Meet The SHEROES: Sucheta Pal, Zumba Master Trainer
She takes dance and makes it a tool that helps the human body, and mind, reach optimum wellness and fitness goals. Sucheta Pal says she’s always had the will to win, and chooses happiness above all else--a life lesson worth its weight in gold.
Edited excerpts from an e-interview with Karuna John:
Did you believe that dance and fitness was to become your calling and bring you fame?
Dancing as a form of expression was always a highlight for me. Even as a child, I was dancing away to glory in my own world, behind the closed doors of my house; besides, of course, being the little commander and making my gang of friends play and having fun.
I still look at it all the same way; hence, maybe I have this sense of ease in me, along with management skills. Those skills have been in development since my childhood, helping me give my optimum to anything that I do. Most importantly, the will to win and choosing happiness above all else has made me what I am today.
What was your childhood ‘career’ ambition? Was dance a ‘work’ option even then?
As I said, I was dancing away to glory at home, and all I knew and believed--even at that age--was that I was a star. I wasn’t vocal about my ambitions, but yes, they were fuelled with passion and I kept working silently towards them. Dancing in groups and alone, playing hide-and-seek and rejoicing the taste of orange squash was what my life was all about then.
What was your formal education like? Did you become what you 'studied' to be, or did you change course and chart a different path?
My formal education was a symphony of catholic convent and technical studies. So yes, I did become an engineer and spent a fair amount of time working for a tech giant as a business analyst. The next part to this answer is, where I stood out from all others was that I never “changed course” or “charted a different path”. I feel that these were weak actions; so I evolved and I just did it my way and added a lot of oomph at every turn.
How and when did you get into--and then choose to make a career out of--fitness training? How did family and friends react?
I was a trained dancer when I landed in the US a few years ago, and was exploring more options to keep fit but not with a conventional approach. I really appreciated the vastness that Zumba offered in workouts. Then, in a moment, it all culminated and I became a Zumba Education Specialist (ZES). My family’s initial gingerly reaction to my decision faded slowly, and I had the fantastic support of my husband.
What were the hurdles you had to cross, especially when it came to monetizing your passion?
Limitations, if any, actually came from my own self after I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I also suffered a severe bout of depression that never made it easy for me. But, I had promised to myself that even if I had to go down in this fight of mine, I shall hold my own until the very end. And yes, the grit and determination did pay off splendidly.
What inspires you, and what is your long-term goal?
Happiness. Isn’t it a great thing to be inspired by? It’s infectious, feels good and keeps you going always.
People. They are good too… it’s always more fun in a group--more visible and real sense to every achievement and setback, and an incessant flow of ideas.
Long term goal… hmm… to win and excel at everything I undertake, to help spread hope, happiness and love. Basically, just finish what I have started.
What do you see changing for women professionals in India?
I see the approach changing towards the whole professional paradigm. All around me, I see women who not only have a life conforming to the set standards with a corporate job and independent outlook, but also a renewed sense of enthusiasm to pursue their dreams and being happy in their own varied ways. She is no longer Pepper Potts; she is the Iron Woman herself.