It was a regular Fb scroll down when I chanced upon the pic of a girl running in sports bra and shorts! Wait – she looks Indian? Her name is Indian too? She ran like this in delhi?ADHM? That fearless? That big an attention seeker? Or that Confident???? Is she unnecessarily sexualizing the activity by running in a sports bra instead of a shirt? Is it better to be old-fashioned in such issues? Because shirtless men are just fine, but liberated ensembled women are too tough to handle!
So here we go…and interview with Anuradha Dutt. Doing with elan something I don’t dare to!
I wasn’t raised to dress up the way you see me now! We 4 sisters were raised in a strict atmosphere of no short dresses, skirts or even sleeveless t-shirts . However at the same time it was also stressed on us that we should always be well turned out as the occasion demanded and the dictum ‘clothes maketh a man “was ingrained in our upbringing. On a more personal level I did not mind wearing clothes which were bought by my parents and being the second youngest of the four sisters, these were generally hand me downs from my elder two sisters.
The Real Turning Point! Two days before by 20th birthday I gathered enough courage and asked my father if I could wear a black short skirt for my birthday party promising to him that I would retract my decision if the skirt did not meet his approval. The moment of truth came as I wore the black number and sought my father’s approval and what prevailed was a long drawn silence in the room and it is hard to put into words what I gained from his silence that day.
My Man and my Marriage! The second man in my life was much more liberal and always encouraged me to follow my heart in all matters and this also included the clothes I wore. All along my husband was my companion and sounding board on all aspects related to running from the training, nutrition and all importantly choosing my running apparel. Having a wider outlook on the international running scene himself and more importantly on women’s running gear , he gave me the confidence to experiment with a wide variety of apparel and my running gear slowly transformed from a more conservative running tracks / t shirt look to the more modern and bolder boy shorts and bra top combination, a look which I had seen international athletes Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher carry off with aplomb.
My first Event in a Sports Bra –Shorts Attire! Airtel Delhi half marathon in 2015! Several thoughts crossed my mind – would such an attire meet my in laws approval, would everyone think I was trying too hard to grab attention, would I be subject to any kind of harassment from any quarter?
To my pleasant surprise a lot of women many of them came up to me,complimented me for my fit body and and outfit and one elderly lady even congratulated me for having the courage to carry off something like this that too in a so called women unfriendly city such as Delhi . .I received a lot of fan mail post run with women flooding me with a variety of questions!It left me feeling good and any doubts about my ‘bold move’ were dispelled once and for all .
I see many women out there standing on the sidelines waiting to break free and my step had probably given them some kind of inspiration that ‘it’ was possible. It’s a confidence thing for me! It comes to me naturally to be able carry off something which was considered bold to most without facing any harassment.
For me – It’s a confidence thing! I remember little sayings such as “It fits like a glove” and “that color brings out your eyes“ which encapsulates the overwhelming ensemble empowerment we women have experienced from time to time whether it’s a dress which looks better on your body than it looked on the hanger, a well-loved T shirt which hangs on your shoulders just the right way or that one pair of jeans which makes you feel like spending those extra ten minutes on the dance floor. The only person who was going to tell me how to feel was me!
Feeling sexy, confident and fearless in what you wear is the best part of getting dressed and when you feel confident in your clothes you get an automatic zing in anything you! The right outfit is powerful enough to make you feel intimidating, strong and fearless!
Motivated by her husband and her school children Anuradha took to running in 2011 ,at the age of 39 as a means to lose weight which then lead to doing her first half marathon in Delhi that winter. She is now a regular at the running events having completed 10 half marathons across the country podium finishes to her credit . Presently working as an administrator at a school for special children in Kolkata, she is trying hard that her children take up running as in her opinion it is really important for their mental health. For all the children in her school she continues to train harder to run better.