Hyderabad: Shanti Susan doesn’t just don the hat of a cop, she juggles many.
One fine day in her teenage years, her elder brother had intrigued her interest in motorcycling and taught her to ride. The powerful rev of the motorcycle and the adrenaline rush that followed it, made Shanti fall in love with riding. She hasn’t looked back since then. In fact, the single mother of two daughters has taught riding to several women free of cost or at a bare minimum fee.
“I’m a 2005 batch constable with Hyderabad City Police. My first posting was at the Women’s Police Station, Begumpet. I also worked with the SHE Teams for four years, and that’s when I met a woman who introduced me to a biking group in the city. We did a lot of breakfast rides and I told Swati Lakra, Additional DGP (Women Safety and SHE Teams) about our all-women’s biking group. Soon, we began doing awareness rides on women’s safety,” the 34-year-old siad.
“We then got an opportunity from the Telangana government to promote tourism in the State and country while also creating awareness that riding is not just a man’s territory. Four of us women travelled 17,000 km and covered 11 Indian States and five countries including Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam back in 2018,” Shanti, a resident of Lalaguda, added.
During her initial days on duty, she would commute on her Royal Enfield Classic 350 and was appreciated by the traffic police and even by onlookers for being a woman rider.
“I began riding on Hero Puch, Bajaj Boxer, Pulsar and then Bullet. But when I got married, my husband would restrict me from riding, so I shifted to a gearless bike for a few years. I also faced harassment from him which went on for years until I decided that I shouldn’t let any man dictate my life. I divorced him. My parents and my brother have always supported me. Now, even my daughters are my pillars of strength,” shared Shanti, whose father was an RPF officer.
Shanti is also a humanitarian. During the lockdown period, she provided food for almost 50 families every day, from her salary and her mother’s pension.
Advising amateur women riders, she said, “Young women must face their fears and not let society tell them what to do. Even if 99 people say negative things about you, the 100th person will give you a thumbs up and there will be immense satisfaction in that. Also, don’t start speeding as soon as you learn to ride. Ride slowly and enjoy the picturesque locations around you.”
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