Zenith Irfan has been in the news ever since she traveled on a motorcycle, accompanied by her brother, to different regions of Pakistan. What’s so special about a girl riding a bike, anyway? In a country like Pakistan, where riding a motorbike is still a far cry for women as they are not even allowed to venture out of their houses unaccompanied by men, it is a huge deal.
She has been dauntless in the pursuit of her ambitions which consisted of traveling on a motorbike all over the country.
This has actually been her late father’s dream and she has fulfilled it with her inspiring motorcycle journey to the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
Zenith isn’t someone I wasn’t familiar with before she was catapulted to international popularity owing to her dazzling motorcycle journey. Indeed she is someone whom I’m acquainted with since I was in my high school. We were schoolfellows at a high school for O and A Levels named KIMS (Keynesian Institute of Management Sciences) in Lahore, Pakistan. She was my senior, as when I was doing O Levels, she was doing her A Levels.
Since then we’ve been connected with each other through the medium of our social media accounts and I have been involved with her various ventures on almost a regular basis. Currently, she’s an undergraduate student in her last year at LSE (Lahore School of Economics) and I am an undergraduate student in my first year at FCC (Forman Christian College) but still, we are connected with each other.
So I don’t just feel proud of her achievements because she’s just another fellow Pakistani like Malala, Abdul Sattar Edhi or Arfa Karim who has shown the world a positive image of Pakistan but I also feel proud of her accomplishments because she is someone whom I am acquainted with and friends with since my high school days.
And thus, using social media, I decided to have an exciting conversation with her about her motorbike journey and also about what she’s going through currently in the aftermath of that journey. Let’s have a look at our conversation.
Sarmad: How do you cope with the fame as you have made a journey from no one to someone?
Zenith: I don’t consider myself to be famous. I would rather say I’m popular amongst people (youngsters and primarily biking enthusiasts and travelers) but not famous as when I go out not many people recognize me until I tell them who I’m. But yes there is a sense of responsibility on me as a Muslim woman in Pakistan.
Sarmad: Would you tell me a bit more about the aforementioned sense of responsibility?
Zenith: It includes the careful choice of words on social media from my side as a young Muslim woman, the kind of audience I’m targeting, the dress I wear and what sort of expression I’m showcasing to the people as a Pakistani woman who is Muslim because my country has been portrayed in a very negative light in the global media for the past so many years. Through my motorcycle journey, I’m living and fulfilling my father’s legacy and telling the world that Pakistan is a safe place to travel to because if I. as a woman, can do it then they can too.
Sarmad: How the people who surround you treat you now after you’ve achieved fame?
Zenith: Some of my friends who left me when I wasn’t famous came back to me when I became famous and messaged me saying that they missed me – which is very ironic and sad because they only remembered me after I became someone. But I wouldn’t wish bad for them and just would want to give them my love and prayers.
Sarmad: As you are an undergraduate student who’s going to graduate soon, so how do your batch mates and people you meet on almost a regular basis react to the popularity you’ve achieved at such a young age through your motorcycle journey?
Zenith: They react in a very positive manner and all of them including my professors are very supportive and they are very happy to know that I’m actually studying in their class. My entire university supports me. They always remind me that I shouldn’t stop here.
Sarmad: Are there some people you know who are envious of your achievements?
Zenith: Obviously there are some people who are envious of my motorcycle journey and they also criticize my motorcycle journey. They often say that I’m doing this just for fame and I am lying about certain facts about my journey but that is not true and despite it all, I will continue my journey because I want to live my father’s legacy forever.
Sarmad: What are your future plans?
Zenith: I would love to write a book about my motorcycle journey and open up a company that will provide other bike riders and biking enthusiasts the platform to start riding. And if there’s a way then I would love to turn my motorcycle riding into a career but if I’m not able to do so then as I’m currently studying Marketing and Finance (BBA Hons) from Lahore School of Economics (LSE) and I also have great interest in Digital Marketing so I may become a digital marketer and will use my degree.
Sarmad: What do you want to say about your biopic “Motorcycle Girl”?
Zenith: I’m very excited and very emotional. I feel as if I’ve achieved something as this movie is about every that person who has dreamt of something but couldn’t accomplish their dreams due to certain circumstances.