Our sixth Interviewee for “Meet the BITSians in Sports” series is Karthika Periyathambi (2005A3PS096P).
After graduating from BITS in 2009 (with CGPA 10), Karthika went on to pursue her Masters from Stanford (EE, MS’11) and proceeded to start her career as a Design Engineer at Intel. Over a year ago, she decided to explore other Hardware design areas and shifted to Google’s Android Team. Karthika was part of BITS BOSM Athletics Team, and is a passionate Biker, Dancer, Runner and Hiker. It was a great opportunity for BITS2Fitness team to interview her and know about her unique experiences. Enjoy reading about her inspirational journey and interests!
Name: Karthika Periyathambi
BITS ID: 2005A3PS096P
Sports/activities involved in and how did you get into these sports?
My friends know me as over-enthusiastic chatter box 😛 Tired of me breaking things at home, my mom enrolled me into multiple classes (gymnastic, bharatanatyam, karate, carnatic music); so that I could divert my energy elsewhere. But, that became a routine since childhood; even though I may be the funny backdrop dancer, I would still opt for every dance, skit and hobby class. Some classes like Dance and Athletics team worked out while the others like Karate and Violin were disastrous.. but the enthu kept going.
What do you like the most about these sports?
Fresh air away from laptop-smartphone-techno world, reminder of painful muscles that you didn’t even know exists and fun way to meet more like-minded people.
You were part of BITS BOSM Athletics Team. How did you manage to maintain academic performance along with this?
When our batchmates could initiate startups like Grey Orange Robotics while mugging for CDC tuts, work nonstop for Controlz and still top Compres, practice months for Razzmatazz and still lead the EC panel discussion.. passion can make anything possible. If you enjoy an activity, you don’t need to plan for it or force it, you will always find time to fit in your passions into your schedule
What forms of dance do you practice? What is the best way (for someone new) to learn and master these dance forms? (Are proper dance classes required or can someone learn these dance forms through Youtube Videos as well)
I started with Bharatanatyam, but drifted towards folk (inspired by Kollywood) and freestyle. Learnt a little of Social Dancing from Stanford’s courses, but hoping to learn more Hip Hop in the future. Dancing is the easiest thing to start learning, primarily because there are so many classes and online channels offered.
Beginner introvert: For any new style, there are infinite youtube links starting with basic foot and hand movements : Salsa-Beginner, Waltz Beginner, Bhangra is easiest to pick up, For classical forms, joining a class is the best way,to learn traditional forms from the Gurus.
Beginner extrovert: Crash in a Desi wedding, you will automatically pick the latest moves. There is never a perfect dance, your move can be the next popular one.. so grab friends and go for Bollywood night and shake a leg.
Intermediate: Either workout through Cardio-Dance classes or Online Lessons: Dance with Madhuri or sign-up for your organization’s Diwali Performance
What do you like the most about Cycling? Typical Distances you cycle for?
Cycling appeals to my eco-friendliness goal; everyday when I bike to office, I feel that instead of sitting around in a car or bus, I can utilize the same time to be in fresh air, get fit and save fuel.
My office to-fro biking ranges around 22 kms round trip, while my maximum has been 140 kms to-fro Santa Cruz. Light-weight cycle and scenic trails can makes distances zoom in.
How often do you run? What’s your Personal Best for Half Marathon?
I am such a lazy runner; in BOSM training, when our coach would order us to run three rounds around the ground, I would run half and pretend to tie shoe-laces until everyone finishes two more and then would join in for the last 😛 From that level to running half-marathons, it all happened when my dresses wouldn’t fit me anymore. But, once you start running 3-4 miles, it becomes a habit, especially with a fun running buddy. Beyond 6 miles is pushing your body and may be harmful to knees, if not for good shoes. If you don’t account for the sprints from Meera Bhavan to FD1 during Compre-times, then my personal best would be 1 hour 59 mins for Half-marathons.
Do you prefer running on roads or do you usually practice on treadmill?
Anytime roads, am never a gym person. Need some entertainment while running, so a new trail and fun running buddy keep the interest alive.
Do you take special care of your diet?
It would be a lie if I say my diet is perfect, I go gaga over potato fries and I would do anything for chocolates and ice-creams. (I was bribed Bluemoon shakes for doing OT assignment :P) But, over years I have realized just workout is not enough. Healthy options directly lead to stamina and energy. I try to make conscious decision to eat at home->easiest way of avoiding overeating and artificial chemicals. Even though am not at all a salad person, I try to keep my Biryani-temptations and chocolate fevers to one day per week and maintain conscious effort on the others. So far, this resolution has been in action only for the past two weeks; but each time after breaking it, I do reattempt it.
What’s your next goal for your game(s)?
- More fruits and veggies in my diet; reduced sugar intake
- Learn hip-hop and choreograph another contemporary piece
- Learn swimming and dive into Great Barrier Reef (last time I snorkeled in Miami, I almost drowned)
- To backpack on a trip to the Southern Hemisphere (either Africa or South America)
How does all these activities help you stay healthy? Any advice to the BITSian community on how to stay healthy and fit?
With our current work-schedule, most of us are hooked onto laptops and smartphones for major portions. Just to break the monotonicity and awaken the unused muscles, one can take up any activity. It is not necessary to goto the gym and sweat it out, any passionate activity: which one likes and enjoys will be good break from the techno-world and indirectly increase our happiness and fitness.
Few tips I feel strongly about
- No need to workout every day, just remember to try different activities each time.
- Find your passion: easier to enjoy and spend time than consciously forcing to go to gym
- Having a buddy helps, they force your lazy self and you can help them in return.
- Health is not about slim or fat, just happiness and energetic. So, good to make a healthy choice, like walking while on phone; standing up for few hours in office; having “no-laptop” one hour in life and so on.
Few pictures shared by Karthika!
Half Dome Hike, Dance @ Intel, Santa Cruz Biking, Fun one going to work 😛
Interviewed by: Robin Garg (2007A3PS161P)