In Bangladesh, women have to go the extra mile and overcome hurdles at every step they take in life. When they try to do something that the society terms "unconventional", barriers keep arising at every twist and turns.
However, for T H Nima, it was not hard to overcome challenges she faced while pursuing her passion for two wheels. A banker by profession, Nima has been an avid scooterist since she moved to Dhaka in 2016.
"When I shifted to the capital, I had to commute from Uttara to my office in Gulshan five days a week. Travelling to and from work turned out to be very hectic which is why I decided to buy a scooter and that is how it all started," said Nima during an interview with The Business Standard.
Soon after she purchased her first scooter – Suzuki Lets, Nima started touring the city and eventually began exploring neighbouring districts. Over the past four years, she covered around 40 districts and plans on riding across all 64 eventually.
While many passionate motorcyclists pursue milestones of motoring through all of Bangladesh's districts, Nima prefers exploring the beauty nature has to offer rather than just riding on one highway from the other.
"With a nine-five job, it is almost impossible to set off on long rides. Exploring popular attractions and landmarks of a district takes time. I like to take it slow and embrace every step of the journey," said Nima when asked of milestones she wants to achieve.
Between her professional and personal life, Nima manages to travel on two wheels twice every month.
When asked to share the experience of one of the most memorable rides, she said, "My friend and I rode to Awrakhali Bazar, Gazipur on a Friday morning last year to feast at a restaurant that serves around 18 types of fish dishes. We really enjoyed the food but we were not ready to head home yet."
"At four in the afternoon, we decided to extend our ride till Kishoreganj with a little twist of cruising through towns while avoiding the highways. There was no one but the two of us on the road and though it seemed a bit unsafe, it was one of the most adventurous journeys I have had so far on two wheels," added Nima. Though she rides in groups from time to time, Nima mostly prefers riding solo but it has its drawbacks as well. According to her, it is hard to be a female rider and not face any challenges on the road.
"Though I try my best to not look like a female rider, when passers by realise I am a woman, they try to come closer with their vehicles, some keep hoarding around, some try to catch up while some try to slow me down, and non-stop stares keep flowing. Whenever I pause the ride to rest, the looks I get are not very welcoming. These are a few common issues but can be dealt with," expressed Nima.
The negativities have little to no impact on Nima's passion as her family, friends, and colleagues stood beside her ever since she bought her first bicycle.
"In 2013, I bought my first bicycle and when I brought it home, my parents did not say anything. That is when I realised they had accepted me as is. They knew for a fact that I would do something adventurous," she said.
Soon after Nima began bicycling, she covered a total of 221KM in a day within Sylhet division and is yet to stop exploring. Like every traveller, Nima desires to travel the world but, "There is very little scope to do so. However, I really want to explore India on my scooter soon as the situation gets better."
Besides exploring the world on two wheels, Nima also wants to share her passion with others. She plans to build a training school at her hometown – Sylhet and empower girls and women by teaching them how to ride scooters.