Deepa Malik: Where there's a wheel

Deepa’s love for bikes is connected to more than just the thrill of the riding experience. It also introduced her to Bikram Singh Malik – a fellow biker whom she ended up marrying.

Around age 18, she hung out with bikers, who tended to be men who were older than she was: “Back then, bikes were only owned by men, not young boys, the way it is these days,” she says. And one of these older men was Bikram, then 24 and a captain in the Army. In one of their early meetings, riding in on her Luna, she asked him if she could ride his bike, an Ind-Suzuki, and he laughed her off. He stopped laug-hing though, when he saw her skills and confidence.

After they were married, Bikram retired from the army as a colonel to support his wife’s sports career. Now that Deepa is well established, he works as senior manager at Hindustan Construction. Soon after the marriage, and as promised, Deepa got her first motorbike, a 100cc Kawasaki Bajaj. But that biking experience was short-lived.

Following the birth of her second child in 1995, Deepa was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumour. After three surgeries, she was left paralysed from the chest downwards. “More than the illness, being relegated to a room and not being able to drive again was disturbing,” she says.