HYDERABAD: For 10 years, 120 months, 521 weeks, 3,650 days, 87,600 hours and 52,56,000 minutes, the cells in the brain were passionately processing and extensively exploring nothing but the trajectory to learn and love artistic skating. She felt at home while pursuing this sport. The 70 medals in 10 years is a testament of her unabashed gusto for the sport. She is not just breaking records at the skating rink, but also challenging the patriarchal norms of the society by adopting her mother’s name as her middle name.
Kairavi Falguni Thakkar, 18 year-old BA first year student at St Francis Degree College, Begumpet, our very-own Biryani eating girl has won a silver medal for artistic skating at the 55th National Championship held in Chennai from January 27 to 31, making our chest swell with pride.This millennial cherishes the million memories she has had in and out of the rink more than her medals. “No journey is walked alone. Some people inspire you. Some degrade you and belittle you - and most importantly leave a a stepping stone for you to keep moving forward. RSAT (Roller Skating Association of Telangana) is one such organisation, inspiring skaters everyday”, she says with utmost gratitude.
Kairavi was the only participant from Hyderabad, representing Telangana in the ‘Above 16 category’ for the solo dance.
Born in Mumbai, she moved to Hyderabad when she was five. An alumnus of St Peters’ Public School and Indus Universal School, she is now majoring in Political Science, Literature and Psychology. “I do have a hard time accepting the fact that unlike other students, I cannot attend classes often, and I truly enjoy college which is probably weird for someone of my age when it’s all about bunking and having fun. I love travelling and that is one of the best things about being part of sports.
I aspire to travel the whole world. My bucket list is full of places that I now get to travel,” she remarks. “I love reading books and my favourite author is Cecelia Ahern. I am just someone who loves watching movies and laze around and that is my idea of a perfect off-skating day,” Kairavi shares while describing about herself.
It all started as a hobby. As a child she was part of every sport possible - swimming, speed skating, football, gymnastics and more. But she found solace in artistic skating. “It is the perfect combination of two of my most favourite things, dancing and skating. Initially, I just wanted to try but I never realised when and how the sport became a part of me and my daily routine. To me, it is like meditation, it gives me peace of mind, answers to the questions I cannot find and happiness on my saddest days,” articulates Kairavi.
“I started the journey in Mumbai under Adesh Singh. When I moved to Hyderabad, I trained under Yama Skating academy, West Marredpally. Currently I train and take help from Filipe Sereno, who resides in Valongo, Portugal. I go there once in six months and otherwise train via messages wherein I send my practice videos to him and he corrects them,” she shares about her coaches.On regular days, Kairavi practices for three hours and during the competition season, it is three hours both morning and evening, making it six hours per day.
“Artistic skating is probably one of the most underrated sports. It is a treat to watch an artistic skater. In simple terms, artistic skating is like ice skating but on roller wheels.We have different categories. Some may include more of jumps and spins and the other is more of dance. I participate in the solo dance category which is a combination of dance and technical footwork on skates,” Kairavi throws light on her forte. She wishes to pursue professional dancing as a hobby, when she has time on her hands.
Can there be any success story without pain and pressure? Like they say, success comes to those who embrace trials and turbulences. Kairavi too looked at her struggles with rose-tinted glasses. “About three years ago, I injured my right knee in a competition. That night, even walking was a nightmare. Even today, it causes pain. I also have minor issues with my ankle which tends to swell during practice, making it difficult to continue practice. But I do believe that it would be disappointing, if this journey of 10 years was smooth and problem-free. It is the pain that motivates me to achieve more,” says the wise millennial.
“It began as part of speed skating, but I had my interests in dance too. My mom struggled her way into finding a way for me to be part of artistic skating which would be the combination of both. Well, she was successful and I couldn’t be more thankful,” the mamma’s girl says. Kairavi has won over 70 medals at district, state and national levels. She was a gold medallist in ice skating for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012. She had also participated in the world roller games held at Nanjing, China in 2017.
Her best memories include the exhilarated smile on her mom’s face each time she wins a medal. Kairavi strongly believes that she owes her mother her every single medal and achievement. Just like any other sportsperson, Kairavi too hit rock bottom in 2011. “For four consecutive roller skating nationals, I couldn’t win a medal in the solo category. I did win ice skating medals but roller skating was my main event and there I had a major setback. It did make me stronger. People will try pull you down and so would the situations. It is how you get out of them determines your capability and there is no medal for that but there is the award of becoming a better human,” she shares, while adding that her mother is her backbone and wall of support. Apart from sport, Kairavi aspires to be a psychologist, and has plans to move to Canada or US for her higher education.