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Meet Usha Hegde, a dentist who wears many hats, and is currently eyeing the Mumbai marathon after having done the Tri Thonnur triathlon.
Growing up, we all have childhood idols, whom we look upto. Our moms, teachers, dad, cousins and some more people who we meet during the course of it. Usha Hegde is one of my idols along with her sister Nanda Dayanand. They always have been for the fearless, kickass women they are. Ushakka (as I call her) has always given me some serious goals – hot chick goals, lovey-dovey couple goals (good looking too), sexy mom goals and lastly ‘Live Life Always’ goals. Yes too many goals, I know!
Usha has been a force right from a very young age, being aware of her hyper-beautiful self. She knew what she wanted in life and where she was heading. At least that’s how I saw her all the time. My mom always said, she looked like Madhuri Dixit and a smile that was killer. Well, we never denied because it’s true.
Usha Hegde is a dentist, HOD of the Oral Pathology Department in JSS Dental College (Mysuru), a certified fitness trainer, a fitness freak and now a Triathlete. Well not to forget a mother of 2 kids too! Sigh You cannot not feel like a total waste, when you talk of everything she is and does. Mind you, there isn’t a time when you will see her without a smile or energy. Well yes there are times, but it’s most rare.
Ask her how she does it all and still finds time to do some more, she says, “I guess my love for life, to do the things that I love and a strong will to give my best in whatever I do keeps me going. I sleep a lot too, that’s where my energy comes from, I think.” Quite agree on the sleep part.
“And as for time, when you love doing something you make time for it. I plan things in advance, work hard, see that nothing suffers – home or kids or work. I would say it’s basically the passion that drives me to keep on going. By nature I am hyper and super energetic. I can’t seem to sit down and chill till I finish that day’s target, which could be as simple as finishing off ironing clothes or cleaning the toilets. There are goals & plans for everything. I try to maintain it. My husband often teases me that I must have been born in the 7th month itself, as I am so hyper.”
Usha Hegde recently took part and completed the Tri Thonnur 2017 – a triathlon of 2k swim, 90k cycle & 21.1k run. The triathlons are not just physically challenging but mentally exhausting too. You need grit to attempt this, but finishing it is an achievement you should flaunt. Like I had told her before too, we seem to see only the achievements of our loved ones, but fail to see all the backbreaking hardwork they would have put in to achieve it. That is what sets people apart.
Talking about it, she says “Tri Thonnur is a triathlon event held every year in the month of September, at lake Thonnur, Pandavpura, Mysore. It has different event categories of triatholons (swim, cycle & run), duathlons (cycle & run) & aquathlons (swim & run). I started humbly three years ago with duathlon (40k cycle, 10k run) & progressed to sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20k cycle & 5krun) to Olympic triathlon (1.5k swim, 40k cycle, 10k run) till last year. So it was but natural for me to push myself to the next level this year & wanted to attempt the half iron category (2k swim, 90k cycle & 21.1k run).”
“Once I made up my mind, I knew it was not an easy task at all. I joined a training programme with Yoska, a training academy under coach Deepak Raj and enrolled myself for a 6 months dedicated training plan. I religiously followed his workouts most times, but had to face quite a bit of negativeness. Backlashes from a few friends for not spending time with them, a minor cycle accident & set backs with the cycle for almost 40 days. Also struggling & frustrated with not so great improvement in my swimming.” said Usha.
Continuing to talk about the journey or rather the destination, Usha said, “I managed to survive it all. Thanks to my very supportive family, my coach who was a mentor, more than a coach, few great friends & my ‘never say die’ attitude. After 6 months of training- week after week and just one day rest in a week, I thought I was ready for the event. But only after finishing it did I realize there’s a lot of work to do and with super room for improvement. My respect to all participants who were there, be whatever the timing.”
Only when you have been through it do you understand the mental strength it takes to finish such an event. Showing up & participating is 1/3rd the effort, finishing it is the other 1/3rd and enjoying it is the final 3rd, rest all are frills – the timing, the podium finish ….. – Usha Hegde
Ajay & Usha have been and will remain this ideal couple, who are so perfect for and with each other. They make time for each other, get involved in each other’s interests and more so, the love between them is always evident. So I went on to ask the cheesy line, “What’s the secret sauce of an everlasting love and happy marriage?” I wondered what she would say, but she gave me an even cheesier answer, making me feel better about my question.
“I have known my husband for 10 years before marriage & now been married for 18 years, so effectively 28 years. Of course life throws challenges at us and so was it with me. A very good friend of mine had told me one small piece of advice when I got married …. ‘Usha don’t ever have any expectations, then you will survive and be happy always.’ I remember her words even now and I think that’s one of the biggest life lesson that I have learnt. When you don’t expect you are happy with anything that is thrown at you. Give, don’t expect, let live.”
“I am very fortunate to have Ajay as my husband. He is very supportive in all that I do. Sometimes it has come the hard way too, wherein I had to make him see through it. But in the end he supports me in everything. We sort of take part in each other’s interests, that has helped us to bond well. All credit to him, as he makes sure that he never leaves me out in any of the things he does. At times I would be the only girl with all his male friends, he doesn’t care, makes sure I go with him!” gushes Usha.
“Time is the biggest priced commodity for us & we try to make the best of the we time that we get. Both of us are fun loving, party animals. We love people and accept them as they come without any judgement, so that helps too. Ajay has always stood by me, be it at home or elsewhere. This backing would sure take any relationship a long way. Simply put, both of us are rather easy going without much hang ups, so I guess it works out.” As an afterthought, she adds in “A good sex life helps too!”
Well well, relationships will only get as simple as you make them to be. This couple sure will give you some goals.
This was the highlight and one of the main reasons for me wanting to interview Usha Hegde. She is 45 and just starting to set more goals to achieve for herself. So I pondered aloud, “Is age a matter at all? To look great, to follow passions, to try something new?” The response to this is a takeaway in itself, “Never, age is just a number & I totally stand by it. If you ask me I still feel 16, still have crushes, still can go all dove eyed at small romantic stuff, still put many 20 year olds to shame in fitness… so u see age really is just a number.” says Usha.
“To look great, age does have a role. But then you can always work on yourself & continue to look young too. I guess with a little bit of blessed genes & a healthy life style it is possible. To follow your passion, age never has any role. All around us we see people defying age & following their passion.”
I did my first half iron triathlon (2k swim, 90k cycle &21.1k run) at 45 years by learning to swim from scratch a year ago. And I still have many goals to achieve before I hang my shoes up. It is never ever too late for anything.
I shall not deny, feeling an odd sense of complex as to what the hell am I doing in my life. Need the reset button!
I believe being happy is the essence of life. Talking about what gives her utmost happiness, Usha says “I am happiest when I finish my day’s workout as planned & when I get my afternoon power nap and yes when my stomach is full.” It makes me wonder, happiness can be this simple and yet we spend half our lives looking for something that’s supposed to make us happy.
Many of us relate to certain quotes, which describe us or the way we live life. Here is what she believes in,
“The heart wants what it wants, so why give up on it, continue to want and work towards getting that want. It could just be a piece of chocolate for today, have it.” – Usha Hegde’s Quote for Life
This was a question I ought to have asked, “Where are you heading next? What will Usha be eyeing next to shatter it too?” Answering which, Usha says, “Ha ha, yes you guessed it right, I am already working on my next stop, come Jan 21st 2018, its Amchi Mumbai for full marathon 42.2km with a set time target that I hope to achieve. Hope to complete one full iron man triathlon in my lifetime, my ultimate dream.”
Some serious goals aren’t they? Having always struggled with fitness all my life, I can’t stop being in awe of Usha.
Closing any interview is the hardest part, especially when you are having so much fun and have soo much to learn about. So I prode her for her advice for women, adding a note to ‘The So-Called Society” too.
To the Women, she says,
“Don’t ever give up your life for anything. Learn to balance your passions with your other demands and have a very large outlook. Don’t crib about small things in life and definitely have no EXPECTATIONS”
To the So-called society she says,
“Hmm I really don’t know. I am the kind who doesn’t question much, but just accepts, let’s go of things that I don’t approve of and move on. Life becomes simpler that way. I would say, don’t ever be judgmental about anybody. Because you do not know what that person is going through unless you are in their shoes. Accept if you can or let go & move on.”
I think what I learnt interviewing her is to keep things simple. It’s in your hands to either complicate it or stay happy with what you have. Rather concentrate on things that bring you joy. Set goals and kick some ass to achieve it!
Thanks a ton Ushakka for agreeing to do this. Am sure like me, there would be many more you would have inspired.
Published here earlier.
Image source: the author
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A dreamer, in love with books and travel. 🙂 A feminist who wishes there are more
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