Written by: Nupur Chaudhuri
This is not a story of how I was down in the dumps, demotivated, uninspired, pessimistic until I found love in the pole community. No. This is a story of how I finally found what my soul was searching for my entire life.
In my teenage years, slambooks were a big thing. And invariably all the pages had a question: What is your passion? “Umm, reading?” was my indefinite answer. Move on to my early 20s, I had questions thrown at me at work: So, what do you like doing post work? “Umm, I love writing.” Yeah, no shit, I was a journalist. I always had temporary hobbies as my family called them- from learning to play the harmonium, to learning Indian classical singing, joining a Bollywood class, a belly-dance class, a hip-hop dance class, art class, karate… But nothing ever stuck. Except the thought of pole dancing.
Every year I would google and look for teachers in my city but no luck there. Once, during my break at work, I found a teacher in a different city – Mumbai. My heart danced. But sadly, she said she’d come and teach if I found her a studio and a minimum of 10 girls. Of course I set about asking all my girl friends and I got weird looks each time. Sigh. I gave up for a few years.
Then, I quit my journalist job as Deputy Editor of Pune Times, The Times of India, and went to London to study footwear design. I got back, the boyfriend proposed, I said yes, we got married, I launched my own label and I was happy for a good three years. Until, one random day, pole dance popped into my head again. “Hey Google…”. Lo! And Behold, there was another teacher in Mumbai. I pinged her with anticipation. She said, “Sure, come to Mumbai every Sunday for a class.” I begged a friend to join me and I drove 3.5 hours the next Sunday to reach her residence where she conducted 1 hour classes. That day in May 2017, I drove towards my destiny.
A couple of months later I had a Pole Injury. My wrist ligament snapped and the bone popped out of its place. The doctors gave me quizzical looks when I said it happened during pole dancing. They had never heard of such a thing before. “Do Indian girls from good homes do such things?” I was told to not continue with “unnatural” activities. I cried everyday looking at the pole in my room. I told my husband to take it down but he simply said, “No. You will look at it everyday and tell yourself you will get back.”
The universe listens. I met a physiotherapist who loved the idea of pole dance and he said he’d get me back on the pole in 8 weeks. I smiled for the first time in 4 months. It took longer than 8 weeks. A total of 10 months. I put on weight, I didn’t workout any other body part, I went through emotional ups and downs, I’d cry not knowing if I had the courage to pole again. But my body healed, and with it my mind too. In October 2018, I saw a post by PoleFit Dubai on Instagram. I told my husband I had to go. He said, “Do it!” And so I went, for 25 days.
I met so many amazing fellow polers for the first time. I met teachers who helped me get back to my love. In 20 days I did my first handspring and the joy with which two other poling friends celebrated it reconfirmed my wish and need to belong to this amazing community where women and men celebrate the victory of another. Only the poling community can understand the feeling one gets when you can do a trick – whether a spin, a leg hang, a handspring or ironx!
I was so inspired by the polers around me – their fitness levels, their attention to their health and diet. They gave me tips on how I can turn my body around to be fit and healthy. I came back to my country a new person. Renewed passion for the sport I love, and love for my body that allows me to do this everyday.
I’ve since done a pole camp, made new friends there too, and travelled back to Dubai to learn more. This time around I stayed with a pole friend who opened her home to me with so much warmth and love – we were and are connected by Pole.
I now teach a few girls in my city and the joy I see on their faces when they go from “I can’t” to “Yay, I got it” warms my heart because I know that if any community should grow, it’s this one. And I’m so lucky to be a tiny part of that growth.
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