KOCHI: During last year’s lockdown, Aluva-native Fathima Neshwah was glued to motorbike racing videos on YouTube. Ever since she discovered motocross sport, the six-year-old wanted to own a bike and race like a rider. Fast forward to now, the kid now rides a 369 number-plated yellow motocross bike.
“It was difficult for me at first. My father helped me learn to ride around the compound of my house. Though the learning process was difficult, I realised if you have a strong will, anything is possible,” says Fathima.
When the youngster said she wanted to ride a bike, her parents barely thought the interest would stick.
“We never took her seriously until she came and asked us if we are not getting her a bike because she was a girl. The question struck a chord and prompted me to look out for a bike which she could ride,” says Abdul Kalam Azad, Fathima’s father.
The quest for a kid’s motocross bike was not as easy as he thought it would be.“I got a second-hand bike from a nearby shop. Since it was not in a good condition, she used to sit on it and push it all by herself inside the house. At times she hugged it too,” says Azad.After the bike was repaired, Fathima learned to ride in two to three days. From the premises of the house, Fathima soon shifted the bike to a nearby ground to practice better.
“She used to enact the riders in the videos she watched. When she started to perform stunts, I called a JCB to make bumps on the ground for her to do the stunts properly. After watching a few videos on YouTube, I installed a track-like set-up with the permission of the ground owner. During that time, people used to mock me for taking a six-year-old’s desire seriously,” says Azad.
When Fathima started to ride on the bumps and skidded like a pro, Azad realised that she was quite serious about riding and has the potential to do more. When the second-hand bike stopped working after fifteen days of continuous practice, Azad got her a new one through his friend in Delhi. Fathima practices daily in the morning and evening. Azad and his family are all encouraging Fathima’s riding skills. “In Kerala, not any people follow motocross. We want to fetch her more professional training,” says Azad.