This petite looking, a small structured girl is the right synonym of the Sutli Bomb(Jute twine bomb).
She is a powerhouse of endurance and strength.
Once a patient of sciatica, backache, irritable bowel syndrome , permanent asthma, several health issues, poor lifestyle-induced diseases to an Ironman Podium Finisher.
Here is the story of Dr. Nandita Paranjape Joshi, a 36 years old, mother of a five-year-old girl, Kolhapur based Gynaecologist and infertility specialist.
As Nandita shares her story,
National level lawn tennis player
I had a beautiful childhood. There was a strict rule in my house that we siblings need to learn one art and one sport. I chose badminton but shifted to lawn tennis soon.
I was pretty good at it (collars up)
I represented Maharashtra thrice and played till nationals.
Back then, participation in tournaments was a simple affair with non-branded clothing or shoes. I am from Sangli, Maharashtra, a small laid back town, and sports were all about strict training under my father’s supervision. Our relationship during the training was not like father and daughter but as a coach and a trainee, hence there was no mercy.
Marriage, children and hectic work hours
Children will always do the opposite of what their parents will tell them, and I was no exception. I did my medicine even when my parents asked me not to. Both my parents are doctors, and they knew the long working hours in the profession.
I completed my MBBS from Aurangabad and DGO too.
I got married in 2010, and my daughter Nabha was born in 2015.
Nabha was eight months old when I joined back to work.
Due to stressful work hours, an infant at home, and erratic work schedule, I developed a lot of lifestyle-related diseases. As the medical facility was easily accessible to me, I would do MRIs even for a minute symptom at the drop of a hat. I was in a persistent unhealthy phase. A childhood sports enthusiast was now under medicines and constant fatigue.
All thanks to my brother, who pushed and pursed me to get back on track. With a lot of reluctance, I joined lawn tennis again, my lost love. But lost love doesn’t find existence in the present; hence I shifted to running.
I could not even finish 400 meters in 35 minutes or so. I was huffing and panting all the time.
My brother made me do a 10K in some event, which I finished in 1.40 hours and slept off for two days. I cursed him with all my heart.
Being a doctor myself, I sensed my alarming physical state. I had to take charge and got into systematic training.
Races and training
A structured training plan helped me get back to my earlier fit and good form quickly. I took great care of my diet, as well. In 2016 I did my first Kolahpur half marathon.
Things were going fine until I met with an accident.
I traveled to Spain for a conference where I had a terrible fall. MRI showed ligament tear, and I was completely bedridden.
All my hard work came to a standstill. I had to start from scratch now.
At this point, a friend who was not allowed to travel on her own for the event registered me to the Belgaum Triathlon (sprint distance- 750 m swim,20 km cycle, 5 km Run).
I had no idea about triathlon, I followed the racecourse, and to my surprise stood 3rd! I was utterly clueless.
By now, I had started loving the entire endurance training and registered for Kolhapur Triathlon, Olympic distance(1.5 km Swim,40 km Cycle,10 km Run), and stood 2nd.
Then came Goa Ironman, first-ever Ironman 70.3 (1.9 km Swim,90 km Cycle,21.1 km Run)event in India, and I enthusiastically registered for it.
I had never cycled 90 km ever before the race, and I seriously doubted my capability.
Swimming is my strongest point as I have learned swimming in the river, but it was a tough course to tackle even then.
I was utterly exhausted in the last lap when I heard my husband and daughter cheering me, “why are you walking? Run! You are in the second position. Go run to the finish line”.
I was pumped up immediately and finished 2nd in my age category.
Training in a small town and Maharashtra flood hero
It is a challenging affair. I have to be very careful on the route, the hour of the day, and the company during my training. I was advised to dress up like a boy to avoid eve-teasing.
My training gear is either half or full-sleeves t-shirt and long tights.
There is always a lot of questions from the society and even peer group regarding my training.
At one point, I started doubting myself on my competency to manage my family, especially my child, and focussing more on the training.
I shared my concern with my husband, and he assured me of going by what I think is right.
As a woman, you have to prove your worth always, and it is pressurising.
During the Kolhapur floods in 2019, I promptly took charge to rescue the trapped people and saved 50 lives. My name flashed in all newspapers, and since then, there are no questions raised on my training or races.
Endurance sports require strict discipline, hard work, and a tough mind. It sharpens your thought process and decision-making ability.
After strenuous training and long work hours, I used to get irritated and vent out my anger on Nabha. With a systematic approach towards the training, I could manage my mood swings as well and developed self-awareness.
The field of Embryology and fertility requires precision, accuracy, empathy, attention to detail, emotional strength, and patience, and endurance training enabled me to acquire all these traits.says, Nandita
I can tackle stereotyping with much grace and confidence. These things don’t bother me anymore.
Does hunger continue?
Of course! It will. It has just begun. I aim to work for better stamina and much better timing in all my races.
India lacks pro-athletes in international tournaments; I wish to represent India at the global platform.
Note to all the mothers.
Extract one hour for yourself for your mental and physical well-being. Each one of us is unique and fighting a battle of their own.Comparison is the worst enemy for growth. Do not compare yourself to anyone, it spills a beautiful relationship called friendship.
If you are happy, you’ll keep your family happy.
P.S: Nandita is also a great cook and a sculptor. She’s been making eco-friendly Ganpati idol for the last eight years at her home.