Bullet Ama: Inspiration to Many

We commonly hear the phrase ‘Age is just a number’ yet see very few scenarios of it being implemented. The society that we live in now, is a constrained bubble where everything and everyone is placed under certain standards that are to be fulfilled, especially for women. There are very few women like Pushpalata Acharya who go above and beyond those standards and break those barriers. Now in her early 60s, Acharya has accumulated many titles under her name from a writer, film producer, a philanthropist and her most famous title, bullet rider. Her zest for biking is what made her popular among the masses and earned her a nickname, Bullet Ama. 

Taking a break after her latest ride to Sindhuli, AutoLife got the chance to meet the one and only Bullet Ama for tea at her home in Shantinagar, Kathmandu. She shared her life’s journey and talked about her love for motorcycles.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am a writer, film producer now an avid rider but I prefer to be known as a philanthropist. I am actively involved in social service with more than 75 organisations. I am very ambitious in nature. Be it writing, publishing books, producing movies or riding bikes, I do with full dedication.

Where is the farthest you have been in a day?

It was on my recent biking trip that my son and his friends planned from Delhi to Lucknow in India. I think I rode nearly 600km in one day. Though I have travelled before on my bike, this was the farthest I have ridden my bike in one day.

When did the thought of riding a bike come to you?

My elder child, Andeep Acharya is also passionate about bikes like me. He often organises bike rides with his fellow biker friends mostly to raise money for social causes or to deliver relief materials. There used to be lots of relief materials, so to help them I used to take my scooter.
Boys on their bikes were tough to keep up with my scooter and I started feeling left out even though they didn’t do it intentionally. That’s when I thought that I should start riding bikes too.
Why did you choose a Royal Enfield Classic and not other bikes?
When I told my son that I wanted to ride a bike, he was very supportive. He was the one who suggested that I should ride a Royal Enfield bike. My son runs a business in the UK so he is settled there. But he often comes to Nepal to visit me and to participate in various Royal Enfield rides and social causes. So he bought a Royal Enfield bike here In Nepal. His Royal Enfield Bullet was unused most of the time. It was either parked or used by his nephews. So he suggested that I should make use of it. It wasn’t my conscious decision to choose a Royal Enfield bike, it just happened.

Can you share with us your initial experience of learning to ride on a Royal Enfield Bullet?

As per my son’s suggestion, I decided to start using his Bullet for practice. As his Bullet was the older model, it was way too heavy for me. The first few days were tough, I couldn’t even move the bike from its place, forget about starting it or riding it. After struggling for a few weeks, I decided to buy a new one instead. So, I went to the Royal Enfield showroom and got myself my own bike and modified it accordingly.

I started practising around my home but it started getting intimidating. I was constantly surrounded by looks of concern and awe from my neighbours. So, I decided to ride to Pokhara instead. From Pokhara, I went to Chitwan and so on. That’s how I practised.

Where have you been till now?

I have travelled to many places. To name a few, I have been to Dang, Krishnagar, Kapilvastu within Nepal and to Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Gorakhpur in India. Every journey I have been to I return with bittersweet memories. I recently went to Sindhuli a month prior. It had been raining heavily since morning and we reached there by evening. This was the first time I wore proper riding gear. It was confusing at first and took me some time to get used to changing gears with riding boots but I managed.

When did you get your driving licence?

I started riding a Bullet two and a half years ago. But this is not the first time I have ridden a bike. It was in the mid-90s when I rode my son’s bike, he had a Yamaha RX at the time. It was then when I got my licence, around 26 years ago to be more specific.

How is your book coming along?

It’s a work in progress and I have already decided on a title. But I am worried that readers will find my book tedious as I am frequently giving interviews and sharing my journey. I also feel that due to advances in technology, people rarely read books as they would rather search on the internet. Though I have published around 63 books until now, these things are bugging me, making me feel discouraged. So it might take me a bit longer than usual but I assure it will be published.

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