Can you enlighten us on kayaking as a sport?
A kayak is a small, narrow boat primarily designed to be manually propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle.
Kayaking has three main formats - Still water, River and Sea. I practice Sea kayaking. It's where you pit yourself against the sea and surf the waves. In its best racing version, a surfski is an ultra fast kayak that really let's you surf.
In India kayaking is practised in at least 20 states. The IKCA or the Indian kayaking and canoeing association preside over it and Bhopal is the hotbed for kayaking in India.
One of the reasons kayaking is great is that Out on a kayak I can chase anything I want. I see dolphins 500 metres out, I can make a beeline for them. I see a Lighthouse, a reef, fishermen. The thrill of surfing waves is quite indescribable. You sit and wait for each swell and paddle in between.
How and when did you develop interest in kayaking?
I started kayaking almost 5 years back. I was in Goa and spotting dolphins on a motor boat. My friend and I thought the motors would scare the dolphins. We spotted a kayak on the beach and rented it. We went out 2 kms and the water was nice and choppy. Sarang was a little worried so I remember lying down on the kayak to calm him. Just then a dolphin came out of the water. I never saw the dolphin, but I fell in love with kayaking. On the trip back I found someone who would train me. I came back to Mumbai and have been paddling ever since.
What has been the most challenging assignment that you have undertaken?
Back in 2012 when I made the national team, we had one week to train as a unit before the Asians. At the same time, my boss at work was fired. I was put under a new boss and she demanded a host of work before I left. I would wake at 5:30 drive or take a train to marine drive. Be on the water by 7. Train for 2 hours. Then get to work. After lunch I'd head back to marine drive. Train again. Then back to work till 10. End up taking work home and start again the next day.
One day I remember being late for a marketing meeting with my MD. I texted someone at the meeting telling them it was because the national coach had us do endurance training which meant a longer session on the water. She texted back saying she didn't understand how my being on the team was helping the company. I quit in a month.
What is the next big mission that you plan to embark on?
Once I complete the Goa trip, there are two big things to be accomplished. A 7500km trip around India and participating in the world surf ski championships in Hawaii.
Over the years, what have been the recognition that you have received?
I've won two silvers and a bronze at the 2012 Asian Dragon Boat championship.
I finished 5th out of 17 at the Asian Sea kayaking championship in 2013.
I finished third In the silver fleet in 2013 at NDA sailing the enterprise class.
I'm a trained international canoe federation coach.
Besides kayaking what other sports do you have an interest in?
Archery is my latest. I'm into sailing. I play football, love swimming and play chess.
In school I was in track, rugby and was the sports captain in the 10th and vice captain of football in the 11th.