Hima Das is in limelight now with 4 GOLDS at Tabor Athletics Meet in Czech Republic. Hailing it just an ‘outstanding performance’ will be the worst possible insult to her. If we put it (her performance ) on weighing machine against 5 Hundreds of Rohit, probably will tilt the scale of her side more .
When I sought to trouble my most loyal friend Mr. Googlewala to find out about Hima Das , came to know that she was born at Kandhulimari village in the state of Assam . ( I bet , a sports fan from Indian Metro is more likely to know in which room number of a maternity home , any of the superstar cricketers was born), Her parents are farmers by profession. ( I would argue , farming can never be a profession, it can only be a thankless hard work)
BTW, my not so wild guess is that, Hima Das is not just one among thousands of athletes from the ‘no network found ‘ remote areas or underprivileged families, who are going to bring glory to India in sports in next few years. All the fame to Indian sports arena which this new generation of sportsmen are going to bring will mostly be from small towns and villages. We are no more going to have superstar sportsmen like Sachin and Virat from Metros . Even in cricket, next big names will be born in small towns or economically poor parents’ homes and not the higher middle class (Double Income Single Kid – DISK ) or those born with Digital Spoon class.
MS Dhoni is another such guy who was born in backward state of Jharkhand and has become a legend. This is a huge change which slowly and steadily is going to be a writing on the walls of Indian Sports scenario. More sporting sensations are likely to be from villages or small towns.
Why it is happening? Why only poor parents are going to earn ‘proud parents of medal winners’ tag? Why kids of ‘well to do’ parents from Metros likely to lose it to those , may be from slums may be from small one/two room houses, who can only afford to eat ‘Vada Pav’ (A famous Mumbai snack for a poor man) for lunch and a banana for dinner. Why only those who are at mercy of crowded trains and cruel public transport going to make headlines?
Are the DISK kids losing the plot ? Yes !!! Sportsnasha interacts every week with fifteen to twenty aspiring sports kids and feel amazed to mention that, out of them, hardly one or two happen to be from silver spoon category.
We are overwhelmed by the commitment, the young kids of not so decently earning parents have . We are surprised by their maturity at a tender age, We get pleasant shocks by their vision, plan, their mental control and strength, their work schedule . Mind well , these kids are serious in study as well. They balance their lifestyle so well . There can’t be more enviable experience than this for DISK parents.
It’s astonishing to know, they ( aspiring sportsman kids from poor or average financial background) understand, their parents are ready to slog and sacrifice their one meal for a sports kit or a tournament outstation for their sportsman kid. These are the kids who will be kings of sports and perhaps not those who are wasting the gym earned fitness to style off and just run after momentary exhilaration flaunting a big price tagged cell. They feel , an Insta or a Facebook status update at a newly found eatery in town is a bigger stardom than winning a match on field. For metro rich or DISKs, visiting twice a same restaurant is crime punishable under their own law manual .
That’s OK . But that’s not OK, if you want to make a serious career in sports. Winning a state championship is as big effort as passing an IIT entrance and keeping the form is a far bigger one . All of it requires astronauts’ will, risk bearing capacity and Arjuna like focus. It is not something which can be done with the swings of mood a writer or a painter can afford to have. These successful sportsmen are made of a special chemical using combination of all the complicated formulas of science and highest skills and creativity any artist has.
So, what these small earning or village dwellers’ parent’s kids have , that the DISK kids , cushioned by guardians , lack? If we follow them we can see that the commitment level of these kids (from hand to mouth families or just better) to work harder without getting into peer pressures seems to be far superior. These kids also are supported by their parents to the hilt, The parents avoid confusing them in decision making rather train them properly of their reality and need to keep working . They (parents) also inculcate good values in them and make them aware of the dangers of addictions and stupid attractions. There is no such ambition in them like getting a foreign degree, and join quit India movement.
The ultimate common ambition the typical metro kids are taught to achieve is to earn the US Green card.
But , less the resources more the efforts and more the resources lesser surprises seems to be the law of nature. To make a real career in sports, one should remember that problems can be the stepping stones and hurdles will be energy drinks, hence , these Village Kids are shining, may be.
The ‘funda’ is clear. Too much of care and safety covers might not nurture a kid to be international sportsman for sure. The grit, determination and will only come from adverse environment. Sad but hopeful as fortunately India has many poor families who are encouraging their sons or daughters to play and conquer .
The Government is now looking at sports as much as it looks at building roads and bridges. Facilities are mushrooming. Foreign companies are investing and exploring. These kids from other than big metros are taking advantage of the direction of blowing wind . These kids are visionary and cleverly dreaming to bring an Olympics medal home and not just a BMW or a Merc.
Hima Das, you are also one of them ! Do not wait, please move up the ladder ! Million Kids are waiting to Follow You. They are all defying New Zealand cricketer Neesham’s advise after loss in World Cup ….
“Kids, don’t take up sport. Take up baking or something. Die at 60 really fat and happy,” .
By Aju Deshpande
A Sportsnasha Exclusive