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DHUNTE REH JAOGE-A WINNER WHO IS FAR FROM SOCIAL MEDIA FANFARE: DR.UMA VINOD

“When I first saw the racing arena, zooming cycles, training jargons, and high energy at the event, I was almost hypnotised. I never imagined that such a world existed. I made up my mind that I’ll be a part of all these high adrenaline events.”

Dr.Uma

Meet 47 years old Dr.Uma Vinod. Ahmedabad based Ophthalmologist and a  mother of two boys. First rank holder of Gandhinagar Triathlon 2018 and winner at several cycle racing events(you will not find her on any social media although)

As Dr.Uma says,

I got married immediately after my MBBS and completed my Post Graduation in Ophthalmology.

I was soon engrossed in all motherhood duties, work, and house chores—a typical story for most married women. 

The race euphoria 

In 2012, I participated in my first half marathon and finished in 3.45 hours. I was at cloud nine that I finished the race.

In 2014 I witnessed a cyclothon in Ahmedabad. I was aghast to see the zooming cycles, the cheering crowd, and pumped up, high energy athletes. I was stunned by the entire event. I never imagined the existence of such a world, as if it was a parallel universe.

In the same year, I registered for a super sprint event. The main reason to register for the event was – Milind Soman(blushes).

The race briefing was an eye-opener. I heard the terms like wet-suit, cadence, cut-off timing, and several other jargons that seemed like french. The trainers talked about cycle gear ratio and cleats while I came to participate in the race on my son’s bicycle!

For the event, I got my first BSA “thin” tire bike assuming it’ll make me go faster. Only thin tyres don’t make you win a race but training and effort do.

With all the learnings of the previous event, I got my first road bike and participated in a Duathlon in 2014. I stood first!

By now I was in deep love with cycling. 

I started participating in cycling races and winning too. I was utterly mesmerized by the sheer joy of zooming on the bike and winning as well.

I was a hypothyroid patient until the age of 40, but then I decided to lead a healthy life and gifted myself a significant weight loss.

Do it, because it makes you happy.

In 2015, I went to Manali-Leh biking, and as it is known that the route is not for the lesser mortals. I was surely not the one. It was a life-changing experience for me. It was my zen moment of putting all the elements of the body together and strengthen the mind. 

Winner at Gandinagar Tri 2018

I was gaining expertise in cycling, but my running was still lacking. I started with proper training in 2017. Guided practice, along with a proper diet, helps a lot in improving the training performance.

In 2018 I participated. in the Triathlon in Gandhinagar. Due to fewer women participants, the organizers kept an open category for women 18-55. I stood first in the race!

I then registered myself for the Berlin Marathon in 2019. I was hesitant to go on my own, but my elder son persuaded me to travel. Technology and I don’t have much of a friendship. To navigate the phone to find a way or even to use google translator is tough for me. 

But I did. Because it made me happy, very happy.

says, Dr.Uma

Women in endurance sports- lesser lady

Is it a new discussion? I face the same set of questions each time,

Dr.Uma in one of her training sessions
  • what fun do you get in killing yourself in training?
  • You are always either running or cycling, do you even spend time with your family?
  • Why are you going alone for your races, take your children along too?
  • How will your family manage without you?

I’ll miss cooking a great meal over the weekend, but I’ll never miss my training, this gives me a title of – lesser lady.

Dr.Uma in her training session

I mostly train alone and do not share that moment “ME” with anyone. It is my meditation. My alarm buzzes at 4 am and I go out for my run. Being dark at that hour, I can’t go far for the practice; hence I run in loops at a stretch in front of my building. I have informed my guard that if I don’t turn back within time or he hears my scream, then he should run to trace me. 

There will be questions, allegations, and stereotypes to face, but the choice is yours, either pay heed and remain in your cocoon or be a butterfly. What will you choose?

asks, Dr.Uma

Male dominance and raising boys

I have five males in my family: husband, father-in-law, father, and two boys (18 & 15).

I am a working female, and along with my training and work, the house responsibility doubles up. There were days when I could not prepare the meal, and my boys made their tiffin and went to school. In the growing years, my children understand cohesive existence. They also see that I have a liking towards sports gadgets than fancy clothes.

There was a point where I was fulfilling all my duties as a mother, wife, daughter, professional, but I wasn’t doing anything for myself.

It was a tough call to prioritise my liking over everything else. We live in a society where women are meant to be more focused on home, but

Elder son at IIT Kharagpur

I believe that when you don’t negotiate you’ll never be taken for granted.

Younger son after his first Tri

Today my elder one is studying in IIT Kharagpur and is in the college squash and running team. He is a swimmer as well.

He says, “mom, sports gave me recognition.”

He prefers a girlfriend who loves cycling!

My younger one has already completed a triathlon and is looking forward to more.

Mothers are the first and most significant influencers, see that you prove this to yourself first.

believes Dr.Uma

What lies ahead?

I aim to improve my race timings and keep winning as a mother as an athlete and emerge as a more robust version of myself.

Stay-at-home-moms: take a bow

With the onset of exams there comes a subtle hint of strict discipline in the family, which is only one-sided. Mom orders and boys never understand.

My entire routine revolves around the number of chapters. I do a quick calculation on how much time to devote per chapter and the revision as well. There is a timetable put up on the soft board much before the exam; it looks so systematic and amazing that I silently pat my back.

But as the exam dates come near, I realize that the timetable has lost its existence. The pinned timetable teases me on my super organized but utterly failed skills. I am no more an organized, patient and systematic mom but yelling over the top, infuriated entirely, palpating and on-my-toes mom.

I am at complete off from work until the exams. No urgent mailers, no meetings, no travel, no long phone calls, no conference calls – well, the liberty of working on my terms. My passport has gone deep under the shelf, and I am not even keen to look at it. Why?

Because I am entirely stay-at-home-mom right now.

I have been a homemaker for a very long time, but I have no idea what I did then because I was mostly nursing the younger one and struggling with a hyperactive elder one. I had no time even to realize how tired or exhausted I was. And one beautiful day, I had my resurrection, and I came to life again. Work, travel, stuck in traffic, frantic calls from schools, always too busy calendar but happy to work became a routine. I loved it and still do.

But right now it’s opposite.

I see cupboards screaming – clean me

I can see all the dirt in the house

Mismanagement by my army of maids who manage my arena when I am away

Incomplete school work

I can see everything, crystal clear. I have become a stay-at-home-mom with a magnifying glass. I love this too as well (fine print- as of now)

I am surprised how I managed all this while?

Well, I am always connected with the boys wherever I am. I put up the menu for long and short lunch break tiffin box on the refrigerator for my cook. My dinner and lunch menu sorted, stationary, home delivery, medicine guy is informed to respond to any request on an immediate basis. I have a world clock app on my phone which helps me keep a check on the time in the home country hence not missing out of anything. Phew! Sorted yes…sorted. I agree it gets hectic and brain churning but then everything falls into place, and then I also get the appreciation at times “how do you manage. ”

Now that I am home for almost half a month. I am managing the maid chaos. The cook moves out all of a sudden without notice, the full-time maid has fallen sick, one child is sick, and another one refuses to study for the final exams. His evening football is of high priority and exams are secondary. There are frantic calls, messages in search of “reliable” maid, Tango’s doctor visit, the sudden urge of having pizza after school, “mom pick me from school, please” requests, impromptu change in lunch menu because elder one wants to have “something” tasty. Right now, I dislike all my friends who have maids from their “gaon” or reference.

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Well, talk about the husband. Oh yes ! this financial year end has ended his excellent time with the family too. Boys don’t get to see him for days, and I have no clue when he enters home. Now that I am home he doesn’t have to call and check on boys, no morning drop to the bus stop, no emergency project requirements to be handled, no doctor appointment to seek, not addressing to school grievances, he has no idea about the turbulent households right now. I am sure he can focus on driving and work. No domestic pressure.

I was at the doctor’s clinic when a mother of a toddler in the total battered state was telling a fellow patient that his son is down with fever and why no one asks how was she doing.

I realized that stay at home moms are not praised, appreciated or even acknowledged for the tasks they do. Correct.

I met a friend recently (again a privilege when I am off work), she very clearly stated that ”my husband can work for long hours without worrying about home is because of me. I play an equally important role in running the house, and I should be paid accordingly “ I agree with it entirely.

I have always heard my father saying that running a house is like a factory (he retired from BHEL, and hence we siblings knew how a factory works). There is a purchasing department, logistics, tenders to be sought (buying the best deal even for grocery), HR for grievances, appraisals, and recruitment, safety, PR and your mom runs all this single-handedly.

Stay at home moms take bow hands down for running the factory so efficiently, and at times you don’t even get a pat from your partner for making all so smooth and convenient for him. I had a choice to switch roles, but I know many who have taken up this job not out of choice, but compulsion and are doing it so well! Kudos!!

I like this job profile as of now where me and boys have so much time together to listen to each other, tell stories, sort out issues, talk about growing up, revising lessons together, cuddling, just chatting , impromptu hugs, pillow conversations, checking recipes at Hebbar’s kitchen, baking cake, debating on gender equality with my elder one .. oh ! I am so loving all this but for how long that’s a big question .

Stay-at-home-moms, pat yourself today and cheers to you girls and men reading this give a big hug to your partner.

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