If the name Faraaz Siddiqui sounds familiar to you, then you’re not wrong because a couple of months ago we had showcased an award-winning short film titled “Humsafar” in which Faraaz Siddiqui (MBA Final Year) was one of the main actors.
We profile Faraaz once more because besides his passion for acting, he also harbors a passion for motor-racing. But unlike so many of us who simply harbor a need for speed and dream to be a racer one day, Faraaz is someone who is living that dream and regularly participates in motor sporting events meant for serious racers.
Speaking about his love for motorsports, Fraaz says: “Unlike acting,” his first love allegedly, “motorsport is very tough to pursue as an adventure sport in India. It’s expensive with no administrative support and above all it involves a lot of risk. Convincing family is also a big deal, but Alhamdulillah it was not an issue in my case.”
Faraaz tells us that he has already participated in many national championships, speed sprints and motocross events in the country. In fact, he tells us, recently he won an award for being the second fastest rider at the ‘Speed Sprint‘ race held at Gurgaon in July of this year, 2014.
However, the story Faraaz would like to share with our readers is of a different motor-race he recently took part in. The motor event in reference is the off-road motor-rally called “Raid De Himalaya” that runs from Shimla to Ladakh covering an approximate distance of 1200 kms, held in October every year. The track covers some of the highest motorable passes in the world, for examlple: Khardung La, Kunzum La, thus making it the highest altitude rally in the world. Being up so high in the Himalayan mountains, the weather can get really cold; at some places the temperature can drop 25 degrees below zero, plus windchill. Such harsh conditions make Raid De Himalaya rally the second toughest rally in the world after Dakar rally, and the toughest rally in India. [To know more about Raid De Himalaya Rally watch this promotional video on Youtube here: 16th Raid De Himalaya.]
Faraaz tell us, that it is said: “to participate in the Raid De Himalaya rally, you should have a chromosome descended from Gengis Khan.” And after listening to his story, we cannot agree more.
Faraaz’s Raid De Himalaya rally story starts in the month of September, 2014.
“I left for recce of Raid in September, a month before the actual race,” he tells us, “but the next day on my way to Shimla, I met with a road accident. My bike slipped and collided with a truck. I was badly injured in the accident and had to be admitted into a hospital in Chandigarh. My bike was totaled as the truck I collided with ran over it. I spent two days in a trauma centre in Chandigarh, and later shifted to Delhi. I was on complete bed rest for three weeks.”
Continuing on with his story he says: “The day for the raid was approaching fast. It was only four days away and I was still in bed with a cast on my leg. But as they say, where there is a will, there is way. I believe, an accident can break my bones but my spirit is much much stronger. So I got out of my bed and somehow managed to get around in the wheelchair. And the first thing I did was got my bike repaired.”
With his bike repaired, leg cast off, but still having to rely on a walking stick to walk around, Faraaz with spirits high, set out for a ride of his life. He tells us:
“Finally on 3rd of October, I left for the most adventurous, the most difficult journey of my life. I completed the Leg 1 of the rally (Shimla to Manali), Leg 2 (Manali to Kaza) crossing high passes like Rohtang La & Kunzum La with a still fractured foot and with internal injury in my leg. I reached Kaza within a time as good as the top 4 riders in my category of riders, but unfortunately, on the last leg of the race (Comic village: Worlds Highest Village) I took a little longer to reach my destination for which I got an MPL (Maximum Permitted Lateness). And the reason for lateness was that I had a flat tire on the way and I had stopped to help my fellow-rider friends who were stuck under their bike during the race.”
Looking back reminiscently Faraaz says: “This has been the most adventurous thing of my life. Something called ‘Certifiable Insanity’. I thank the Almighty for everything, my family who believed in me and allowed me to go for this rally even after meeting this tragic accident, my friends for helping me unconditionally and most importantly Jamia Millia Islamia, because whatever I am today, I owe it to my university.”
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