Kiran keeps busy in squash, in her studies and in life

WWW.SQUASHTALK.COM, December 21 , 2008

Source: news08/dec/news08-12-709.htm

Superwoman is real. She is currently living in Washington D.C. where she is a student at Georgetown University. She has taken up drumming and dance and spends her summers volunteering with Free the Children. Last summer she also interned at the Mayor of D.C.'s office and in the fall she campaigned for President Elect Obama. She has served on the Student Body Association Senate since her freshman year, the same year she founded the Georgetown women's squash team, which she still captains. She now goes by "Kiran Gandhi."

"I like to keep busy," Gandhi said.

Georgetown's Kiran Gandhi

(photo courtesy Kiran Gandhi: 2008)

Now in the midst of the squash season, Gandhi maintains two jobs and is the president of the Georgetown Squash Club, encompassing the men's and women's teams. Twice a week she works in the Community Relations and Affairs office of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty of the District of Columbia. Gandhi also works in the pro shop and coaches squash at the Sports Club/LA.

Gandhi took up squash in eighth grade and played through high school at The Chapin School in New York City. After briefly playing on the men's team, Gandhi founded the women's team in January 2008 and captained the six player squad to an easy victory in the Emerging Teams bracket at Howe Cup in February.

"I started the team because I love the sport," Gandhi said. "I wanted to show it to other people and I also wanted to provide an opportunity for people who are good at squash to compete."

This season the team has 11 committed players, will play at least six matches and is coached twice weekly by former U.S. No. 2 Mark Lewis. Now that two American courts have been converted, they practice on two international courts, three American and a racquetball court. Since the team is a club team and do not receive the financial support of varsity teams, the entire squad has worked hard at fundraising and each have taken on some type of responsibility. They have received some donations, including uniforms which were provided by Dave Rosen of Harrow. Gandhi said that the team is incredibly self motivated and dedicated.

Kiran has recruited a full women's squad at Georgetown

Warmup time in DC (photo courtesy Kiran Gandhi: 2008)

"Everyone is there because they want to be there," she said. "Because they love the sport. Because they like each other. Because they want to distract themselves from their really busy lives for two hours."

Kiran on drums

(photo courtesy Kiran Gandhi: 2008)

Gandhi's busy life takes her from the court to the stage. After seeing "Rangila," a cultural dance show at Georgetown, in 2007, she and a friend learned to Bhangra dance and were amongst the more than 300 dancers in last fall's show. She plays multiple types of drums in three bands, a talent she discovered when someone taught her on a rusty set at a sports camp in seventh grade. The night Obama was elected President, Gandhi played her drums on the corner of 14th and U Streets in D.C. as part of "Drum for Obama," an idea started on a website that became a major rally.

"Playing the drums has definitely been a huge part of my experience as Kiran Gandhi," she said.

Volunteering is also a major part of her life. For the last three summers she has travelled with Free the Children. Last summer she went to Kenya where she helped rebuild two schools and spent time interacting with the community.

"Having a global perspective makes it like, 'If I do bad on a test, well oh well.'" Gandhi said. "There are other things going on in the world."

Gandhi is working toward a double major in math and government and a minor in women's studies. She expects to graduate in 2011. She is not sure what she wants to do after graduation, but said getting involved in government work is a possibility, in which case she would likely stay in D.C. Gandhi's family recently moved to Hong Kong, so a return to New York would hold a much different life. Whatever career Gandhi chooses, what she does for a living will likely be just a fraction of what she does with her life.