Challenging the Norms

Before I narrate my story, I would like to give a small introduction about my background.
I am Shreya Sett, born and grew up in Kolkata, graduated in Journalism and Languages. I have been an avid trekker, camper and climber since my childhood. My love for the outdoors grew as I transitioned from a teenager to an adult, which led me to study Mountaineering and Water Sports. I then worked in Delhi for 5 years as an Outdoor Experiential Educator (Teaching life skills using adventure sports as a tool). I then moved to Hong Kong for a year, doing similar jobs as an outdoor educator. On my personal time, I have also travelled and freelanced through South East Asia and other parts of the world.

Coming from a traditional Bengali family didn’t stop me from exploring and doing something different and off-beat. I believe that your parents are your idols as you grow up and it’s their support that takes you places. I have been very lucky on that front. My mom has been an inspiration for me. She has always inspired me to be outdoorsy – learning cycling, swimming, self defense, camping etc. That is where I somehow understood the role that it plays in our lives to be fit and healthy.

Fitness was always a basic necessity for the kind of industry I am in, I realized my endurance had to be elevated and the pandemic helped me a lot in restructuring my life focusing more around exercising and running. Basically 2020 had been a good year for me, working on self development.

From just being fit and healthy, I slowly transitioned to self defense because as I grew up, I realized it’s importance in my life and the power it gives you to control the unpredictable aspects in a situation. I took up Karate as my first go-to martial arts and I have tried to be as consistent as possible on that front.

I have also taken boxing recently; though a slow learner, I am trying to master the art. My sole inspiration has been Aditya Saha. I started training under him, not having any specific goals. As months passed, my only solace has been going to class and grinding.

However, all these did come with its fair share of challenges that I had faced and still face them. I know nothing in life is easy, however I’d like to still share them.
Being a girl and wanting to do something unconventional in a male dominated society was a major road block. I’d be asked not to, having to justify to others why I do what I do, answer to questions why can’t I just be like other women etc..and Patriarchy seeping in asking me when I will “settle down”. Everyone has their own definition of settling down. Somehow, settling down has always been associated with marriage and having a family. I do believe settling down is doing what you love and what makes you happy. I guess, it’ll always be there. There’s nothing much we can do about it apart from focusing on our life goals.

Anyway, after that serious, somewhat depressing thoughts lets move on. I am currently in Bangalore and practicing yoga. My immediate goal is to get the yoga instructor certification done and start teaching and performance train for boxing at the same time. Most importantly, everything I do , I do it for myself and my mental health. Self care is my priority and I am glad that I am able to do stuff that actually makes me happy from the heart. Doesn’t matter if I don’t win, because I learn and that is a major achievement on a personal front.

My vision personally is to change the mindset around girls being into sports, I want to raise awareness and reach to as many people as possible & make sports accessible to all in a proper manner. I Have already been working with gender sensitivity in the my workplace and I plan to spread that in the coming months.

I really do hope women take up self defense and understand its importance. Some women are, however, there’s a majority still in the dark. I do hope that it changes and we become self reliant and an aware being.