Many remember Moksha Jetley as the woman who fought off a rape attempt; fighting the attacker by herself and chasing him down when he tried to bolt, screaming for help all the while until he was nabbed.
The feisty Moksha recently rode her Royal Enfield all the way from her home in Manali to Kerala. She was not on a chase this time, but on a mission – to raise funds for educating 100 underprivileged girls.
But then, bike riding is more a passion than a hobby to 55-year-old Moksha who refers to the Enfield Bullet as her "loyal friend." She conducts bike tours to the Himalayas and all over India for foreign tourists.
A native of Hoshiarpur in Punjab, she has been a resident of Manali for years now. She has entered the Limca Book of Records for being the first woman to complete a bike journey from Leh to Manali in the shortest time. She achieved the feat of crossing this difficult terrain of 470 km in 20 hours and 20 minutes.
The cross-country journey started on October 2 from Leh. She reached Kanyakumari on October 18, covering a distance of 5000 kilometers. She chose the date of her daughter Prachi’s birthday to begin the journey and her 55th birthday to wind it up. She rode down Srinagar, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Vadodara, Pune, Goa and Karvar before reaching Kerala 14 days into the trip.
She met with a minor accident while on her way from Vadakkancehry to Thrissur. The bike fell into a pothole on the road and she fell off it. Apart from some minor bruises on her hands, the rider and the bike were intact. Other than that, the ride has been generally smooth, says Moksha.
The single mom, who worked as a chauffeur and in hotels – “to give my daughter a respectable life” - has seen many a rough patch. After the years of toil, the mother-daughter duo settled in Manali, where she began exploring her long-buried passion for biking. The calm and peace of the Manali days were briefly disrupted when she was attacked on the street in 2013. But that too faded away before Moksha’s courage and zest for life.