A look at India from the perspective of a female skateboarder
It was at the beginning of this year that Atita Verghese, India’s first female pro skateboarder, embarked on a road trip across parts of the country. On the tour, Verghese was joined by 12 other women skaters, from countries like the UK, Denmark, Israel, Germany, France and Australia. Called the Girls Skate India tour, their tour bus, made its way to Kovalam (Kerala); Hampi and Goa before returning to Bengaluru. Over the course of the trip, Verghese and her companions built skating ramps and conducted workshops to help popularise the sport among little girls in smaller towns. Having documented the entire trip, the team have now created a short film chronicling the highlights from the tour.
“It’s a labour of love. The project is entirely self-funded and everything is practically done by the team, right from the videography to the editing,” reveals Verghese.
And while the film is set for an online release in India early next year, it has already been screened at festivals across the globe. “Initially, it was only supposed to be shown at a few places. But word got around organically and the film became a sensation,” shares the 23-year-old. About 15 minutes long, the video has thus far made its way to 12 countries, and has been screened a total of 23 times. “It was shown at London earlier this month. And before that it went to Melbourne, San Francisco, Berkeley, Copenhagen, Paris, Tel Aviv and Helsinki,” she tells us.
Featured in the video are clips from their workshops, interactions with locals and the crew getting its hands dirty with bricks and cement while constructing the ramps. “We built a ramp at SISP, an NGO-run school. They use it as bait to get local kids to attend school. They only get to use it if they’ve been in class. In Hampi, we got a few kids to join us for the workshops at a bowl built by a German crew called 2wer. It’s still quite a conservative place so there weren’t too many kids who came,” says Verghese, adding, “The video is like any other film. It tells a story — a story of the culture of India from the eyes of a skateboarder.”
— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo