Veenu Paliwal: Indian "Girl on a Motorcycle"
Indian Girl on a Bike
Many people must have seen the classic movie of 1960 titled " girl on a Motorcycle" starring the lovely Marianne Faithful. This French film was a rage as it brought to the fore a hitherto unknown aspect of a woman who loved bikes. The film is considered a classic and I must have seen it many times and each time it never fails to thrill me.
The film has a sad ending as the heroine carried away by her enthusiasm crashes into another vehicle and dies. One wondered whether there can be a real life " Girl on a Motorcycle". One need not look far as in India we have had a girl of great guts who drove Harley-Davidson at 180KM per hour as well. She was Veenu Paliwal a girl from Jaipur. unfortunately like the tragic end of the film, Ms. Paliwal also died in a road accident while driving from Kashmir to Deep South at Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh.
She was taken to a local health center, but she died there because of internal injuries. her liver had ruptured. A sad end to the career of a daredevil girl.
Career Veenu Paliwal
Veenu Paliwal was born in 1972 and she died in 2016. She was just 44 years old. She was an addict of the Harley Davidson and drove the bike in and around Jaipur. Once she did the 1200 km run from Jaipur to Bombay on her bike in just a day. One can imagine the average speed she must have clocked on the national highway.
Veenu was married and had two children a son and daughter. Her husband could not countenance the idea of his wife driving bikes, so the marriage ended in divorce. But Veenu continued her biking career. She also ran a small cafeteria at Jodhpur called " Chai Pani". Veena was a permanent fixture of the Jaipur scenario and girls from all over India were inspired by her.
Veenu was commissioned by Harley-Davidson to drive her bike as a publicity gimmick from Kashmir to Kanyakumari at the southernmost tip of India. All along the route, she was to visit all the Harley-Davidson dealers in the region. However, her bike skidded in Madhya Pradesh and God gave his final call.
Veenu was on the cross-country drive with another fellow biker. Her sudden death has shocked Indians. In a conservative country, Veenu was indeed a trailblazer. She was deeply indebted to her father for inculcating her love for motorbikes. Her father owned a Royal Enfield.
Veenu has a son who is in the USA and a daughter in high school. I haven't heard much about her husband. Her love for bikes was almost bordering on legend and I am sure she must be the only woman in Asia who has ridden a Harley- Davidson at 180 km an hour. One must remember that Indian roads are not like those in the UAE or USA and high speeds are not possible. All credit to her that she negotiated the difficult road conditions in India and that too on the powerful Harley Davidson.
When I heard the news of her death it saddened me. She was a trailblazer and I am sure her memory will live forever. I wonder whether the Indian Government can institute an award in her name. She will remain an inspiration to countless Indian girls to break free from the shackles of tradition and put their firm step forward.