YOUNG Aishwarya Pissay had no inkling that a below average performance in the twelfth grade would pave the way for a career that she had only imagined in her wildest dreams. Having grown up in a regular Indian family, she was expected to take the college-graduation-job route like her peers.,YOUNG Aishwarya Pissay had no inkling that a below average performance in the twelfth grade would pave the way for a career that she had only imagined in her wildest dreams. Having grown up in a regular Indian family, she was expected to take the college-graduation-job route like her peers. She set out on a road trip with her seniors and incidentally they were biking. “I always admired my seniors, the women who rode bikes. But I was used to hearing women don’t ride motorcycles,” she says. Her interest in biking led her to apply for the then popular show, MTV Chase the Monsoons with a friend. “It was a bike trip that took me from the Rann of Kutch to Cherrapunji, and once it was over I knew I wanted to do a lot more of that,” she says.She returned to join the Apex Racing Academy in Coimbatore where she was the only woman training in professional track racing at the time. “The first time I was riding on the track, I realised that there was a lot I had to unlearn. Biking involves a lot of discipline,” she explains.In February 2016, at her first national professional race, Pissay finished a disappointing fourth but it left her determined to perform better going forward. This was followed by a road racing and a national rally win in the same year, a first for an Indian woman. She gained a sponsorship, went on to win more national titles in rally racing and there was no looking back. In 2017, Pissay had to choose between road racing or rally racing. “I enjoyed off-roading more since I was on a bike in the wilderness often for long periods. It is a lonely sport, but much more satisfying,” she explains.advertisementThis year, Pissay finished first at the Dubai Baja championship, third at the Portugal Baja and is gearing up for the forthcoming legs of the World Baja Championship in Spain and Hungary. She currently stands in the lead in the women’s category and in the second place in the Juniors category which includes both men and women. But these successes haven’t come easy. Last year, at the Spain Baja where she was the first Indian woman to ever participate, Pissay suffered an injury that left her with a ruptured pancreas. “My doctor said I wouldn’t be able to walk for six months. But, I was back on the track in that time. This championship has been a process of rehabilitation for me to get back on the track,” she explains.Despite major injuries, Pissay seems quite unfettered and is actively working towards bringing more women on the track. “I am only human and I’m scared when injuries happen. But people seem more concerned about scars and injuries with women. Scars don’t bother me,” she says. “Besides, injuries are a part of every athlete’s life,” she adds.Pissay dreams of being the first woman in the prestigious Dakar Rally and won’t stop short of that. In her own words, she lives a dream every day. “I play games on the Playstation and ride bikes for work, I couldn’t ask for more,” she says.