Subhash Yashwantrao Kamdi was born in Kinhala, a small village in the Hinganghat district of Maharashtra, and was the first one from the village to acquire three degrees in a row—BE (Electrical), MBA and LLB.
In 2003 he joined a college in Chandrapur as a lecturer and met his future wife Shilpa, who was also teaching there. Although Shilpa had some severe health issues, Subhash decided to marry her.
“Shilpa had a shrunken kidney since birth, and also had some issues in her pancreas. She had decided to remain single all her life but I really wanted to spend my life with her, however small it was,” says Subhash.
The couple got married in 2004 and adopted their first child, Kshitij, in 2008. In 2010, they were blessed with their second child, Dhruv-Shishir.
Every morning Shilpa and Subhash would go for a stroll at a nearby stadium, and soon Kshitij started to accompany them. One day, the couple decided to introduce little Kshitij to the various sports played in the stadium.
Initially, they got him a pair of skates, and Kshitij started attending skating classes. However, they soon realised that the almost 4-year-old was more interested in gymnastics, so they found him a coach who could provide him with the necessary training.
Meanwhile, Dhruv who had turned two, could not walk or talk yet. Shilpa and Subhash started worrying about this.
“People would say that Dhruv probably had some congenital disabilities, due to Shilpa’s illness. We were anxious, and then one day when we both came back from work, we saw him trying to walk on Kshitij’s old skates,” says Subhash.
The 2-year-old took to skating like a duck to water, and was soon zipping across everywhere!
Overwhelmed with this development, Shilpa and Subhash decided to enroll him in professional coaching classes. As the minimum age limit was 3.5 years, they had to submit a special request, which was accepted!
Within a month, Dhruv shifted from beginner skates to hyper skates and then to quad roller skates. He started participating in local matches and won a gold medal at the State Federation under-four championship in 2014!
Shilpa would work very hard on getting the information about various competitions. “Chandrapur is a very small place. No one really knows much about skating here. Shilpa would constantly look for information on the internet and take him to places,” says Subhash.
The couple started taking Dhruv for weekend classes in Nagpur, which is a 3-hour drive from Chandrapur, to get him trained in limbo skating.
On 1st October 2015, Dhruv made his first record in limbo skating, and Shilpa approached the Guinness books of world records to mark this achievement. However, as Dhruv age was below the prescribed limit (5 years), he did not get the permission.
On 27th November 2015, Dhruv turned 5, and received a mail from the Guinness books of world records, which said, “You can do it.”
As there was no such stadium in Chandrapur which met the distance and standards required for the record, Dhruv decided to attempt the record on the road.
The challenge was standardised by creating a ten-meter long surface, using 11 rods a meter-apart and 16.2 cm [6.377 inches] off the ground.
On 26th December 2015, Dhruv’s name entered the Guinness Book of World Records, in limbo skating.
Dhruv was climbing the stairs of success rapidly. He had won 23 gold, 6 silver, and 3 bronze medals in National, Open State, Vidharbha and District level competitions so far.
However, it was getting difficult for his parents to manage the finances. The couple was teaching at a private college but had not been receiving their salaries for a few months. Subhash started farming on his ancestral land in his village, while Shilpa would accompany the kids to Nagpur for their coaching on weekends.
In January 2017 Dhruv set another record by skating non-stop for seven hours.
While Shilpa’s health was deteriorating, she was still determined to ensure that her boys had access to the best facilities, and was even thinking about moving to Nagpur, permanently.
“Shilpa had big dreams for both her boys. She wanted to take Dhruv to Delhi to learn ice-skating and set a record. In another one year, Dhruv was going to turn 8, and she was saving bit by bit to buy him inline skates,” says Subhash.
But destiny had its own plans. Shilpa fell seriously ill, and the couple had to spend all their savings on her treatment. However, despite their best efforts, her condition continued to worsen, and on August 8, 2017, Shilpa passed away.
7-year-old Dhruv still believes that her mom is in the hospital. This November, he will turn 8 and shift to inline skates. He believes that his mother will come along with the skates to surprise him on his birthday.
When we talk to him and ask what his achievements are, he lists out at least ten different awards in his cute voice and says that he wants to fulfil his mother’s dream by completing a 25 km marathon on inline skates.
“I have slowly started telling him about his mother’s demise. Kshitij knows about it, but Dhruv is too small to understand ‘death’. Now my only goal is to fulfil Shilpa’s dreams,” says Subhash.
Subhash is still not getting his salary and managing Dhruv’s coaching and transport expenses through the money he gets from farming on weekends. A good pair of inline skates costs around Rs. 70,000. If you wish to help Subhash, please call him at 9422175026. Subhash is also looking for sponsors for Dhruv’s ice-skating coaching
“Dhruv what do you want to become when you grow up?” we asked while leaving.
“I want to be a skating champion. I want to play for my country someday!” he said.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)