Saturday, 20 August 2016

When daughters make us proud

There was something different about today evening. Unlike most Friday evenings when people are busy partying, surprisingly everyone was in a hurry to reach home. The otherwise office cafeteria buzzing with activity during evening snacks saw many no shows as all were trying to wind up early for the day. The reason was NOT a India-Pak ODI match, but a 21 year old playing to win Gold medal for India.

After all, it isn't a usual affair to witness an Indian player qualifying for the Badminton Singles grand finale in "The Olympics!" 

The wait for next pickup in our Uber Pool cab became unbearable for none of us wanted to be late for the historic match. Finally, when the gentleman arrived after a good 6 minute wait, we were ready with our stinking looks. However, as soon as he entered the cab he said, "Bhaiyya, please try to drive fast, for today is a historic day for us...India might win its first Badminton Gold in Olympics!" While the driver gave a helpless smile, our anger vanished, realising the gentleman too was a part of the match frenzy. The otherwise frustrating ride through Mumbai traffic seemed to appear short and interesting as we kept discussing the sport throughout.

What made me happier was the fact that this was one rare occasion when the whole country was biting their nails for a sport other than cricket! Usually our cricketers take away all the limelight, leaving other sportspersons to make their name count by clinching medals. The fact that my favourite sport Badminton was the hot topic of discussion today had me smiling ear to ear. The Euphoria took me back in time when every evening and every holiday meant a longish date with the Badminton racket and Shuttle cock. My bestie and I indulged ourselves to the game for hours, hitting smashes and trying to freeze the game. Angered by their calls being ignored, our moms would drag us home to have meal or finish homework. 

The passion sadly, had a short life. As I entered the crucial 10th standard, all extra curricular activities were sacrificed in the race to qualify for competitive exams, for having a good career meant becoming a doctor or engineer. Not that there weren't sportspersons making the country proud back then. But the occasions were rare. Lack of opportunities, facilities and exposure prevented sports being seen a stable career option back then.

Today when I see the daughters of our country bringing laurels in the field of sports, my happiness seems no bounds. Finally, Indian parents are waking up to recognise sports at par with other career options. The proud families of Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu are a testimony to this fact. Beti bachao and beti padhao are no longer just slogans found in speeches and there are parents who in fact are saying, "beti khilao, medal jitao!" 

Of course, the burden of expectations and stress still shows on these young faces. In today's finale, while Spain's Carolina Marin looked relaxed and all set for the fight, the continuous tensed expressions on the face of PV Sindhu didn't go unnoticed by the commentators. Choosing sports as a full time career option still puts double the pressure to excel vis a vis conventional career options. But then, pioneers are those who take the path less beaten and leave their trail behind!

Congrats Sakshi & PV Sindhu! You haven't just won Olympic medals. You have created history, for a daughter has done what no son has ever done! 

1 comment:

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