When people say that the funniest part about an activity is falling down, in a delighted voice no less, it makes one wonder why the bruises didn’t turn them off. But even though skating is not an easy task, it inspires a deep passion in ardent enthusiasts and no number of falls can shake their resolve, say the members of ‘Bengaluru Skaters’.
Started by Divye Karde, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, the club has around 20 to 25 active members. Divye has been skating for a couple of years now, a pastime carried forward from his college days where he used to coach his juniors. “After I came to this city, I started looking for skating partners here. I motivated some of my colleagues to join me and the group just kept growing after that,” says Divye.
The group meets every Sunday and almost every Saturday at Cubbon Park. The limited venues for skating in the city have prompted them to stick to one place, which is near the State Central Library in Cubbon Park, though they plan to explore more places in and around the city soon.
However, the lack of diversity in the locations doesn’t prevent them from having a lot of fun.
“We have all taken quite a few tumbles,” says Mukteswar Meher, a software developer, with a laugh. “But the bruises are part of the game. You have to learn how to fall to become a good skater.”
About his first time with the group, he says, “The first time I went for a session, I thought I will get lessons from a professional. It was after reaching there that I realised that most of the members were techies like me. It was an informal group that quickly turned into a bunch of friends. Divye used to give us tips and all. And we are sort of learning as we go.”
“My mind was focussed on being able to stand when I tried out skating for the first time; there was no deep emotion or thought,” says Chakravarthy Petluri. For the software engineer, it was the realisation of a long-cherished dream when he finally strapped on a pair of skates. “I had always been interested in this but there were several hindrances earlier. I come from a rural place so there were no facilities to learn skating. Economic constraints prevented me from having a tutor too. But I am finally learning this and it has been very exciting so far.”
Cephas Paul Edward also always wanted to be able to skate and is now developing his skating skills with the group. “It was a long-forgotten dream. But learning a skill at this age gives me the confidence that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. And it’s good exercise too. While I am a beginner and just rolling, the others in the group are able to do tricks and stunts, something that I hope to achieve soon.”
Apart from performing tricks, photography sessions are also fun, says Mayank. “We spend more time searching for a destination than shooting. And there is so much commotion and confusion. But it brings about team bonding like nothing else,” he adds.
Aigars Liepins from Latvia got into skating during the 90s when the sport became a big trend in Europe and America. But skating here is a far cry from what he was used to back home. “I used to skate a lot at home; I have even skated to work. But here, skating on the roads is more about surviving rather than enjoying. I am doing it because I need some sort of physical activity,” says Aigars.
(The club can be contacted at 9707760667)