Pursuit of Happiness

Mixing work and play

ibibo Group CEO Ashish Kashyap says that when it comes to fitness, the ball's always in his court 

Vishal Koul

"One needs to be fit to play squash", says Ashish Kashyap, a regular player of the sport at DLF Club in Gurugram. “If a person wants to remain fit, he picks up a sport, but with squash it is vice versa,” explains Ashish Kashyap, group CEO, ibibo Group. “Before playing squash, I do push-ups and other lightweight exercises for 15 minutes. The warm-up session helps me play well,” he adds. Kashyap has been playing this sport right from his childhood days thanks to his alma mater, where he practiced his strokes and serves regularly. “I learnt squash by myself and continued to practise it during my college days, too. Now, I play squash at least four times a week if I am not travelling.”

And it is not like he has let his very busy schedule reduce his passion for the sport to a weekend fling - Kashyap makes time for a quick set even in the middle of a very busy day. “I take a break for 90 minutes in the evening and head to the sports club. Once I am done with my game, I head back to work. At times, work gets hectic and squash is like a breather on such days. It helps me relieve my stress and energises me.” Kashyap has formed a squash group at his sports club in order to promote the sport and most of the players who have signed up are from diverse backgrounds.

“What brings us together is our love for the sport. We have also created a WhatsApp group, where we discuss different tournaments held across the globe and plan our matches accordingly.” Kashyap also makes it a point to attend all the squash tournaments conducted by the club. “It feels very nice to participate, no matter what the outcome. At times I might even lose, but all that’s a part of the game.” Although Kashyap has been playing the sport for more than a decade, he has never had any plans to take it up on a professional level. “That requires a lot of time and energy. Playing on a professional level would have affected the rest and relaxation I get from playing the sport," he explains.

It's not surprising when the online travel portal head says that apart from squash, he also loves to travel. In fact, Kashyap often tries to club the two together and plans his holidays accordingly. “My travel schedule is planned well in advance. Being in the business of online travel helps me fulfil my desire to explore while indulging in my favourite sport. I have played squash in Poland, Hong Kong, Cape Town and in nearly six to eight countries. When I plan my trips, I see to it that there is a squash court so that I can pursue the sport even on my holiday.” Kashyap explains that playing the sport in different countires leads to some truly unique experiences. “There is a huge difference – be it in terms of the players, the court or the speed of the ball. But it is the flavour of the game that keeps changing, the rhythm is always similar,” he signs off.