In yet another path breaking moment for Indian women, Captain Shikha Surabhi has become the first female officer to lead the Army’s ‘Daredevils’ motorcycle team, which performs gravity defying stunts, during the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
Shikha will be standing on a Bullet and saluting the Prime Minister of India during the 2.4 kilometre stretch. She will be followed by a human pyramid of 32 men on 9 motorcycles carrying three flags the flag of the Army, the National Flag and the Indian Army Corps of Signals flag.
“It is a proud moment, and I want to thank the officers for the great opportunity. My lady counterparts are already doing a fantastic job as fighter pilots and at the LOC, so it is satisfying to be among those women who are leading the way. I feel that my achievement will make young girls and the ‘daughters of the nation’ feel proud and further inspire them,” says Shikha.
She reveals that rigorous practice sessions, hard work, mind and body coordination and determination is what it takes to perform at the Republic Day Parade.
Shikha shares that she worked in Delhi for a couple of years before her adventurous side landed her in the Indian Army. “My relatives are also in the Army, and the high that I get when I see the uniform is at another level,” she reveals, adding, “I am an adventure junkie, and have undergone a mountaineering course. I’ve also done expeditions and adventure activities like rappelling, trekking, rafting etc. The Army offers great opportunities for people with such mindsets.”
After getting through the Services Selection Board at Allahabad in 2014, Shikha trained at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, and was first posted to Arunachal Pradesh after being commissioned in 2015. She is currently stationed in Punjab.
Performing daredevil stunts is risky, but Shikha relishes it all. “I first rode a Bullet at the age of 10. Since I was also into martial arts, things became easy for me after I got into the Army. Also, my officers helped me a lot and gave me enough time to pick up the ropes,” she says, adding that her determination to excel was the key to overcome challenges.
“Initially when I entered the Army camp that had 136 men, I was apprehensive whether I would be able to pull it off. But my willingness to succeed made the difference. They were friendly, obeyed my orders and I eventually shared a great camaraderie with them,” reveals Shikha, who also ascribes some part of her success to her fiancé, Captain Ankit.
“I draw great strength from him. He motivates me a lot. We are planning to get married in May this year. Since we both work in the same department and met over a six-months’ refresher course, we understand each other well. However, he is 10 times more adventurous than me,” says Shikha with a smile....