Atita Verghese – the name may not be so popular among the people in India, but the first female skateboarder in the country has made a name for herself internationally. The pro skateboarder is also associated with the ‘Girl Skate India’ project in Bengaluru, where she teaches skateboarding to girls.
The 24-year-old first decided to step onto the skateboard when she was 19-year-old, and that too, on a borrowed one from a friend. Speaking to CNN, she said, “I felt like nothing existed outside of that skate park. That moment I had – it was perfect.”
Atita has been a sport lover right from her early age and would play sports such as football, basketball and hockey. “I didn’t study or get the best grades in school. I was always getting into trouble. I was doing a lot of pranks and things. They would expect that from the boys – none of the girls were doing things like that.”
At a young age of 8, Atita suffered a major setback in her personal life as she lost her father . Thanks to the strong female role model in form of her mother, Nalini, Atita always looked forward to attain her goals in life no matter what.
The life has not been kind to her mother either. Even before Atita’s birth, Nalini was attacked with acid by strangers for wearing Western clothes. The incident happened in the small village of Hassan in southwest India from where Nalini hailed. Luckily, she managed to escape the attack without any scratches.
Atita, just like her mother, always looked upward in her life, despite many personal setbacks. By taking part in several international skateboarding events, the spirited young Atita has now made a name for herself. It was after her success that she decided to set up ‘Girl Skate India’ in order to inspire and empower the next generation of skateboarders.
This is not it, Atita has also helped build four skate parks in India, as well as one in Belgium. The youngster has used skateboarding to take a leap in her life and just like her mother, she too is challenging female stereotypes in the country.