and Maulana’s, but my first love has always been bikes and my father’s been the most supportive. I rode my first bike when I was in the 9th grade and loved the feeling, but I got criticized for it only because I was a girl. So I let it go for a while.
I was 22, and preparing for my CAT exams, when the rut of everyday life bore down on me — I was at my lowest. I remember leaving the house to give my CAT exam, when it hit me that I really didn’t want to — so I turned around and came back.
Honestly, at the time, all I knew was that I wanted to do something I loved. So I took admission in Jamia University because it gave me the opportunity to ride a bike to and fro.
My parents were hesitant, but I kept pushing and convinced them. I had some money saved up from working at a publishing house — I pooled it all in and with my father’s help, I bought my very first bike.”
“Believe me, a Muslim girl, with her head covered, riding a bike, was an anomaly in college, but it was for the best, because some of the girls in my college started biking too! Around then, I tried joining a group traveling to Ladakh, but I overheard them saying I wouldn’t be able to do it, but I knew my capabilities and left it upto time to tell.
That’s when a local newspaper wrote an article about me and slowly, I gained popularity — I attended events, and even gave 2 TEDx talks. Soon after, I was approached by Indian Motorcycle, to ride with them for girl child education — from Kashmir to Kanyakumari! Finally the chance to prove my mettle came my way — I rode the entire way on a 400 kg bike in record time!
People started recognizing me on the street, and cops wanted to take selfies with me! I began posting on social media, and it had an amazing snowball effect — girls began sending me videos of them riding bikes! I was just being me, and that was empowering enough.
But I got trolled too. There have been times when guys on bikes see me on the road, and try to prove they’re better by trying to overtake me and in my head I’m like, ‘Aaja beta’ and before they know it, I’ve gone full throttle and zoomed away. That’s not all — some people have even said that I won’t get married because of biking!
But honestly, at the end of the day, when people ask me why, I just have one response — my religion, ethics, gender and clothes have nothing to do with my passion. I have five bikes but I also pray five times a day. I practise my religion, I cover my head, but I wear a leather jacket and biker boots too. I’m doing what my heart tells me to — it’s as simple as that. Why do I need a label or a tag to define me?”
Hope, her inspiring story gives strength to many more women out there who are struggling to fit in.
At I FOR HER, we celebrate every woman who is shattering the norms. If you have a story of a free-spirited woman, who refuses to live life on someone else’s terms, then share her story with us.