There is much known about Kavitha Kanaparthi’s endurance running venture in India called The Globeracers. People who have run her races, say the only thing less brutal about her crazy races is Kavitha herself. Am writing what I hear – “she doesn’t pamper the runner, she leaves you into the wild to figure your way out, she is rude if you ask her for more”! And well, there is some more!!!
As a runner- blogger with consistent presence on social media, I have recently seen Kavitha make her life pursuits visible. She seems straightforward, calling a spade a spade. She even sounds spiritual when she writes about her yoga practice. What connected me with Kavitha is the posts she writes about her time with her son Simha. There is softness in this tough woman who goes around walking the lonely deserts, day and night marking routes for her 100 miler races!
So this blog is about the marvelous, tough minded, crazy headed woman who trained herself to be an FBI Agent and is a softhearted mother – Kavitha Kanaparthi. Why? Because well, there is something hugely attractive about tough women!
Tell me about you – People often describe you as a taskmaster – but if you had to share 5 or 10 or 20 things unknown about Kavitha, what would they be?
I am a major introvert with phobia of large groups. I recoil and the social awkwardness is very much evident, especially when people are networking and I am standing in a corner observing everyone else easily move around the floor and chat up strangers! That is a skill I don’t even dream of acquiring.
Solitude is my best friend under all circumstances and that is something hard for people to believe as they see me organize races, handle large crowds and be in the public space for a good part of my life. What they don’t know is that I withdraw from the public eye for weeks at a stretch after these races to regain a piece of myself and feel at ease to get back to being in the public domain.
- I love to cook. It is not only therapy but I love to cook for people and take a lot of pleasure in cooking and serving up a good meal to friends and family
- Being a pilot is still my dream
- The tough exterior comes from having to learn and relearn to live multiple times. I am a hard nut to crack because of it
- I studied architecture, computer science and ended up with an electrical engineering degree
- I love motorcycles
- I love to dance – trained in Bharatanatyam
- I am a farmer at heart
- I write a lot of poetry, writing a whole poem in one go. I can go years without writing one and I can write many in a week or a day. No idea when creativity sparks and why it lays dormant. It just is, one of things that I love about my brain
- I cannot suffer fools. If there is anything that triggers my restlessness and irritability, it’s a person’s easily surmountable stupidity. I have suffered incongruity of public’s opinion of me because of it
Incorrectly they assume I have mellowed down now because they don’t see me bursting at the seams with anger these days. That’s an incongruous opinion too. I have learnt the art of living in the past ten odd years – to let the stupid be stupid and not reflect upon it. It has changed the way I react to stupidity, with a little more patience and understanding.
I understand you are divorced. Would you like to share about your life after divorce with your readers?
I am only recently divorced, in 2015. I waited for it since 2003.
As I waited for my divorce, I felt myself crumbling. From the day I came to India in August 2005 to file for my divorce and go back home to join the FBI academy, everything that happened destroyed everything I built and my dream job that I worked a full year to get was no more. I became hollow inside with a parched soul.
In 2008 when reality set in that I wasn’t going to go home and join the academy (FBI), I fought back the best way I knew. I took to trails, dug in with my heels to fight for my freedom with no blemish on my character or my family, and deal with the intense heartbreak of losing out on being an agent.
I re-imagined my life, dreamed a new dream and pounded the trails with a vengeance that no one might ever comprehend.
You are the pioneer creator of endurance events in India. I stay amazed because a woman took a lead here. You do events in deserts, alone. What made you do something like this? What made you start Globeracers?
I had to live in India for longer than I had planned. When I came to India, I was in top shape having just cleared physicals for the agency. I needed the challenge and I needed company. I put two and two together and Globeracers blog went live to share ideas for locations to run and create groups. When that wasn’t enough and I felt the need to do something more challenging and build something Globeracers blog turned in to a company organizing races.
The real me knows no fear. I doubt I ever did know fear. That makes me the foolish brave-heart that I may be. Globeracers took everything I had and more and yet, Globeracers gave me everything I have beyond my wildest imagination. It gave me freedom from thoughts and depression due to my physical limitations and dreams that were shattered.
Sand of the desert between my toes, whoosh of mountain wind in my soul and solitary comfort of the trails to keep me company, that was all I the motivation I needed.
Being a woman? That thought never crossed my mind until someone who wanted to write an article pointed it out to me and wanted to know my thoughts on it. I don’t have any thoughts on it. I am just like anyone else who wants to build something out of nothing.
Aren’t you scared? Any incidents you want to share here?
I am the brave fool and that carries me through most situations. I don’t remember backing out of a fight. I don’t remember nursing bruises either. Drunks have chased me on motorcycle, I was proportioned by auto-rickshaw drivers in remote regions when I was on recce, been alone on trails with people I barely knew with absolutely no access to anything. Does it make me furious when something happens?
Yes. Have I been told to back-off and not put myself in a situation where I could be raped or beaten to death? Yes. Do I do it, back-off that is? No. Why? I can’t say. I feel no fear. Can’t say if it’s a good or a bad thing that I don’t feel it.
What’s motherhood to you? How has the journey been?
For the longest time, I wanted to have a child. Then I wanted to adopt a child as divorce dragged on and I didn’t see an end to that process. I have always been told that I am a natural caregiver and I would be a great mother. I believe it too. Being a mother was all about caring for another human being, without limitations.
When I turned 40 and divorce was still dragging on I had to decide the path to take and when divorce did come through finally a year later, Simha happened. I have had multiple phases of my life, all challenging and all very different from each other.
Yet, this phase of life with Simha is the most beautiful as it is challenging, being an older-single-parent. I sometimes don’t know who is teaching whom but we are both learning from each other. I feel pieces of me that have been floating around in the galaxy are back in my zone, completing a puzzle that has been a tough nut to crack. My heart aches for not having had him all these years in my life when I felt absolutely alone and to have shared my time, energy and love with him. We have each other now.
You’ve achieved a lot, what more do you want from life?
- I still want to be a pilot some day, even if I don’t qualify to be a commercial pilot because of my physical limitations. One day
- I am studying to be a certified well being counselor
- I am studying criminology – may be a chance some day to go back to a job at the agency with skills that are needed since I cannot be a field agent any longer
- I am working on rebuilding our farm. It’s been in the works for a few years. I hope to build my home in our farm and relocate to it and build a model village to encourage youngsters to stay, learn a skill to be blacksmith, potter etc and create an economy around it. That will be the last leg of my journey I assume
Tell me about your style. Are you fond of dressing up? Are you fond of make-up?
I love carrying off an LBD with just as much panache as I would my shorts and tee. I love both. My every day choice is a khaki and tee. I love a clean look and reach for lipstick on very rare occasion.
Tell me about We Yoga Today.
Universe has been kind to me, despite all odds. I learnt a new skill every time I had to scrap everything I was doing and rebuild, internalized life’s lessons and used them to secure the sanctity of my soul. WeYoga is about using these skills and life’s lessons to encourage others to live a well-rounded life. I utilize yogic principles to impart this knowledge and in the process address physical wellbeing.
What is your fitness regime?
Running is my first love. Period. But, I have also realized the goodness of yoga over the years and I do yoga twice a week, do weight training and HIT workouts on other days that I am not running. Two days of the week I do nothing other than staying on my toes and staying active. If tomorrow someone asks me to pace him or her, I want to be able to do that, whatever the distance may be. My advice: don’t train like you are going to run a 100kms tomorrow but build a base and retain it to build on your strength when the need arises.
Are you spiritual?
I am mindful of the universe’s energy and the science behind it. I am spiritual without being restrictive.
Do you believe in God?
Not until he or she wants to have a conversation with me, in person. I might have a long list of grievances to discuss and they just might want to cut the meeting short. Let’s see…