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The Go-Getter Mountain Lover!

“Nothing is impossible. Never say never and go get what you want!” aptly believes Dr Vanita Gupta, Chief Radiologist, SGHS Hospital, Sohana, Mohali who is giving all of us some major travel goals with her latest cycling trails to Himachal Pradesh.

A Radiologist by profession and a swimmer and cyclist by passion, Dr Vanita is a huge fitness and sports enthusiast who firmly believes in living her life to the fullest.

She starts her day as early as 5 am to make sure that she strikes the perfect balance between her personal and professional life. Thereby, serving as an inspiration to many across the Tricity!

So, in an exclusive interview with fifty-years-old Dr Vanita, we explore more about her professional journey, her recent trail to Himachal Pradesh, and lots more!

You’re a radiologist by profession and a fitness enthusiast by passion. How do you strike a balance between the two?

During my residency years, it sure was a tough call, with marriage, children and studies happening at the same time, but still, I would take out some time in the evenings although sparingly.

After that, there were conscious decisions, albeit taking a hit at finances to choose my working hours and select options so that I could devote enough time for my fitness in the morning and evening because ultimately that’s what makes me happy!

Additionally, I have been blessed to have doting in-laws, an understanding husband and non-demanding children on the domestic front. Sometimes I work on demand and supply, and compensate either way!

What does your regular day look like?

My regular day by any standard is hectic and I breeze through it just because I have made my body used to it. By sheer efforts of my fitness, thankfully, I don’t need rest during the day.

I pedal start my day at 5 am with a ride till 8 am and then reach the hospital by 9 am. The day then unfolds in the hospital, followed by household chores, swimming and family time in the evening.

I usually hit the sack by 10.00 pm!

I also take out time for social activities and compromise on the time for a morning ride and compensate in the evening.

Tell us more about your recent trail to Himachal Pradesh?

While I was choosing a bike, I had mountain trails on my mind. So, I selected a mountain bike because hill rides give you an adrenaline thrust as nothing else, pushes your body and is all about pure Nirvana.

I have covered Kasauli, Morni and Banasar (Moksha) on my bike.

 We are a group of 12 people who decided to ride uptown Shimla, the queen of hills.

We had a support vehicle with lots of hydration and food, which was a big help for all of us.

We all used to motivate each other to pedal on as many times as possible and the mantra which kept us going was “Shut up legs”.

In the hills, the speed gets slower, and halts get more frequent. Roadside pavements are your best friend to straighten your back and stretch your muscles. However, the nightmare was the pathetic condition of the roads with unimaginable potholes and gaps, and the unending construction leading to unbreathable conditions.

 Also, the janta of India considers the roads to be their property where they can litter, and cyclists are nothing but unidentified objects who can be ignored, pushed and shoved. So, we have to be extremely careful and lucky not to get hurt.

 Trucks are another menace that cannot be stopped. Although there were many people who gave a thumbs up and cheered us on including many truck drivers, which always brought up a bright smile on us and made us move on.

The thrill of the climb is unbeatable! The stretch after kandaghat becomes cleaner and better.

We reached the Mall Road at 6 and it was pure ecstasy and joy! Many people at the Mall Road clicked pictures with us and many were giving questioning looks as to whether we really cycled all the way from Chandigarh.

We had a night halt at Shimla with great camaraderie and music, and we returned back the next day on our bikes.

Also, the way back is not all downhill – the Solan stretch is uphill and killing. By the grace of God, we reached back home by 7 with great memories!

What’s your fitness mantra? And what always keeps you going?

Well, if fitness had a mantra then everyone would recite it.

It is all about pure determination, effort, grit and hard work which you do for yourself. You have to give up some things to attain fitness and the first thing to give up is being lazy.

Getting up from your quilts in the winter season is difficult but, when the sight of sunrise makes you feel one with nature – that feeling is unparalleled.

 Exercise is the elixir for mind, body and soul with sweet rewards of fitness!

What are your upcoming adventure plans?

Every Sunday is an adventure plan to the nearby hills. But the big upcoming adventure plan is what every cyclist dreams of – it is to cycle to the highest motorable road of the world, Manali to Leh. Come summer, if all goes well then shall try to achieve it. Wish me luck!

One final message for the readers?

I have heard people say that they don’t have the time to exercise but, I need to tell them that if you have the will to exercise, you will definitely find a way. And it’s never too late to start. So, get up and start doing whatever exercise that your body likes, and you will be a happier soul!

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