Thursday, December 28, 2006

Unsung heroes..

Yet another aimless evening was being wasted surfing on orkut.. Scraps were being sent .. Scraps were being read. Profiles were being visited , albums getting checked ;) ; ).. And then I came across this profile of a certain Shikha Tandon. "Could she really be the same girl ? " , I thought to myself. Yes .. She was the same Shikha Tandon.. the one I and my friends have ridiculed for finishing 40th in her free style swimming event at the Athens Olympics. Every other discussion with my fellas about sports in India would have her name and her performance being mentioned. Being true to myself , I cudn't help but try to get to know more about her.And just five minutes after going through her profile , I was a changed man.

Here was a girl , so much like me.. A girl who has always stood by her friends,someone whom they swear by .. A girl who loves cracking pjs, pulling people's legs and doing things what any other youngster would ( atleast that is what the testimonials say ). But there is more to her. Unlike me , she is the best in the country at her sport.Yes... The best.. Then , how the hell do I mock at her for finishing 40th at the last Olympics ? Who gave me and my mates the right or the privilege to make her the laughing stock of all our sports discussions ? Okay .. She has never won a medal at the biggest events in world sports . But how many inter building cricket competitions have I won ? Why din't I realise till now that unlike me , she chose not to take the easy route.Pursued her dream , fought ( and is fighting ) the system and the competition , and yet excelling against all odds.In a country where sportspersons other than cricketers find it tough to get any recognition , where parents prefer their children to be doctors or engineers rather than swimmers , she has dared to follow her dreams. Unlike so many of us who get our kicks by dwelling on the failures of our countrymen,she had the guts to be different.
Orkut also led me to Anup Sridhar's blog. For the uninitiated , Anup Sridhar is the country's ace badminton player (am sure a vast majority of the country doesn't know such a guy even exists). Other than the orkut profile , the testimonials , there was something more that was common to the two of us. Our blogs .. Neither of us manage to get any comments for our posts. Reading about his honest description of all his recent matches , his expectations , his determination and the fight he has put all these years , made me realise how wrong I have been about sportsmen like him all along. Why were their efforts only weighed with their standings at those international events ? Isn't rising against the system and being the best in the country a triumph in itself ?

Read Saina Nehwal's interview today .. " I won't hesitate to advertise for the cola companies , since the money earned out of it would help me pursue my dream of an Olympic gold ." The sentence itself tells about the paucity of resources at their disposal.
There are so many such sportspersons languishing in the wilderness in our proud country. I sincerely hope their efforts and sacrifices get recognised someday. And a Puneet or his friends don't belittle their efforts because of the inability to win Olympic medals..

Albeit a little late .. I am full of admiration and respect for individuals like them. Surprisingly.. infact funnily.. it is orkut of all places that has brought about the change !!!

11 Comments:

Blogger Amit Panhale said...

Man of extremes...

Either u go ga-ga over a good performance or u criticize a bad performance like there can be nothing worse...

Orkut and these unsung heroes, i guess have now helped u find the middle path ..

Gr8...

And ya three cheers to the Shikha Tandons & Anup Sridhars of this country..we need many more like them...

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Siddharth said...

When u used to ridicule Shika earlier.. it wasnt Shika the individual.. but the swimmer that u were ridiculing.. so u r forgiven.. ;)
I dont want to or should I say not able to.. decide whether rdiculing a performance... should be done or not..

For sports in India, today we need the basic infra in place... anything above that I feel is not needed.. cause India cannot afford it.. There are too many ppl in the country and many issued connected to them... that is where the government's funds should be going..

Sainas of the country should manage with what the country can offer and try organising funds for themselves... thats the best way that I see.. so well done Saina..!!

Its ok if she loses in the final.. but its not ok if some farmer is forced to end his life in a corner unknown...

I am not sure if this comment really goes alongwith ur blog... but somehow wondering what to comment made me come out with these thoughts...

Afterthoughts... yes these people.. are like u and me.. but who worked harder than u and me at something..
ok... may not have managed to be the best but are certainly not ch.....

12:02 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh Deo said...

Orkut is great.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Ashutosh Deo said...

lol....

jokes apart...

u are right.. this country has way too many people (and rising) than the current infrastructure can support... which calls for a 2 child policy to be implemented real soon!

ok coming back to the topic, India is perhaps one of the few places where you are constrained throughout your childhood. Bahar nahi jaaneka, yeh nahi karneka, woh nahi karneka. Adventure and Sports get the last preference in families. Sports is rather considered as a hobby by most.

Even if people are determined, the infrastructure is rarely anything compared to the intl. standards.

I cannot comment anymore.. coz I do not know much abt the swimming scene in India. See the ignorance!!

If you want, I can go on and on about the countries' problems :D

12:23 PM  
Anonymous sukh said...

the honesty nd profoundness of u r thoughts is wht clicks the most in u r blogs sir ..keep up the good work..

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Avin Ramani said...

Reading the blog made me feel sorry for the Shikhas and Anups and inspired me to think about how much effort these people put in and still get criticised after "consistent" failures at the top level.

As most of us relate better to cricket than to any other sport (maybe soccer/football for some), I will cite an example of test cricket. Eveybody goes on blowing the trumpet of test cricket being the benchmark for a batsman's or a bowler's strength, not only his in talent, skill and guile but the mental make-up as well. So it's inevitable that we look for class and accomplisment of athletes or swimmers or lesser known sports' players at the benchmark events like the Olympics or say Asian games where not even a quarter of the countries participate as compared to Olympics.

Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of "lack of infrastructure" being the reason. For everybody's information, if you already don't know, China won the maximum number of golds and aggregate medals at the recently concluded Asian games. We did win some at the shooting, rowing and tennis events but here is where the problem starts.

We went berserk in praising these heroes. Obviously they deserved every bit of it because they rose against all odds but how many of them have done that...Paes, Bhupathi, Rathore...I think I have made my point. We can count them on our fingers, even if we start from the great Indian hockey team under Dhyan Chand. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the infrastructure in those days was not what it is now. Isn't it?? How did then we become the invincibles in the '50s-'60s. Either fluke or hard work and determination and that burning desire to succeed, the fire that could put any forest fire to shame.

Now let's come to the root cause. WE, as Indians, are to blame becasue we are the ones that stop ourselves from succeeding. It's not just about believeing in your dreams and pursuing them. Be it sports, the corporate world, the arts or the sciences or anything else for that matter. We as a whole are a mediocre society. We strive for betterment and not excellence and end up accepting mediocricy and we tell ourselves that we made sincere efforts. Winning or losing is not important, we made a great effort though. Then everybody says...Oh yeah, we fought well. I say...BULLSHIT! Gruesome murder of the word effort because the effort was to make an effort and not to WIN.

Many of us go to the US and think we are some baap earning in dollars and living a good life and then 95% of us are content having that goo dlife. How many of us try and achiever what Narayan Murthy or Bill Gates have achieved. For that also we have a way....such people are 1 in a million. Ok agreed. But, BULLSHIT again :o) . Why can't we be that 1 in a million? Why do we just accept it that we can't be that guy or girl? I know it's easier said than done but I guess we have assumed here that a lot of hard work is being put to reach the top in India or wherever.

We are just too complacent and laid-back or too aggressive to think. It's like either all brain or all brawn. The most important thing we lack is self-belief. One success story (read partial or relative success story), like Sania Mirza and we going ga-ga over it and one failure and we are so damn intolerant because we don't believe in ourselves.

There is only one more thing I want to say "Winning is not everything, it's the only thing" so let's just PLAY TO WIN!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Avin said...

Oh forgot to mention that China's economy is way behind ours, even though it looks like it's an amazing marketing and manufacturing genius and is minting money in the global market for you-name-it-we-make or copy-it products. I won't delve into the reasons for that because that is another long (and too boring for some) economics story. But the focus here is that inspite of that they somehow have the greatest athlete force in Asia atleast, if not the world. This is because the Japanese and the Chinese take great pride in doing something for their country. Yeah I know I sound too cliched but that's the way it is. There is some reason that drives them to unimaginable limits to achieve the unthinkable. High time we emulated some good things from across our borders....

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Sampreeth Kumar said...

Only a true sport lover.I repeat...SPORT LOVER...(coz Sport n Cricket are two mutually exclusive sets in our country.) can make these comments...

Blessed be the parents of shikha...saina..koneru.and more such athletes of "other sports"....

As u hve rightly pointed out in this age of indian idols n instant fame which parent would want his/her child to invest it's entire childhood n youth into smth where the R.O.I is jus tht small round piece of metal dangling arnd the neck and tht very "trivial feeling" of seeing the tricolour go up and hearing the national anthem being played ....

One day ..some day..We will experience that "trivial feeling"..and tht will be due to the efforts of the shikhas and sainas of today...

10:51 PM  
Blogger netneo said...

I completely agree with what Avin said except for the factual errors in his views about China's economy being much behind us. IT IS NOT. Duplicate products, software piracy and other such shameful issues apart, China's economy is far ahead of ours in every respect - manufacturing, telecom, infrastructure etc. Its only in the services sector that India can beat China hands down. But then again, we are straying away from the main point!

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Pinak said...

Nice one boss. You have displayed a quality seldom found in a person your age. Admitting your mistake publicly. And ya, I'll agree with what a certain Mr. Panhale has said. 3 Cheers to the Indian sportspersons in just about all the sporting fields except cricket and hockey for fighting the system and coming up a winner.
As again Mr. Panhale had mentioned before,with slight modifications, but I bet you'll get the drift. "A Winner is not the one who is the bravest of them all, but one who is brave for 10 mins longer."
So all the aspiring sport heroes of India, follow the example of Shika and Anup. Persevere, be brave for that much longer. Defy the system and you shall be Icons for every coming generation.

Atta boy Punt! Kudos to you for enlightening the ignorant ones about the real heroes of India. Keep it up.
Cheers

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