Month: August 2012

Say what mumma?

Mumma and I – perfectly matched. We have serious trouble expressing our feelings to people who are dear to us.

On this post wherein I wrote about our women in Olympics and how their success should inspire a change in our country w.r.t women – my Mumma sent me this reply:

“Our country needs women like you to come back to India”

It’s not about how great her daughter is or can be. Unlike most parents who live in the illusion that their kid is the best gift to mankind, my mother never had such illusions about her only child. She knows her daughter’s limitations very well. I’m an average woman – no special talent or not in any position to reform the country.

That line is simply about telling me how much she misses me and wants me to be back soon for good.  As I just told you – we both have serious trouble saying the simplest words out loud; but I absolutely love my Mumma for her reactions – they are so different than what most other moms would have!

Let’s Applaud…

I had never followed the Olympics as a kid – I saw no reason to. Whom do we cheer? What do we cheer? My sports viewing started with cricket in 1991 and then I finally caught onto the Olympics fever in 1992 with the Barcelona Olympics. I was in awe of the athletes on display there. There was nothing to cheer for my country though!

In 1996 – Already a teenager, I had no clue how it felt to see your country win a medal at the Olympics. Dear Leander for being the first one to give me that joy and pride, you will always be special. Grand Slam and Davis Cup wins you gave us plenty – but that medal which broke a 16-year old drought, for us – the 80s kids will be a moment to cherish for the rest of our lives.

In 2008 – Married and settled, all grown up, I had never heard the Indian National Anthem play at the Olympics stage. For letting us experience that joy in 2008 Beijing Olympics – Abhinav Bindra you will always remain special no matter what.

In 2012 – 6 medals! Goosebumps, and what’s more I saw most of them live on TV. I envy the kids today who witnessed this fine moment in India’s Olympics history. I was so overwhelmed with the performance in the last 2 weeks that I cried today as the curtains fell over the 2012 London Olympics.

I cheered every athlete, learnt a whole lot of new games, read up on the unknown stars and made a promise that I’ll follow their journey not just at this Olympics but until the next one in Rio.

I hope these wins bring about some change among our sports administrators – where we ensure that upcoming athletes do not face the hurdles that these winners have been through. We must encourage our next generation to take up sports as careers and we must work hard at giving them the best training, infrastructure and coaches. They must learn to compete at the highest levels.

We won 6 medals from a contingent of 81 but in most sports we fought well – made it past the qualifying rounds in most events and had finalists in quite a few.

To the medal winners who did us proud  – A huge standing ovation:


Gagan Narang: Shooting, Bronze Medal, our first medal this Olympics.

Vijay Kumar: Shooting, Silver Medal – Most unexpected and managed to watch it live on TV

Saina Nehwal: Badminton, Bronze Medal – Most hopes pinned on this young girl and she did not let us down

Mary Kom: Boxing, Bronze Medal. Medal or not she remains an idol for many to follow. Respect, respect, respect.

Yogeshwar Dutt: Wrestling, Bronze Medal. Won it with a swollen eye – this medal is the one that gave me the most joy.

Sushil Kumar: Wrestling, Silver Medal . The first Indian to bring home 2 medals from the Olympics. What a way to wrap up the event for India.

A huge applause to these fine fighters:

Krishna Poonia – 7th in Discus Throw. Only the 6th Indian to qualify for the finals in a track and field event

Vikas Gowda – 8th in Discus Throw. The 7th Indian to qualify for the finals in a track and PhotoGrid_1344798514400field event

Irfan Thodi – 10th Place in  the 20Km walk. Read his story here.

Joydeep Karmakar – 4th place in shooting. Missed the bronze by 1.9 points

P Kashyap – Badminton. Quarter-finals  – First Indian Male player to reach so far in Olympics. Gave the #1 ranked Lee a real fight

Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponappa – Badminton Doubles, Landed a tough draw, lost first match and came back strong to win their 2 matches against stronger opponents.

Devendro Laishram – Boxing, Quarterfinals. Aptly named Chota Tyson – the 20 year old is a serious medal hope in  the next Olympics to come.

Luka Tintu – Athletics. 800m Semi-finals

A few disappointments in boxing, archery, hockey, shooting – but we will take them with a pinch of salt.

They won and performed despite the system. We applaud them and the efforts of their family, coaches and training staff. We applaud those officials who did lend support to them. We applaud initiatives such as the Olympic Gold Quest and Mittal Champions Trust who came together to fund these medallists to achieve their goals.

Today we applaud, we cheer out loud – cynicism can wait for a day right?

Today we the 80s kids want to experience the joy that we never got in our childhood – of seeing India win so many medals at the Olympics.

Today we celebrate, smile, laugh, dance our hearts out, shout at the top of our voice, rejoice, and feel proud! Feel very very proud!


P.S: Wondering how we can contribute to help our athletes and their cause? Want to see more medal in the future Olympics – believe in them and their potential? Here is what I’m going to do and I suggest we all do our small bit – Go Power your Champion at the Olympic Gold Quest.

Mary, Saina, Krishna, You and I…

Mary Kom – Boxing. In contention for Gold,Silver or Bronze Medal at Olympics 2012. 5 times World Champion.

29, Mother of twin boys, Coached by her husband – her mentor, her guide the man behind the woman. She never forgot the support her father-in-law gave her in pursuing her career post her marriage. She convinced her father that she wanted to be a boxer and he vowed he would do whatever it needed to support her aspirations , if need be even sacrifice himself. With their support and belief – she overcame it all – poverty, hunger, discrimination, death threats – and turned their dreams into a reality.

Saina Nehwal – Badminton. Bronze Medallist Olympics 2012. World No 4. 5 Super Series Titles

22, Daughter of  a Scientist. Both parents were former national champions in Haryana and influenced her foray into badminton. Ably supported by her father who could not hide his pride when his daughter won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics last Saturday. Years of hard work had gone into her win. He a middle class man – spent half of his income on training his 8 year old daughter , waking up in the morning, taking her to the stadium 20 Kms away from their home at 6.00 a.m every single day. With little or practically no help from the sports authorities of the state or India – Saina’s father gave up all he had to see his daughter shine at the highest level and make her country proud. Coached by one of India’s finest badminton stars Pulela Gopichand – Saina continues to shine.

Krishna Poonia – Athletics. 7th in the Discus Throw Finals. Olympics 2012

35, mother of a 8 year old son, first woman to win a Gold in Track & Field Events at the CommonWealth Games 2010. Only the 6th Indian to qualify for the finals in a track and field event at the Olympics. Refused assistance of INR 1lakh by the Rajasthan Government for training abroad – funded the training out of her own pocket. Her husband , Virender Singh also a former athlete – her biggest support who inspired her to pursue her sports career even after marriage. She hails from a small village Agroha, Haryana . Lost her mother early, managed studies, training and household work and milked buffaloes. Her father supported her in her endeavours and today watches on proudly as his daughter goes on to represent her country at the biggest stage.

Their triumphs are not just the triumphs of feminism or womanhood – their triumphs are triumphs of unity. Their triumphs I hope will inspire an entire generation of women – but more importantly I hope their stories fall on the ears of the men folk of their country, my country – India.

Behind their success is the success of their fathers, husbands, fathers-in-law, coaches – men who supported and backed these women to achieve their moment in the sun.

In India, very few women are blessed with supportive males in their families be it a father, brother or husband. Every woman -– however successful, however educated, however famous – has at some point in her life sacrificed a little for her man , willingly or unwillingly –with  no questions asked. If she is lucky, she has been appreciated. I see this inequality everyday – at work, amongst my friends & family , amongst the educated, amongst the orthodox,amongst the rich and the poor, always in the news on television and in the papers. Every single day!

And then I read the stories of Mary Kom, Saina, and Krishna and I hope they will bring a change in my country.

Their tales teach us what you the man and me the woman can achieve together, what a father-daughter, coach-student, husband-wife, mother-son, mother-father can achieve together. Together – you and I – the guy and the gal we are not different, we are the same, you are not better, I’m not lesser – you and I we are equal, you respect me and I respect you, you believe in me and I prove your faith , you give me the push and I run faster, you help me sail and then I soar – you have to be my shield when I take my sword to fight my battles.

I can fight alone, this country – this society expects me to fight my battles alone, always has, always will, to forever prove my worth & fight for my rights across generations. You are given everything you need without a question asked because you are the man – me the woman, I’m questioned all the time. I have to always put you ahead of me. That has to change.

I’ve changed, I’m changing but you need to step up – you need to catch up – you need to be beside me – then we will truly win. You and I can’t work in isolation – you and I can’t be at loggerheads, you and I can’t be fighting with each other – you cannot see a victory in my loss, you cannot be strong by crushing me.

You and I need to be with each other, to work together, you have to take pride in my achievements , you have to help me find my way to success, you have to ease my battles – You and I need to be together to make those miracles a reality in our country – our India.

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