Natasha’s Story: From Guts to Glory
Today, Natasha Pradhan comes across a confident young athlete ready to make her mark at the 49th Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship at Tashkent-Uzbekistan. However, it’s her journey to this point that’s the real inspiration, a story that deserves to be told.
The bodybuilder gave us a few minutes of her time just days before the championship while she was at The HAP Store, Mahim to pick up nutritional supplements sponsored by the store. The HAP Store, a ShopLyne store, sponsored Natasha’s nutritional supplies in preparation for the international event.
As Natasha says in the video, growing up she always wanted to be one of the boys, to be treated on par. She soon learned it wasn’t going to be that easy. Her life took a reverse flip when she married the man she loved and shifted to Orissa to live the blissful life she’d dreamed of. However, the relationship soon turned abusive and the birth of a baby girl seemed to seal her fate. Her husband didn’t join Natasha on her visit to her mother’s with her newborn baby, although he told her he would come to take them back home. Weeks turned to months and phone calls were soon met with silence. He never came.
Natasha sank into loneliness and stopped interacting with people. “How would she raise her daughter? What would she make of her own life?” were thoughts that consumed her every day.
Natasha with Prem Punjabi, Owner, The HAP Store, Mahim.
When her daughter turned two, Natasha began babysitting to pay for her education. But the pain of betrayal was still fresh in her mind. Old wounds resurfaced when she heard her husband had remarried. It was time to move on.
Natasha knew odd jobs weren’t the way to secure a future for herself and a child. She needed to work towards a career. A friend suggested fitness & weight training. Naturally gifted with an athletic body and always a tomboy, Natasha was immediately curious. She had trained in Kick Boxing as a teenager and remembered the rush of adrenaline, the thrill of achievement that had gone missing in her life due to circumstances beyond her control. It was time to regain control.
Natasha began working at a gym as a trainer and on herself in every spare hour she could find. However, with a monthly salary of Rs.6,000 and a child to raise, training proved to be a drain on her resources. Luckily, this time she wasn’t alone in her dream. Her passion was noticed by a fellow trainer, who pushed her to participate in the newly established Women’s Bodybuilding Championship held by the Indian Bodybuilding Federation (IBBF). That was the start of Natasha’s professional bodybuilding career as she dared enter a male-dominated world. Her courage paid off and she began to get noticed in bodybuilding circuits for her dedication.
When it was time to go international, Natasha needed the diet of professionals. This included expensive nutritional supplements – something she was struggling to pay for. Undeterred, Natasha reached out to the Humanitarian Welfare and Research Foundation (HWARF). The HWARF created a campaign to fund Natasha’s entire training and nutrition. Gold’s Gym and The Hap Store pledged their complete support.