Monday, Jul 06, 2020 | Last Update : 06:44 PM IST

103rd Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra2000641080828671 Tamil Nadu107001605921450 Delhi97200682563004 Gujarat35398254141926 Uttar Pradesh2655418154773 Telangana2231211537288 Karnataka215499246335 West Bengal2123114166736 Rajasthan1975615663453 Andhra Pradesh186978422232 Haryana1669012493260 Madhya Pradesh1460411234598 Bihar11860876590 Assam11002674414 Odisha9070622446 Jammu and Kashmir82465143127 Punjab61094306162 Kerala5205304826 Chhatisgarh3161252614 Uttarakhand3093250242 Jharkhand2739203514 Goa16848256 Tripura155812021 Manipur13256670 Himachal Pradesh104871510 Puducherry94644814 Nagaland5782280 Chandigarh4663956 Arunachal Pradesh252751 Mizoram1601230 Sikkim101520 Meghalaya50421
  Watch her shred

Watch her shred

Published : Sep 7, 2016, 11:09 pm IST
Updated : Sep 7, 2016, 11:09 pm IST

Atita Verghese is no ordinary woman.

At Kovalam, working with the NGO SISP
 At Kovalam, working with the NGO SISP

Atita Verghese is no ordinary woman. Not only did she fight opposition from her school system and society, she also turned around her ‘black sheep’ tag to become India’s first female pro skateboarder, and start the movement, Girl Skate India. In Mahabalipuram this week for the premiere of her short film — which documents the journey of 12 women skating across the country — Atita talks to us about Chennai’s skateboarding scene, what she’s been up to, and her visit to the city.

“When I started out, not many girls were skateboarding. While the scene started growing rapidly, I questioned why no girls or women were a part of it. That is why I created ‘Girl Skate India’, as a way to feature and connect female skateboarders — and to encourage hesitant girls who might see women in the sport and come out to participate. Seeing more women skateboard has certainly helped,” says the Bengaluru-based skateboarder about the origins of her ambitious project.

 

She adds, “I’ve seen a marked difference in the number of women taking part in the sport, and signing up at the workshops.”

Talking about the Girl Skate India tour and the short film that will be screened in Mahabalipuram, she says, “12 women from different countries, including myself, travelled to different cities in India to help promote the idea of girls skating. We went to Kovalam in Kerala and worked with the NGO SISP, that rewards children for going to school — by allowing them to surf and skate! We also went to Bengaluru where we set up a DIY park, as well as skated in Goa and Hampi.

The resulting film was initially intended for screening in eight countries, but it ended up being shown in 11! Now, we’ll be releasing it officially, after we send it to different film festivals.”

Talking about her visit to Mahabalipuram, she says, “I was in Mahabs last weekend as well, because I wanted to attend the Covelong Festival and I fell in love with the place! I also stayed back to re-learn the art of surfing that I had to quit a few years back.”

She also met the 6-year-old prodigy, Kamali Moorthy, who made headlines recently with her skateboarding skills. “Kamali is a little boss lady,” she laughs and adds, “She is the perfect depiction of feminism in Mahabs. It is important to have girls like her to break the traditional cycle of gender roles.”

Atita also speaks of Chennai’s skating scene — “There is an existing skateboarding group in Chennai, and despite not having any practice facilities like ramps and bowls, they take advantage of what they have. There is a huge need for more designated spots in the city. In Mahabalipuram, the scene is special because in as little as one year, these kids who practice with no protective gear or shoes have progressed immensely. They have no fear at all, and their surfing style comes through when they skate.”

Atita concludes by telling us her future plans, “I would love to do more workshops and create a space solely for girls to skate in, judgment-free. We need a platform where they believe they can shred (colloquial term for skating well), they can fall, learn and skate without feeling uncomfortable.”