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Rajesh Bir Singh Tuladhar : The Ducatisti

Owning just one Ducati motorcycle is quite an achievement that easily puts you amongst the elites in a pack of enthusiastic motorcyclists. But what do you do when you meet someone who owns not just one, but two, and that too the most premium range toppers in Ducati’s line-up? And all this in a place like Nepal where you end up paying nearly the double of any motorcycle available abroad!

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Though some of us might not be able to immediately identify him, most of us can instantly associate with him once you try to recall those weekend hangovers you had to nurse through after having gulped down more than the regular dose of the highly popular McDowell Whisky, Antiquity Whisky, Signature Whisky, Blue Riband Gin or White Mischief Vodka, which are all sold in Nepal by United Spirits Nepal Pvt. Ltd. United Spirits Nepal is a leading spirits blender, bottler and distributor of Nepal and spearheading this fast growing company as the Director is Rajesh Bir Singh Tuladhar, our country’s version of a liquid baron who apparently seems to have a fine taste for the other good things in life as well. He is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Avanish Group, which has three other companies under its wing – Avanish Tradelink Pvt. Ltd, Avanish Distillery Pvt. Ltd and Avanish International Pvt. Ltd.

So we sit down for a chat with the man, probably the most obsessed Ducati sti in the country, in his personal garage which could easily give a Ducati showroom an inferiority complex.

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AL: So tell us what all are parked in your garage at the moment?

RT: I have a Ducati Diavel 1200 Carbon, a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring and a Volkswagen Touareg.

AL: Looking around your garage we can spot quite a lot of obsession with Ducati. Tell us more about your fascination with Ducati motorcycles.

RT: I’m a Ducatisti by heart. Ducati is a legendary brand. For me, the greatness comes from its exquisite heritage, advanced technology, beautiful designs and legendary status. In fact, before the Multistrada and Diavel too, I have also owned the Ducati Monster 796 and Ducati 848 EVO.

AL: Now that’s an amazing line up any enthusiastic motorcyclist would envy. Tell us about your favourite one from the lot and which one do you ride the most?

RT: The bikes are amazing and I love riding both of these machines. Whenever I need to go on a long ride with unpredictable terrain, the Multistrada is my weapon of choice. The Multistrada is a technologically advanced tourer that has the ability to adjust itself to a variety of terrains at the press of a button and offers an incredibly smooth ride on any kind of surface. It’s one of the very few powerful motorcycles in the world that can tackle rough and nasty pavements like nobody’s business. The Diavel on the other hand is a muscle cruiser, and the one that I ride on a regular basis and on most weekend rides. I try to make it a point to cruise with my Diavel every evening for a revitalizing cup of Cappuccino.

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AL: What do you prefer more? Bikes or Cars?

RT: I do prefer both. But nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. A good bike ride on a beautiful day can easily brighten ones spirits! Riding a motorcycle gives you the ultimate feeling of freedom and this makes it harder to avoid falling in love with a motorcycle.

AL: When it comes to four-wheelers what do you prefer. Hatchbacks, Sedans or SUVs?

RT: Considering the kind of challenging terrains we have in the country, I would go for SUV’s any day.

AL: How did you first learn to ride/drive? Do you remember the first car/bike you had a go on?

RT: I learned to drive on my own with the help of our family driver in the late 80’s. The first car I had a go on was the Datsun 2200 TT and used to ride a Suzuki GN 125 during my college days.

AL: Is there a driver usually behind the wheels of your car or is it you who takes charge?

RT: Normally I like to drive on my own, but when I travel outside the valley my driver takes charge of the wheels.

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AL: Till date, on which car or bike have you had the best ever riding/driving experience?

RT: The Volkswagen Touareg and Ducati Diavel is the best of all. I have had good experiences in Mazda 6, Toyota Corolla and Land Rovers too.

AL: Personally, what have been the pros and cons of owning some exotic set of wheels in Nepal?

RT: Exotic set of wheels are mainly bought to fulfil one’s own personal pleasures and obsession. It is something which you cannot compare or judge with anything else. It is an integral part of one’s passion and hobby. So I wouldn’t really evaluate the pros/cons of owning high end vehicles in Nepal when it has been acquired for one’s peace of mind. Exotic wheels should have equally exotic minds to rule.

AL: One wicked or crazy thing that you have done on wheels?

RT: The occasional wheelies on both my monsters.

AL: Is there another ultimate dream car/ bike that you’d like to have parked in your garage?

RT: I would like to have the Harley Davidson 48 and Mercedes Benz GL-Class SUV join my fleet in the near future.

AL: If you could wish for one automobile marquee to have a showroom here in Nepal, not yet present, which would it be?

RT: It has to be Audi.

AL: If given a chance to ride to any place in Nepal on a motorcycle/car of your choice, where would it be to and on what?

RT: I would love to ride to Mustang on my Multistrada. In fact, we have been trying to work this one out with members of the Ducati Owners Club Nepal. We call ourselves the ‘8848 Club’ for Nepal. I’m also planning to join the Ducati Everest Challenge 2014 which is being worked out by Ducati Nepal. If the challenge happens, it is going to be an amazing ride to Lhasa and the Everest Base Camp in Tibet from Nepal with a pack of thundering Ducatistis.

AL: In your opinion, what is the worst and the best thing about driving/riding in Nepal and what is the best?

RT: The worst aspect would be the untamed traffic in the city that seriously needs to be a lot more disciplined. The good thing would be that the roads around the country are getting much better and we already have the perfect scenic Himalayan landscapes to relish on every roadtrip.

AL: If you were given complete control of the country, what change would you bring about in the automotive scene of Nepal?

RT: Initiate globalization and strategic international alliances in our auto industry.

AL: How do you feel about the road widening and new roads construction project that is going on in the capital?

RT: This is a really appreciated effort by our policy makers. With Kathmandu turning into a concrete jungle, further widening of the narrow roads has become a necessity.

AL: Have you ever been caught in the MA PA SE (Driving Under The Influence) police checking?

RT: Not Yet. I avoid drinking and driving/ riding. I believe that the active MA PA SE campaign has saved so many lives and we should really appreciate and be thankful to the Nepal Government and Nepal Traffic Police for this initiative.

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AL: Your message or word of advice to all the auto lovers and owners in the country.

RT: As they popularly say, “One life, live it!” So enjoy whenever you can, but be safe and responsible whenever you hit the roads.

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