Deepti and Shivani Pruthvi were all set to take part in the initial rounds of the Indian National Rally Championship – South Indian Rally in March and the Arunachal Rally in April – but the mother-daughter rallyist duo is now serving on a different frontline, doing their primary duty as doctors.
While Shivani is currently completing her housemanship at SDM College of Medical Sciences, Dharwad, her mother is a pathologist and professor at SS Institute of Medical Sciences in Davanagere. Serving at their respective institutes in the fight against COVID-19, Deepti asserts that both the tracks are similar.
“Being in motorsport and on the frontlines as a doctor gives an idea of what time really is – every second counts. In motorsports, a mere second or two decides a win and in medicine, the same amount of time decides life and death. Time is crucial in both fields,” says Deepti, 50, who also undertakes navigation duties for her daughter in the rallies.
Their foray into rallying dates to 2018 when Shivani joined India’s first all-women racing team, Ahura Racing, and participated in Volkswagen Motorsport India’s Ameo Cup. While she went on to add credits to her name, which include Sprint de Bengaluru, her influences trace back to her father, BS Pruthvi, a widely-known racer in the Bengaluru circuit through the ’90s. He is almost a local legend in the circuit, having completed 60km of local rally on a flat rear tyre in 1992.
Shivani gained the much-needed skills from her father in 2017 after training under him and quickly went on to recreate his magic on the track. But it was only last year that the hunt for a navigator led to bringing her mother on board due to Shivani’s lack of experience.
“As a kid, I was always interested in sports, and to only study all my life isn’t an option. I would maintain a balance between both, and right now, that is the one part which is missing because there are no rallies to participate in. Ever since the lockdown began, I have been more true to myself. I am also making sure that my workout sessions happen on a regular basis,” says Shivani, a 22-year-old.
Based in Davangere, Deepti says shifting between the two roles isn’t hectic for either of them, since they have a practice schedule in place over the weekends. With the current competitions being further delayed, Shivani is not worried about the time away from the track affecting her performance.
“The minute any driver puts their helmets on and takes the wheel, everything seems to fall back in place, so I don’t think there will be a setback. Now that everyone has more time to focus on their fitness levels, the competition ahead will be much tougher,” she says, adding that her plan for the current year was to secure the junior Indian National Rally Championship.