In his world dominated by boardroom meetings and brainstorming sessions, advertising executive Kshitij Mhatre takes time out to follow his passion for badminton. He knows the environment he is in can get busy and stressful but his love for badminton provides him with an outlet that lets him channel his energy.
Always an avid sportsperson, Kshitij set a record of sorts by representing his college in five different sports – basketball, badminton, swimming, volleyball and tennis. Badminton was a sport he had pursued throughout though and in 2011, he decided to quit working out at the gym to dedicate himself to badminton.
The choice was an easy one for him to make. He found badminton unmatched for the aggression and the killer instinct needed on court. It turned into an outlet for him to lose the frustration he felt, finding that he could express himself better while on court.
“I work in advertising which is a creative space and I feel that badminton and a healthy lifestyle helps me think better. I get this flow of creative ideas only because I am active and can vent out other frustrations on the badminton court itself. I am also calmer during work and can think with more clarity.”
However, there was a flip side, too. If he does not step on court for a while, the quality of his ideation and work are affected. His job needs him to turn in at least 10 hours of work a day. He tries to start early and finish in time to be able to get to the court but manages to play at least twice a week.
Beside the challenge of finding the time, he has to consider the expensive nature of the perishables like shuttle cocks and racquet strings. He also discovered an obstacle that was unique to him – his weight. Land heavily on his knees caused his movement to be restricted. He embraced the Ketogenic diet, losing 18kg. He can now jump higher and move faster.
Kshitij Mhatre was a district-level player for three years and now regularly takes part in corporate tournaments. He knows that he can’t get a state-ranking without putting in the requisite time or effort but his passion to play is enough for him to carry on competing with like-minded people.
When asked what keeps him ticking, he responds with a straightforward answer. “First and foremost is the passion for the sport. For example, when my own court was closed, I did not mind travelling 20km to Kandivili from Andheri to play there. After, I’d have a shower, get ready there and then go to office.”
His advice for those who aren’t as passionate about their sport is to stay active by walking or running. “But if you have a specific sport that you have chosen for the rest of your life then you need that level of passion,” Kshitij Mhatre says.