Get-hooked December 11, 2020
#InvisibleDisabilities- Biker & artist Archana Timmaraju has many roads to explore
In our monthly campaign #InvisibleDisabilities, we highlight on lives of youngsters who In spite of the many challenges rose up to being successful. Today we feature Archana Timmaraju who is hard of hearing categorized as an invisible disability. She is a biker and artist from Bengaluru. Read on to know more about Archana’s milestones.
Diagnosed with deafness since birth, education in inclusive schools, colleges and then founding her own biking academy for deaf people, Archana Timmaraju is unstoppable. Her milestones over years will inspire and motivate any person. She has completed a Bengaluru- Ladakh, 8400 kms bike ride, one of her many achievements. This youngster is planning ahead for more awareness rides not just in India, but across the world. Archana who also works as an art teacher with a leading Bengaluru school says that art is close to her heart.
Since she was born with a disability, Archana’s parents were determined to empower from childhood. Born in Hyderabad and then having moved to Bengaluru at the age of five, Archana calls Bengaluru her home. She studied in a mainstream school.
So from having an unclear speech, Archana can now speak and is only hard of hearing, thanks to her regular therapy sessions.
Passionate about art since childhood, Archana decided to take it up for higher studies too. She did a diploma in fine arts for two years, Bachelors and then masters in fine arts course. She also got an HRD scholarship. Archana then started making sculptures, something that she always found interesting.
Since she started painting from the age of eight, her parents knew where her skills lied it. They decided to help her flourish in art. Archana attended art classes since childhood and that helped her a lot. She even taught art to mainstream students and also kids with autism. She works at the Mallya Aditi International School as an art teacher since past eight years.
Tryst with biking
It was in the year 2004 that Archana first got introduced to bikes when she got the chance to meet a few riders. She instantly fell in love with bikes. Since Archana did not have her own bike, she hired a Yamaha RX 100 bike from her friend.
“I did not have difficulties getting a driver’s license since I was only hard of hearing. During those days, I used to ride around Bengaluru with my friends. It used to be fun. I never had my own bike, so used to hire them. Gradually, I started taking trips to faraway places every month. Those rides boosted my confidence. It was in the year 2015 that I took my first 250 kms long ride on the highway. It was a liberating experience. I started meeting other deaf bikers too”, says Archana. Though she was not fond of learning sign language, she learnt that as well. Archana says that in Bengaluru during those days, American Sign Language (ASL) was more popular than Indian Sign Language (ISL).
Archana completed a Bengaluru-Ladakh 8400 kms ride in a month. So every ride she takes, Archana ensures to promote some cause close to her heart.
Founding ‘Silent Expeditions’
By starting ‘Silent Expeditions’ in 2017, a bikers academy for deaf people, Archana wants more people from the community to try riding. Co-founder Daniel helps her to communicate.
In March 2021, Archana plans to head to north-east on a bike. In the next two years, she wants to do a world tour. Since procedures take time, Archana is taking it slow and steady.
“I want to promote education of deaf children through my ride. It is not easy for them to learn English or other languages. There are no exclusive universities for deaf people. They are struggling to communicate with people around them. I also want to create awareness about women’s safety in India. People are still in the dark when it comes to knowing how to behave to and respect a woman”, says Archana.
Due to Covid pandemic, Archana’s rides have taken a backseat. But she is gearing up to come back in full swing.
Watch in Sign Language
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