Shilpa Ugrankar-Caldeira

Shilpa Ugrankar-Caldeira

I started life in Jamshedpur, where my father worked for Tata Iron & Steel Company (TISCO). As soon as I completed my graduation in Commerce (while holding down a fulltime job in a printing press as proof-reader), I moved to Goa and started selling space in the first edition of the yellow pages there. Having worked at everything from placement executive for a software training company to providing dinners to bachelors in dabbas, I finally lucked into a job at the Cidade de Goa Beach Resort as "Lady Confidential Secretary" LCS I (they actually had that as an official grade of employment!) to the General Manager - Operations. Having worked my way up to Executive Coordinator in 30 months, I decided I didn't want a fulltime career in hotel management, and with encouragement from my boss, applied for and got a job with the British Deputy High Commission, setting up and running a consular outpost for them in Goa. I stuck this out for 16 years, gaining tons of experience in handling difficult people, difficult situations, travel, organisation, etc. I was very fortunate with this job, as it afforded me a lot of opportunities to expand myself - through travel, through training, through new experiences, new cultures, and more.

I have always been passionate about sports and physical activity - I started young - taking part in every sport that was offered at my school and at the club my father was a member of. So from softball, throw-ball, basketball, kabaddi, kho-kho, to sprints, marathons, hurdles, shot-put, discus, javelin, high jump, long jump, cycling, slow-cycling, swimming, and more... I also learnt Kathak and aerobics while still in school. I played basketball at the national level too, representing Bihar.

Once I started working fulltime, I had to give up sports. I managed to continue swimming regularly for a few years until I got married in 1998, at which time I allowed physical activity to take a back seat. After a break of several years, I realised it was time for me to get physically active again, as I was completely unfit and had also started putting on weight. So in 2003 I hired a personal trainer for a couple of months to get myself into some sort of condition again, and then joined group fitness classes to keep fit. Over the next 8-9 years though I managed to stay fit, I was unable to lose weight. Finally in 2008 I took up badminton fairly seriously, and 2 years later, took up yoga seriously too. Initially, the yoga was purely