Bhakti Sharma a name which creates a sparkle in almost every Udaipurite’s eye. The pride and honor we feel in telling people “Oh…Bhakti Sharma! Yeah I know her, we are from the same city” is blissful. In my case, the sentence I often use when someone asks me whether I have heard of Bhakti Sharma is ‘Yeah I know Bhakti Di! We are from the same school, infact she was my senior’. This is what SHE has provided us with, a reason to be happy, a reason to be proud.
Though this name requires no introduction, I would still like to share Bhakti’s feats of glory :
- Crossed the English Channel (covered 36 km in 13 hours and 55 minutes) in 2006.
- Acquired first position in the Rapperswil to Zurich Marathon event in 2006.
- The Following year she crossed the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
29th August, 2012 marked another milestone in her life. This was the day when Udaipur’s ‘Mermaid’ was awarded with the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2011 presented to her by the President Of India.
In Conversation With Bhakti Sharma :
UB: Being an internationally recognized swimmer, after so many achievements at hand; what do you plan next?
Bhakti: Next would be to excel professionally as well in the career that I have chosen . And swim in the Antarctica pretty soon.
UB: You had been a regular participant in various tournaments when you were in school but lately we haven’t heard your name in such events? No plans for Asiad or Olympics..?
Bhakti: Ya I used to participate in State and National level competitions. My last National was in when I was in 9th standard. After that I took up long distance swimming which got included in Olympics only in 2008. So I haven’t really got a chance to prepare for them and also you need to participate in 6 events to qualify for long distance Olympics, which isn’t really feasible for me right now.
UB: What inspired you to take up adventure sports, somewhere being out of league in our society? How you found, analyzed, planned & implemented over the opportunities?
Bhakti: There wasn’t a moment where I got inspired to take up adventure sports. It has been a journey that was started only to try something new and different. As I finished my swims successfully, it kept inspiring me to go for the next one. And of course the encouragement from my family has been a major factor. For every swim we had to do a lot of research online, there are swims for which I have waited for a year to get everything sorted. But my family never gave up, my mom used to sit online for hours looking for ways and organizations, and my dad was always busy arranging resources for the swims. I have been merely swimming.
UB: Do you think taking up sports on a serious career basis in Rajasthan still a risk? And wherever not, which sport would you suggest being the safest (except Cricket) when it comes to financial security?
Bhakti: People who take up sports seriously do for the love and passion for it. It is really not something that promises financial security, especially in Rajasthan. The ultimate destination is being a coach or getting a job easier because of your contribution towards sports. No sports is safest just for being that sport, the level at which you are involved in the sport makes the difference.
UB : Apart from swimming, what are your interests; what do you like to do in your free time?
Bhakti: I like to read books and watch movies. I am a total movie buff. And yes sleeping, I don’t leav a single opportunity to hit the bed.
UB: Are you studying? If yes, details?
Bhakti: Yes, I am currently doing MBA in communications management specializing in Advertising.
UB: Where do you see yourself, in what profession; after 10-12 years?
Bhakti: I see myself successfully running my own agency and continuing swimming even if just leisure swimming.
UB: How does it feel; being awarded by the President, loads of success at an early age….? J Do you find any changes in your personal life after all this?
Bhakti: It feels just great to be awarded by the honorary President. The happiness is more because my sport and achievements have been recognized . Yes there is a change in my personal life, people have started to look upto me with expectations, my friends look for ne reasons to ask for a party :p but above everything else, I have grown as a person , not because of the awards but because of my swims. My favorite memories are still form my swims more than the award ceremonies.
UB: A light one, where are your favorite hangouts when you are in Udaipur?
Bhakti: I make sure to visit old city area in Udaipur everytime I am in the city. The roof top restaurants there are my favourites, German bakery,and yes the pani puri wala at durga nursery, Happinezz and Dabeli wala at Sukhadia. Rani road is my preference when it comes to going for a drive.
UB: If ‘Bhakti Sharma’ was not a swimmer, what would she be ?
Bhakti: Hahaha! I have been asking myself this question for a very long time now, and haven’t got an answer yet. I could have been anything if not a swimmer, there are a lot of other thing staht define me, maybe something out of those would have dominated then.
UB: Lastly, a message for the youth of Udaipur.
Bhakti: I see a tremendous change in the youth of Udaipur. There is surely lot of talent in Udaipur, people just need to realize it and work towards their dreams. Also after being out of the city now, I feel the pleasure and joy of coming from a small city and I want the youth of Udaipur to feel the same pride.