The Telegraph
Monday , March 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Biker babe

Jodhpur Park girl Debi Dutta is “excited” about her latest venture. No, it isn’t a screen outing, but an eight-nation bike ride: De Paix Yatra. She tells t2 about this “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

Debi Dutta

How did the trip come about?

I was shooting with this photographer called Nitesh (Square)... he told me that he is going for this trip. I got quite excited hearing about it because of the whole content. I said that I wanted to definitely come along. This was about two or three months back. I am taking a break from my routine life and going out there with an open heart and open mind… I have always been a rebel and I have always had very supportive parents. Everybody is happy that I am doing this.

Take us through the idea of this trip…

There are these two boys Parth (Vasavada, ‘social entrepreneur’) and Nitesh who came up with the concept of riding bikes from Bombay all the way to London. This is a new-age peace movement called De Paix (Yatra), which means ‘the peace’ in French. We will be crossing the Wagah border and getting into Pakistan, then Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and then finally, England. The idea was to record the lives of extraordinary people who have done something for peace across eight nations. [Team De Paix Yatra leaves on April 12 from Gateway of India].

The entire journey would be two months on bike. All the universities are supporting us in every country. The United Nations is also supporting us.... Omar Abdullah, (APJ) Abdul Kalam, Vishal Dadlani have tweeted about us. We are getting a lot of celebrity support.

We will also be having a peace anthem that I am writing and composing. By the end of March it is going to be out. We have chosen English as the language as we will be travelling across eight nations. It has some Hindi lyrics too. We’ve got three singers for it. I will be singing one version and Anushka Manchanda and Ramona (ex-MTV veejay) will be singing the other two. The music will be different for all three. I am planning to record it in Calcutta.

What is the itinerary?

Before we cross over to Pakistan, I will be going to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and Ajmer Sharif. Then we’ll see how it goes. We will be spending one night in each of the countries and will be travelling only during the day for seven to eight hours. My role is that of an anchor… we are making a documentary. We are going to get it documented and edit it our way.

What kind of security measures are in place?

Our security is the university in each country, like the Pakistan Youth Congress is supporting us…

How are you preparing for the trip?

I have been taking lessons (in bike riding) and also strengthening my core. So, lots of gym and exercising. It is not going to be easy. There is nothing glamorous about it. It will be in the middle of summer and the sun is going to be hard… so the skin and hair will go for a toss. The boys are bikers. I am the odd one out in the team. They have asked me to strengthen my core because seven to eight hours on the bike will not be easy… dehydration, backache, joint ache… hopefully, no accidents on the way. I would want to ride, but not for the whole trip… we will be taking turns. We are going on two vintage Enfields.

What are the packing essentials on such a trip?

I am getting these really cool pair of biker boots, which I am customising for myself. Other than that, it is mostly going to be pants… a lot of cottons. Pakistan and Iran are going to be the toughest to cross because they have the purdah system and you have to be completely covered… my suitcase has a lot of sunscreen too.

Saionee Chakraborty