Published: 26th October 2018
On the road with Deepa Radhakrishnan, the expert biker who is exploring the world of art
Deepa Radhakrishnan speaks about spreading love for the road and the magic of art
Deepa Radhakrishnan is not afraid of the road ahead. Whether it comes to traversing the roughest of terrains on her bike or persevering to bring artists together, she's got the journey sorted in her head. And with this vision in mind, she has managed to find herself at the helm of various game-changing organisations. With a day job as creative content head at Samosa App, Deepa finds enough time to teach women to ride geared bikes without fear and encourage music & arts through an initiative called Tangy Sessions.
Let's start from the beginning. Deepa is an Executive Board Member of Hyderabad United Bikers. The group was formed three years ago and she happens to be the only female member in the core team. "It's not like a club which rides together to go to different destinations but a community of bikers who have come together to help with different causes that we believe in and make an impact in the society around us. We are breaking the barriers there in the attitudes of people and to spread social awareness messages.” It is a community with 17 riding clubs functioning under it currently. The team has organised a number of rides with the aim to bring attention to social causes such as exploitation of women, a responsible riders ride, an outreach for hunger and for the inclusion of persons with disability at workplaces.
RIDING ON: Deepa has been training women to ride bikes
Most events are taken care of from the organisation's centre in Hyderabad. Deepa explains, "We ensure that people wear the correct riding gear and are secure throughout. We keep getting involved in these causes that we believe and we take it up together." Each club has their own Facebook page and their own set of dedicated followers. Each member within them has a small riding community following them as well. Deepa says, "There are so many causes that we have aligned with.
She goes on, "The first impact is within the club. Each club and their head go out saying this is what they stand for. A lot of people from other clubs also support us. Second thing is, when we organise a ride in the city, we give out stickers and pamphlets and things like that to create awareness. We also give media coverage. They have supported us on a few rides. There are a lot of people paying attention."
Usually, even if it's just a few people riding together, people pay attention. So when you have 400 bikes riding together in the city, it obviously brings people's attention to us. When we started out, we had a lot of people ask us and reach out. So we have a following organically
Deepa Radhakrishnan, Biker and Founder of Tangy Sessions
Deepa never dreamt of teaching others to ride bikes. "I've been riding for a long time. A lot of people have come up to me and spoken about their apprehensions on riding a geared bike. They speak about a lot of barriers and fears that they have about bikes and not being able to learn to do it. I used to keep telling them that it is not that difficult to learn" says Deepa. Having understood the impact riding has had on her own life and how it allowed her to be self-reliant, she decided to pass on the knowledge.
“People say that geared bikes are too heavy for a woman to handle,” she says. "It might be too heavy for some people. I myself am 5'8 so I can handle it a bit easier. I have back pain and am not supposed to be carrying heavy weights, but I still ride my bike and am able to handle my bike with ease. I personally know that it is not about the weight of the vehicle but about how you are able to balance it. Recently I decided that I wanted to answer these questions that people had." After working with various women who have greatly benefited through what she had to teach them, Deepa swears by the importance of women taking more risks and pushing oneself, saying, "Women shy away from riding sometimes because from childhood they are taught to be careful and that makes them apprehensive of doing things which are adventurous or risky in their mind. So when we actually take a step forward, we have to face it and achieve it. We need to tap into that sense of accomplishment at the core. While you're riding, you do feel a sense of freedom and learn to handle yourself better and take risks actively."
JAM SESSION: Tangy sessions bring together different artists on one platform
In 2016, Deepa founded Tangy Sessions with Arjuna Prasad. The initiative is about different types of artists coming together to create different types of original music and art. "We are building a community here in Hyderabad," she says. "We welcome artists of all sorts like musicians, dancers and painters from all over the world to perform for us. We have held over 30 sessions in the past 2 years." At Tangy Sessions, artists can find an open platform where they can express their art in its rawest form.
Recently, they hosted Daniel Waples, a pioneer in handpan music along with Gali Durugappa, who plays a number of unconventional instruments and his 15 yr old son, Durga Prasad playing the Djembe. "For these three people to come together really means a lot. All three of them jamming together is the sort of experience that we like to focus on. These are unique experiences and we take pride in being able to curate them. We are on this journey together. For the community, for the artists and for the people," concludes Deepa.