Monday, October 29, 2012

Hu tu tu tu tu....

It all began with fist fights at home.
Then the school level. One class played against the other.
Then came the interschools.
Then the Cluster meets.
Then the Zonal competitions.
Then Regional Meets.
And finally the National camp & championships.

Most parents would have been proud to let their child go for the National level sports meets.
But not those of the ones who played the rustic sport of 'Kabaddi'.
At least not in the 1980s.

Mainly for 3 reasons-

1. Kho-kho & Kabaddi were rural cousins of other high profile games. To be played just to be physically fit. They had no future in terms of gainful employment. 'Lawn-Tennis' & Cricket were the sports of repute.

2. They were not 'lady-like' games. Breaking a bone while playing was very common. If you were not heroic enough to break one, at least a joint dislocation or cuts n bruises were assured of.

3. It was a team sport to be played on hard ground with no personal glory.

So when I came home with a regional certificate, waiting to see if the selectors had made a good choice by picking me for the National Camp, Mom was quite dismissive about the whole thing.

"Enough. You should concentrate more on studies now.", said she. To be fair to her I was indeed touring quite a bit between sports and Scouts & Guides camps. I was heartbroken. I was ready to beg and plead and do what not if I was selected, so that she'd let me go. Dad was my trump card, though he would have wanted more of a Steffi Graf for a daughter than a caked out Kabaddi player.

God saved me the humiliation. I wasn't selected for the Nationals that year. I blamed it all on the ill-wishes of my parents. And that was the end of Kabaddi for me.

Two years later it was introduced in 1990 at the Asian Games in Beijing. Who cared about the rising Steffi, internationally accepted new form of Kabaddi was my cause of misery.

Always reminding me of 'what I could have been'.

The things that remind you of what you could have been are many. A book, a movie, a song, a child prodigy, coming face to face with people who didn't stand by you at crucial junctures, mentors who directed you to a different field, a tucked away certificate, juniors superceding you, a newspaper article....the list is endless. You see yourself as the protagonist and sigh.

But in the end what it finally comes down to is what you are today.

You are only as good as you last piece of work or relationship or the credit amount in your bank. The rest is all 'what you could or would have been'. It doesn't exist.

It torments you. Makes you nostalgic. Makes you want to blame others why things went the other way. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. But truth of the matter remains - You are what you are today, not what you wanted to be once upon a time.

Sometimes you are the Raider. You raid. Others pin you down. You fall. You get up. You tag others. You come home victorious. Or you get out and stand off field until an ally revives you.

Sometimes you are the Antis. You defend. You let the raiders invade the baulk line. And then you pounce. Like a tiger. Grab them by the neck. Or you creep in. Like a snake.Simply cuff their ankles and pull.

Life is a constant game of Kabaddi.
A struggle to reach the middle line somehow.
Silly me. I thought it was lost.

Remains of the day - Few certificates that stood the test of time


  1. Vandana,a life in deed not in years,these certificates indeed certify only this.These are also reminder to the fact that real talents are versatile. A touching post!

  2. In complete agreement with Mr. Mishra ...a touching post indeed.. :-)

  3. You should have been a bit more resistive than you were and pursued your dreams. Get on a time machine a travel back :)

  4. Oh I was quite a rebel :) it is just that I had way too many dreams...all different ones at different ages.


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