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Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Fundraising

by Rachna Khare, Daya Executive Director

As a sophomore in college I was introduced to Robert M Pirsig's classic philosophical book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. This book touches on life's most important questions, however, without being a motorcycle enthusiast myself, the power of a motorcycle trip to lead to one's higher self was somewhat lost on me.

Serendipitously, it all clicked a few weeks ago when I had a joyful, contemplative, and deep conversation with Nick and Kanchan Sarao. Their love story is full of excitement and adventure, including a major investment in their dreams – leaving everything behind and traveling across the world on their motorcycles shortly after getting married.

While they've now settled down in Houston, where she grew up, they continue their passion for adventure and community building through the Indian Motorcycle Riders (IMR) – a group founded 13 years ago, bringing together riders from the Indian subcontinent. Today, the families of IMR race, travel, camp, hike, and have adventures. They bond over shared culture, new friendships, and giving back to their community.

Seven members of IMR (including Nick!) completed the Baja 1000 this year, taking on 1227 miles of off-road continuous racing from Ensenada, Mexico to La Paz. Through this journey they leaned on each other and used their individual grit and resilience. To prepare for the race, IMR launched a GoFundMe campaign of which 15% was given back to Daya and our sister agency Chetna. These funds allow survivors to get the help they need as they use their grit and resilience to build abuse-free lives.

Kanchan, Nick, and I agreed that stigmas only hold us back from living our fullest lives. When we let go of misconceptions about survivors, like those about a group of motorcyclists, we create beautiful things for our community. With the context of IMR's generosity, I see the truth in Pirsig's book. Motorcycle rides can indeed be a meditation on how to live better.

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