Moves for the soul

Sucheta Pal talks about how Zumba gave her a life that inspires others

“When you’re from a small town like Ranchi, there are only two career options: medicine or engineering. I picked the latter. Well, at least for a few years,” smiles Sucheta Pal. At that time, the Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) and Master Trainer for India had never heard of the dance fitness routine. Now, she travels across the world, educating trainers and introducing people to Zumba. Over the weekend, she was in the city for a special session featuring her trademarked ‘Bollywood Obsession’ brand.

She’s no stranger to Chennai. “I was here while training with an IT company. Then I moved to Mumbai. There, all I knew was that I was very unhappy and sick in mind, body and spirit. I did not like my job, and the stress, constant eating out and irregular timings played havoc with me,” she says. And so she quit her job, opting to work three part-time jobs simultaneously. Her parents didn’t know about it for the next two years.

In 2009, she moved to the U.S. with her husband, where she came across Zumba. “The very first class I went to was led by a large woman. She wasn’t thinking of losing weight; she just wanted to be fit and have fun. I wanted to be inspiring like her, and that’s what got me hooked on to it. I knew even before the class started that this is what I wanted to do in my life.” She got certified, and due to her work, several master trainers recommended her work to the Zumba headquarters, which led to her current position.

“People tell me all the time how my story inspires them to follow their dreams like I did. However, this life came about only after years of struggling and hard work. 10 years back, it wasn’t easy to give up a cushy job that paid Rs. 30,000 and transcribe cassettes, work in the non-glamorous side of the fashion business by transporting products from Dharavi in trucks and teach dance.

But I was finally happy. You have to be ready to live a hard life,” she says. Ask her where she’s based out of, and Sucheta says, “Out of suitcases and hotel rooms! But I shuttle between Mumbai and Hyderabad, when I am not travelling for programmes around the world.” She will represent India at the next Zumba convention, and is looking forward to it. “Each time I train someone in Bollywood Obsession, they go back to their classes and incorporate it into their workouts. I know that right now, people in France and Mexico are doing something that I helped create. That’s the best feeling possible.”

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:32:43 AM |

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