Zooming and turning swiftly between the passing vehicles, she finds her way in the traffic even during the peak hours.
While there are many who prefer cycling or walking their way to office, Pune-based Khushtar Pandit has gone a step further. For the past nine months, she has been skating from her residence in Hadapsar to her office in Magarpatta City, ZS Associates, where she works as a technology analyst.
“Skating has been my passion from childhood. People generally give up their passion after they take up jobs perhaps because one is expected to behave in a mature manner. I never wanted to do that. When I got this job, I was a bit unsure how the employees will react when they see me coming to work skating. Surprisingly, everyone found it unique and a good way to commute since it is eco-friendly. All my colleagues encouraged me a lot,” says 23-year-old Pandit, who skates nearly 2.5 kms to reach office. “It takes me around 15-20 minutes to reach her office. Only when it’s raining, I look for another mode of transport,” she says.
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It’s not the first time this young techie has opted for an unconventional mode of travelling. Pandit, who hails from Kashmir, says that even when she was based in Delhi to pursue engineering, she would go skating to her college from her residence, a distance of nearly one kilometre. “Initially, some students would find it quite childish and weird. Slowly, a lot of them asked me to teach them as well. During the four years of engineering, I taught the skill to several students,” recollects Pandit, who has won many awards at district-level skating competitions in Kashmir.
Ask her how difficult it is to skate in the ever busy roads of Pune and she says, “Since I have been doing this since a very long, I have a good practice of wriggling between traffic. I try not to take the busy roads.”
Even when she has to visit her friends or go shopping to a mall, she prefers going skating instead of using any other means of transport.
Pandit admits that travellers and passers-by on the road do look at her with a lot of amusement and there are times when people stop to double-check what they are seeing. She says, “Kids find it amusing and point out to their moms.”
However, Pandit chooses to take each smile and surprised look in her stride. “It’s a very good feeling of bringing something new into the society. The wheels give you a sense of power,” she says.
In near future, as part of a project of the CSR wing of her firm, she plans to teach skating to underprivileged kids residing in slum areas. “Currently, we are in the fund-raising process. We will be identifying four to five locations in the city. We will not only teach them but will also provide them the skates,” she says, adding that once the kids pick up the skill, they can use the skates to go to school instead of going walking.