( First published in Biz Divas Magazine; re-edited for SafetyKart)
By Vidya Deshpande
So you are a working mother with a hectic schedule and added to that you are a mother of school-going kids. And you feel that there is no ‘me’ time for you? Take heart, it’s never too late to start off on anything that you wish to do, whatever your age may be.Take my own case. I am pushing 50 but have taken up running as a sport. In the last week of October this year, I ran my first half marathon, from Qutub Minar to Red Fort, passing several other Delhi landmarks on the way! And there’s more: I have run in a few other marathons thereafter, and rearing to go for a few this year too.
But I’m not the only one. Take 36-year-old Shailja Sridhar. She was an active person, but two kids and the challenges of stay-at-home parenthood kept her grounded. Then she decided to break out and make time to follow her passion. ‘I started cycling on a whim and enjoyed it a lot. Running with some friends occasionally, I decided to sign up for my first half marathon. Now, just two years later, I have done more than 20 half marathons, my first full marathon and the ambition to become faster, ‘she says.
Shailja’s crowning glory was the moment she clocked 3:51:58 at the Berlin Marathon, a timing of under four hours for a distance of 41.195 kms and when won the Delhi Pinkathon half marathon in Delhi earlier this September. ‘I have enjoyed every moment of this journey. And found hidden reserves of energy and passion within myself for everything in life,’ says Shailja.
Mirroring Shailja’s case is Deepa Ajit. She too began running four years ago, when she first moved to Gurgaon after a stint abroad. She recalls her first run, a 5 km run, where she struggled to even finish. ‘It was during this event that I meet many other runners and people who had a passion to do things,’ says Deepa. And she hasn’t looked back from there. From runner she moved on to trekking and mountain climbing. ‘I decided to climb to Everest Base Camp without too much planning. My sister-in-law and I hired a Sherpa from Kathmandu and some porters and we set off,’ she says.
That was her first experience of a high altitude mountaineering trek. But she had tasted blood. The very next year she planned a proper trip with 8 other like-minded women and undertook an even tougher climb to the Annapoorna Base Camp. And now her sights are set on Mount Kilimanjaro for next summer. ‘Age is no barrier,’ she says,’ When I was young my parents never introduced me to any sport, I also bunked sports class in school. But when I took up running, I began training hard and now have the stamina, endurance and the right knowledge to undertake such treks.’
As George Elliot’s famous quote goes: It’s never too late to be what you might have been! So step out of the box and pursue what you are passionate about. Trust me, you have nothing to lose