Alumni connect: Pune’s Vahbiz Bharucha, Indian women’s rugby captain, leads parallel lives
Vahbiz Boman Bharucha is the captain of the Indian Women’s Rugby sevens and fifteens teams. She says that she does not earn a rupee from Rugby. It’s all passion.
Which college, course, and batch were you in? How were you in academics?
I did my junior college at DES Fergusson College, Pune - 2009 batch and my undergraduate degree in Physiotheraphy at the Sancheti Institute College of Physiotherapy (SICOP), Pune in the 2011 batch. I have been an above average student throughout my school and college.
What drove you to choose this career path?
I lead parallel lives. Apart from being a physiotherapist, I also am a performing athlete. I captain the Indian Women’s Rugby sevens and fifteens teams. I have always loved to help people and probably that drove me to take up PT. After my Class 10, my father was adament that I take up Science. So I did. At the same time, rugby happened to me.
I started playing Rugby in March 2009. My coach in Pune, Surhud Khare came to my school to promote the sport. He spotted me there and said that I am built for the sport and that I must give it a shot! Post my board exams, I did and there was no turning back. I have been into sports since my childhood. Played many sports thanks to my school - Sardar Dastur Hormazdiar high School. I also represented the state in handball for 3 years. I believe that playing the sport is like meditation to me.
What happened after graduation?
I went about doing home visits after graduating. I still do. I am always training for and playing rugby.
Tell us about your career journey
I have been working as a physiotherapist for the past 3 years.I love seeing people choose health above everything else. I am happy that I am able to help people achieve their goals. I have been playing rugby since 2009. Ever since, I have been part of 15 national and 13 international tournaments including The 16th Asian Games, Guangzhou, 2010 and the 35th National Games, Kerala, 2015. I was declared captain of the Indian Women’s Rugby 7s Team in 2013 and captain of the first ever Indian Women’s Rugby 15s Team in 2018. I still continue to play.
What about the highs and lows of your career so far?
As a physiotherapist, I am on a high when I treat my patients. I feel low when my patients pass away due to various medical issues. In terms of rugby, scoring my first national try, being chosen in the first ever Indian Women’s Rugby Team in 2009, being chosen to be captain, winning games against fellow Asian countries and playing our first ever 15 a side Test series in Singapore were the highs. My biggest and most bitter low was in October 2016 when I was dropped from the team as I had given zero importance to my own training and was very focused on work. I put on 10 kilogrammes . I was unbelievably unfit. I had gone from being a captain to being dropped, it was that quick. But getting dropped was a beautiful lesson I learnt. Since then I took it up as a challenge. I gave up eating outside food. I took to cycling and using public transport and eating home food. I have dropped 14 kilos and I am fitter than I ever have been.
Please tell us about your upcoming/current project.
In March 2019, the 36th National Games are taking place in Goa. We all are training hard for it.
What are your future plans?
I want to keep helping people and make my people proud. I want to bring India team to the top 5 in Asia.