Rajasthan, which was once known for its low sex ratio and lower literacy rate for women, is now making news with its girls winning laurels for the state by earning name and fame while choosing the most unconventional careers, irrespective of whether they were brought up in rural or urban areas of the state.
Avani Lekhara (19) is the latest example. She won the gold medal in women’s 10m air rifle standing event in the SH 1 category at the Tokyo Paralympics. She was brought up in a small town Dholpur and had met with an accident due to which her spinal cord was injured.
Avani, wanting to do something different, chose shooting. The accident left her demotivated but the biography of Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra instilled fresh hope in her and she worked hard to add a feather in her cap.
In the same series, 10-year-old athlete Pooja Vishnoi from Guda Vishnoiyan village of Jodhpur was in the news for her six packs which she developed when she was 7. Besides being an athlete, she is a cricketer too and is the only member from Rajasthan in the Virat Kohli Foundation. Pooja recently shot an ad with cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Presently, she is working hard to bring a medal for India in the next youth Olympics to be held in 2024. The Virat Kohli Foundation manages her sport and diet plan too. She is the youngest member among 16 kids selected by the Foundation.
Another young woman Megha Kapoor is hitting the headlines by being a certified health coach and has clients from Delhi, Mumbai, USA and even Africa while being located at Jaipur.
When young, she was irritated with comments related to body shaming which inspired her to take up this unconventional profession. After somebody at her sister’s wedding asked her if she was eating for 2 people, it hurt her and her self-esteem and gave birth to a whole lot of body image issues. She then chose this career and went to London to pursue the course.
“Being a female fitness coach means competing in a very male dominated industry in India – not easy but that should never stop us,” says this founder of Megha Squad adding “Unfortunately, in India, not many people know about being a certified health coach. However, the COVID pandemic has taught us to take health awareness seriously and act upon it. So, people have started being more conscious of their lifestyle choices when it comes to health and hence the career is now drawing more credence.”