Daring and confident, Aarzu is a women stunt rider of Nepal who won women category of National Stunt Battle 2016 and participant of 1ST Orange Stunt Championship 2018. Her fearless nature keeps her spirit high enough to do stunts in two-wheeler.
The beginning of stunt
Arzu Singh Thakuri had a soft spot for adventure and bikes from a very early age. Her first ride was a scooter, which belonged to her sister, when she was in the fourth grade. Her family has always been supportive in her journey and never restricted her from riding. Even though she owns her own bike now, she used to ride one that belonged to her dad until very recently.
She first learnt to ride a bike in the three months after SLC. It took her only three months to get prepared for her first stunt show after her SLC. She was persuaded by one of her friends to try doing stunts on motorcycles as she was courageous, ambitious and wouldn’t stand back from racing with other guys on their motorcycle.
Her first stunt show on her motorcycle was National Stunt Battle 2016 where she was only the only female contestant riding a motorcycle. She came first in the women category winning accolades from the audience and the organizers. This was the turning point for her in the stunts showbiz.
The birth of ‘Tyson’
Talking about how she was named Lady Rider Tyson, she says the word ‘Tyson’ was given by her Grandmother. “I used to be a very tough girl back then, I have some memories of beating guys as well”, she recalls.
About support from family and friends, she has had all that was required to become who she is today. She recalls her father being a very supportive person who would encourage her to move ahead in the direction of her interest. She fondly recalls her father offering her keys to the vehicles and telling her she could drive or ride anything she wanted. “As someone who is very attracted to the sports of the adventure, there wasn’t more one could ask for”, she says. Her teacher was also one of the best motivating factors for the journey.
Talking about what drove her interest this far, she says it was support from her family that got her here. She remembers the members of her family telling her to ride more carefully when she came wounded from the practice sessions but they never forced her to stop doing stunts. All of her family members would enjoy her skills and tricks on the bike and encourage her to do more.
“As the stunt battle got near, I would spend two more extra hours practicing on the road after regular sessions. It was usually after eight that I would reach home and was usually covered in wounds and dirt. Seeing this, my mom would scold me and tell me be more careful and say all this effort was madness. But then, I told her I would bring a medal home and once I did it, everyone was happy but she was the happiest.”
Being a stunt rider isn’t always as interesting as it looks from the audience perspective though. She says that the expenses could be as high as Rs. 5,000 per day on an average. Lack of shows to perform in, low pay and the lack of proper infrastructure are among other problems a stunt rider has to face apart from the state not legalizing the art of stunts and still counting this adventurous activity under ‘rough driving’, which is punishable by law.
“As a stunts performer, you would normally spend 5000 to 6000 per day on an average and performances wouldn’t pay much in the present scenario. Most of the organizers ask to perform for free and others offer to perform for very little amount of money. On top of that, there won’t be offers at all, making it really difficult to sustain as a professional stunt practitioner. “she laments.
Most recently, she was featured in ‘Dare Venture’, a television show for bike riders where she was the only lady participant. She made it to the top 4 and earned appreciation from the audience and the organizers as well. She recalls people motivating her and how they were awestruck to realize that a girl was performing some of the amazing stunts which they had not expected.
Message to youths
Asked whether she has any message to the young girls who are aspiring to become riders but holding back due to various reasons, she says they shouldn’t hesitate to come forward and try practicing things they like. She believes that the girls can do much more than boys if they could just muster up the courage to come forward and try. “There will be people in the society who would talk behind your back, try to stop your parents from allowing you to practice, talk the risks and so on. However, once you are sure this is what you want to do, be ready to convince them you are going to become successful in this and it was their support that was required to take you there.” she says.
By: Avaya Devkota