Oorbee Roy spoke to SheThePeople and shared what she learned in her journey as the 46-year-old skateboarder from Toronto in the traditional Indian dress making headline as social media sensation with virtual name auntyskates. Here’s her story:
“My husband was a skater and so were my kids. At times when they skated together, I felt left out. I wanted to learn skateboarding to spend more time with my kids. Initially my husband thought it didn’t make sense. But when I showed him my first video, he was immediately excited, ‘I can’t believe you did it’, he said. ‘Skateboarding at 43 shocked a lot of people but I and my kids thought it was cool.’
It took me 6 months to be comfortable on the board. I was probably the oldest one taking lessons. One day while I was gearing up for my training, a lady started laughing and taking my video. I ignored it, probably, she thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.’ At the end of the session, she came up to me apologising for her behaviour. ‘It’s never too late to start something’, I replied.
In 3 years, I was an intermediate level skater, thanks to my family. ‘Our bonding really grew, I got to learn so much from the kids and my husband.’ We always encouraged each other and learnt different tricks together.
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When COVID happened, I noticed a lot of young women talking about toxic aunties on social media and it triggered me because I grew up with the same. ’Then I realised, OMG I’m an aunty too, so why not be the aunty who cheers people up and spreads positivity; be part of the change instead.’ That’s how the name ‘Aunty Skates’ came up.
I uploaded my skating videos online and on Bengali New Year, I skateboarded in a saree. I had so much fun doing it; it was so liberating; I felt I was flying. The video went viral and got a really good feedback, especially from India-’People sent me photos of their daughters wearing lehenga on a skateboard and said I motivated them to do it.’
While skating, there are a lot of times when I am overcoming my fear but when I land the trick, it’s exhilarating. Skating has changed me so much, it’s very freeing. ‘As adults we live very mundane lives- doing the chores, office work, taking out trash etc., the adrenaline rush is missing, that’s what I like about skating. Also it is very good for mental health.’ Now when I go to the park to skate with my kids, people look at me and ask, ‘how did you do this?’ I tell them, ’take your chance, you won’t regret it.’”
Watch the video here.