Saturday, September 5, 2009

Living My Dream !!!

By : Deepa Malik participant Polaris ATV Challenge

Always wanting to be on wheels and being the active part of the motor sport world is what i forever dreamt of. I often laugh and quote that god mistook my wish and put me on a wheel-chair for good. Relegation to an indoor like was something i was not going to settle for,and thus began my search for opportunities where i could turn the wheel of fate and redesign it to include adventure and fun activities in the lives of wheel-chair bounds.

And one such opportunity came my way when i learnt about the India's first ATV rally organised by Western Motorsports with Trans-Asia Distributions.

I saw some potential of being able to participate as i did a record making drive on my ATV on tarmac road. So I could ride an ATV but a formal rally and that too off-road was a different thought and a scary one for a woman paralysed waist below.

I am glad that Rusy gave me the permission to participate on a condition of filling up formalities of paper work.But I'm also glad that the officials at Western Motorsports welcomed my unending queries with so much ease. I know I was very difficult with my bag full of questions about the route, my backup vehicle and even a place for my husband in it and the list goes on. My heart felt thanks to Anukraman and his team for being so patient with me. They not only made things look easier for me but also encouraged me. If it was not for the comfort zone and acceptance created by them, I dont think I would have mustered up the courage to request
Ashish Bahl of Adventure Wheels lending me one of his ATVs. A request to which he immediately responded with a positive and with it came with his participation as well.

As I landed at the scrutiny point, I could hardly contain the excitement but yes the reception was a little confusing as there were two counters. We did have to shuttle between the two a couple of times as the T-shirts and leaflets were given inside the hotel and documents had to be submitted outside at the scrutiny counter.At it took me a while to figure out wether we had to report at the Polaris counter or the scrutiny manned by Western Motorsports. The stay arrangements at Clarks Amer were good and definitely gave the event a great standard.

I wish there was a better media coverage and attendance at the press conference. A lot of effort and money was spent on arrangements but I sincerely felt a lack of media presence to do justice to match the magananimity of the event.

My parents were there to witness my flag off and my hubby dear to lift me in his Arms and made me sit on the ATV. It was indeed a dream come true for a person who had little hope of ever seeing a podium.I still remember Anukraman's words just before the Flag-off, "Don't keep thanking us,Our motto is to promote motorsports and we at Western Motorsports are just doing that.You wanted to be outdoors and its our duty to help you do that". Seriously they all did a wonderful job.

I had a special vehicle to back me up. Though I just did a few Kms on the Day 1. As I did feel betrayed by my body balance the off road terrain demands skillfull support of legs to balance the ATV,but still slowly I covered a few kms. and at every turn and bend there was a marshal to assist me but those few kms meant the world to me. I was then transported to finish line. Luckily it was a pleasent day and hunger was the only thing which bothered and not the heat, while I waited for everyone to reach the finish line.

The most pleasant surprise came that afternoon, when in the middle of nowhere were the awesome refreshment meal we were served. I am a caterer by profession and can say with a lot of authority that they were the best sandwiches i ever had. The juice and the brownie was the ultimate treat one could ask for....WELL DONE Western Motorsports. It would be not justified if I miss out on the mention of the visual treat we got by watching the hair raising descend of the Marhsal bikes and jeeps from an accute slope, Phewwww..... you guys at Western Motorsports are dare devils.

I have to commend Anjali also for keeping up with boys/men. She surely deserves a pat on her shoulder.

I loved this venue and the food of the break up party "The Farms", but I wished the audio visuals were not delayed so much. I also wish the announcements were a little more amicable and we all maintained the essence of sports and sportsmanship.

Overall I Loved the experience of a being a small part of the history in making. The Beginning of ATVs in India. I was happy that Polaris ATV Challenge gave me a platform to convey to the world that love for outdoors and adventure sports is a must. It gives you strength to fight the odds of life and facing challenges in good spirit. I hope I have been also able to achieve the aim of spreading the message of ability beyond disability. Through my participation i wanted to convey that the words adventure and motorsports go pretty well with physically challenged.

Just a few mindsets to change.

Thank you Polaris, Adventure Wheels and Western Motorsports for accepting me.

Deepa Malik