Dr. Rohini Rau

The Sailing Doctor

When Rohini Rau chose to take up sailing, she had to fight unfavourable winds of a very different kind. Her love for the sport and sheer determination gave her the strength to hold her ground against closed mindsets. Taking full responsibility of her life and her decisions, this champion sailor proved all her critics wrong.

If Rohini’s life is a boat, then her belief is the wind to its sails. The belief that she has a say whatever she wishes to do with her life. The belief that it is hers to live, and no one else’s. And the fact that she’s gripping the reins of a boat so tightly in the picture, is a metaphor to this philosophy.

When Rohini Rau chose to take up sailing, she didn’t just have to fight unfavourable winds, but also the attitude and closed mind-sets of the people. Her naysayers didn’t believe a woman could do well in a sport like rowing - after all, it is one that requires great arm strength. But Rohini put their doubts to rest by proving to be more than a match for her male counterparts!

In the meantime, Rau had also chosen to further her professional ambitions by taking up an MBBS course. These same naysayers now took a stab at that, questioning whether she could continue to do justice to rowing with such a demanding course on her hands. They viewed Rohini’s love for rowing as more of a “passing fancy”. But once again, she proved them wrong by doing well on both fronts, and how!

Today, Rohini is better known as Dr. Rohini Rau. She is acknowledged as a champion sailor, in India and overseas. What makes it even more commendable is her gender, and the stereotypes that moor most women from an ocean of opportunities. “You can excel at everything you wish to. Just as long as you take responsibility for it all, and never let others run your life for you," she says. Rohini might enjoy taking up challenges, but it's not to say that she's ever in over her head. She goes in prepared. After all, "The only thing you can expect is the unexpected!"

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