Gaëtan Depecker, a social work student from Belgium, HoGent, asked us to answer a few questions on skateboarding and social change in India. He is doing a little research about how skateboarding can promote gender equality for his bachelor thesis. He wanted answers from the organisation itself and from one of our skateboarders. Anil took the chance and replied. It was his first interview in English.
Could you shortly introduce yourself (who you are and what you do?)
I am Anil Kumar, I am 15 years old. My hobbies are skateboarding, playing guitar, learning new things. I have one brother and three sisters. My parents live in Janwaar, Panna district, Madhya Pradesh, India. I am a skateboarder and my brother is also a skater. I am part of the Open School Project, I study at Prakriti school in Noida, Delhi.
What is your relationship with skateboarding?
I love skateboarding, my relationship with skateboarding is like this: Whenever I see any new tricks, I feel happy and I become so excited then I will try to learn it. When I was coming back from my home to Delhi, I lost my skateboard in an auto. That time I did not feel well and I can not live without my skateboard.
Has skateboarding (or being involved with skateboarding) changed the way you look at life? If so, how?
Yes! Being involved with skateboarding has changed the way I look at life. Like, if we are learning a new trick on a skateboard and we are falling so many times but we did not leave it till we finally did it. When I have to do something and I am trying but it is not happening, so I can’t leave it until I do it.
Has skateboarding changed the way you look at the opposite gender? If so, how? Skateboarding has changed the way I look at girls. When there was no skatepark in my village, girls parents did not allow the girls to go outside for study after they’ve passed 8 th grade. They can not fulfill their dreams. They live inside the house and did house work and where they want to go but parents did not allowed. After building the skatepark girls parents are allowed to study after 8th grade and they can go where they want to go. Also they can fulfill their dreams.
In what way do you think skateboarding can help promote gender equality? When they will do skateboarding in front of people they will show their own talent and they will see how people are behaving with them. Skateboarding will help them to find different ways to do things. They will be able to do new things as well.
What makes skateboarding different from other sports? Skateboarding is different from other sports because in this sport there is, no end of the tricks as many as you people can make tricks and no one can learn full skateboarding in their life. That’s why it is different from the other sports.