Is India Paying Attention To Medals Brought Home By Sportswomen?

It goes pretty much without saying that life isn’t a bed of roses for women athletes in India. Despite their best efforts, the gulf between male and female athletes in India keeps widening rampantly.

Take this for an example: The likes on Twitter and Facebook erupt like a volcano, the moment a male athlete wins a medal. Also, it is quite unsurprising to note that male athletes are paid way more than their female counterparts. Back in 2008, Abhinav Bindra turned into a national icon after becoming the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal (individual sport). On the other hand, countless women athletes are struggling to keep their bodies and souls together. Nobody talks about their achievements. Consequently, they end up fading away into the depths of oblivion.

Almost all of us know that R.S. Rathore won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but not many of us know that MC Mary Kom has won as many as six Boxing World Championships. Women athletes keep exceeding our expectations, but we hardly pay heed to all the good work done by them.

It is heartening to note that a considerable number of women athletes have made their presence felt in recent times. The likes of PV Sindhu and Hima Das have taken the sporting world by storm. Today, both these women have turned into role models and cultural icons.

Let us take a look at some of the rising women athletes who have made us proud in recent times:

PV Sindhu (Badminton)

She seems to have answered all her critics with her racquet. In the recently concluded Badminton World Championships, she decimated Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets to win her first gold medal. The world number 5 has won as many as five medals in six appearances at the world championships. Boy, that’s no mean feat.

Hima Das (Track and field)

They say the size of your success is always measured by the strength of your desire. Hima Das, the 19-year-old sprinter, broke quite a few records during the 2018 edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta by covering 400 metres, in a fraction over 50 seconds. Also, she won a gold medal in a track event during the IAAF World U20 Championships. She is the first Indian athlete to bag four gold medals in 15 days. Wow, these are staggering numbers!

Dutee Chand (Track and field)

She made journalists lose a lot of ink, after winning a gold medal in the women’s 100-metre sprint at the World University Games (Napoli, 2019). The 23-year-old smashed quite a few records after clocking 11.32 seconds in the final and became the first Indian athlete to bag a gold medal at the event. One has to say that this lass from Odisha knows how to handle extreme pressure.

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

The seasoned and wise ‘yodha’ of the Indian Women’s cricket team became a household name after leading her team to the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. In a career spanning over decades, she has scored more than 6,000 ODI runs. Also, she is the highest run-scorer for India in all three formats of the game.

Also read: How A Community Of Writers Showed Up To Bat For Our Women In Blue!

Sania Mirza (Lawn Tennis)

With three mixed doubles titles in her kitty, Sania Mirza is one of the finest female tennis players the country has ever produced. At the very height of her powers in 2015-16, she ranked number one in the WTA doubles rankings, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat.

After going through all of the aforementioned examples, I believe, it certainly wouldn’t be wrong to say that women athletes in India are outplaying their male counterparts. For centuries, women are being told that they are, and will always remain, inferior to men. I, however, feel that women are way stronger than men (they have always been). Most of us find it hard to come to terms with this fact.

The piece was first published on Youth Ki Awaaz

Limerence? Not Quite…

A tale of trembling hearts
With words erupting like a volcano
Impudence isn’t there, just fragility of thoughts
I spend hours attempting to join the dots.

Can’t find words, they just erode
When you stare at me, with eyes heavy and broad
Half full or half empty, I don’t know
Are you hiding something similar beneath those eyelids?
Let me know

The moments we’ve spent together,
are both the serendipitous memory
As well as a perpetual sorrow
They were a harbinger of spring to this day
But might soon turn into a steady drizzle by tomorrow

It ain’t fragile, it never was
Neither is my love a gimmick
In fact, my love has reached a point
Where both you and I are synonymic

All my words are lying before me
Like dead weights
Soft sounds emerge from my lips
But perish before reaching your ears
Lips begin to ache
And all that remains at hand is a multitude of snowflakes…

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

The Pilgrimage to Your Heart…

Words are lying in disarray,
You know what I mean, don’t you?
It is with you that I find profound solace
A place so calm and peaceful

The skies have turned murky
And moving forward is a daunting task
I have been struggling to get things going
For the path I took was insurmountable and rough

The journey is wearing me out
But I’d keep on moving
If I give up, all hope would perish
Never to return

I always knew there was a place
Later, it dawned on me that it was just a trick
Wanted an immediate answer
It hurt me immensely and I felt cheated
Despite despondence, I’d like to keep you close to my heart
My voice is falling apart
You kissed my cheek and smiled, rather nonchalantly
I realized that the journey was complete
I had conquered the final frontier…

Picture courtesy: Pinterest

Apologies of a lover…

Today, when I closed my eyes

Deep down into the depths of sleep

I could not hear myself weep,

But I know you heard my cries

I could hear your voice calling me

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And then the enchantment broke

Out of nowhere, my throat began to choke

And then in my mind, although without reason

Flashed memories of the blissful season

Of the moments we had spent together, in a world of our own

without you I feel like I’m wasted, I’m being thrown

And soon I realized, my love had turned into addiction

 

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It was all real, it wasn’t fiction

But then, my mind entered into a line of thought

I felt I had gone a bit too far, from rainfall to draught

I got to know, I had gone completely wrong

I had fallen weak at a time when I should have been strong

Out of despondence and out of insecurity

I saw how vulnerable I had fallen

I was being swept away, I was being stolen

 

You showed me everything which was holding me back

When you are there my life’s on track

I said ‘ I love you’

And I know I really do

I said ‘I love you’

Because I could see myself in you

But I am sorry for revealing what I felt

I thought you would tell me how this problem is to be dealt

 

I am sorry for crossing the limit

I am such a coward, meek and timid

Everything happened because of my fear

For I want you to be near

So, let us be friends yet again, the best of them

For your friendship turned me into a gem

 

So, to conclude the story

I can only say I’m sorry

We can’t be together as lovers, I guess it is true

But as the best of friends, I have chosen you

Because when I went out to search for faithfulness in the world,

I found you
It is your smile which keeps me moving

Because you held my hand and drove me out of the dark

And, when both of us collide, we tend to come together

But even if we don’t , I guess we’ll never be far apart

 

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Dating Diaries- Part I The Coffee Shop Conundrum…

Dating someone happens to be quite an adventure. The reason I consider it to be an adventure is: you don’t know what you’d be bumping into. You don’t know the person. You aren’t aware of his/her tastes and preferences. So, to top it all, there’s a considerable degree of uncertainty that ends up making the experience memorable and exciting.

In all fairness, a romantic date is not something all of us are privileged enough to experience. Only a few are able to experience it while the rest of us are left wishing to get a taste of it while staring our way into the depths of the oblivion.

For a guy such as myself who has never experienced the thrills and spills of dating a girl, the opportunity came out of nowhere.  Let me give you some context before I start bombarding you with my earth-shattering experiences.

The Prelude:

I am a transcriber by profession and work at a content marketing firm. The office happens to be located in Delhi’s Pitampura area, just about five kilometers away from my house. To be honest, my happiness knew no bounds when I got this job. The office happened to be nearby, which meant I could save a lot of money which would have otherwise been spent in commuting to the workplace.

I take a shared Uber cab in the morning simply because it happens to be cheaper than hiring an independent cab.  During the routine pilgrimage, I met a girl. We met in August last year. Our first meeting turned out to be quite uneventful. Since both of us were complete strangers, we didn’t bother speaking, but our eyes must have met quite a few times that day.

The Beginning

Days kept passing by and both of us kept meeting each other. As our interactions grew, we started moving past the usual hellos and heys. She appeared a bit shy. (I would like to believe that.) She didn’t really open up until recently.

Back in December, we shared our phone numbers. It was followed by an unending saga of text messages. For the past 10 days, my phone has been buzzing quite frequently. The messages don’t stop. The conversations just go on and on and on. Our conversations are like a river i.e. never-ending.

Now, let us come to the dating episode. During one of the days in early January, she texted me saying that she wanted to meet me. I, out of shyness, tried to avoid the meeting by cooking up various excuses.

Despite my resistance, she remained firm. It felt as if she wanted to meet me out of desperation. My phone’s message box was being flooded with messages. After being overpowered by a thousand fragments of broken thoughts, I finally gave in and agreed to meet her.

It was a working day and I had to apply for a sudden short leave in order to materialize the date. We decided to meet at one of the Café Coffee Day outlets in Jwala Heri Market (West Delhi). We were to meet at 4 pm. I must confess that I was scared. It was the 5th day of January 2019, but I was sweating profusely.

I wasn’t scared out of shyness, but because, in the past, my encounters with girls had been disastrous. It is hard for me to be close and I can’t help it. I find it hard to start a conversation. And that day, it happened to be no different.

The Shyness, the Nervy Moments, and Everything in Between

Okay, so as far as the date is concerned, it was no less than a life and death situation for me. The reason I consider it to be a life-death situation is: I didn’t know how to react. When I entered the coffee shop, she was already there, with her eyes glued to the coffee shop’s main entrance. For the first time in my professional career, I had been late for an ‘appointment’, albeit by just a couple of minutes.

It was a sunny afternoon in January with occasional gusts of wind kissing my cheeks. Our date began with a few glaring stares. I guess she too was just as nervous as I was. Our conversation began with the usual hi and hellos and shifted to our mutual love affair with coffee. The regular pauses in her voice made me realise the extent of insecurity prevalent in her mind. She wasn’t comfortable. I could clearly figure that out. Her eyes were an epitome of insecurity and fragility. Nearly 10 minutes had passed and yet both of us couldn’t manage to strike a conversation. Both of us kept scrolling through the WhatsApp conversations in our attempts to look busy.

After more than 15 minutes of indomitable silence, I managed to break the shackles and asked her if she wanted something to eat. She, in the softest of voices, replied that a hearty cup of coffee is what she wanted and asked me if I would be kind enough to go and place the order.

After the order was placed, silence began creeping into our heads once again. This time, quite surprisingly, she ended up breaking the monotony and asked me if I had a girlfriend. I wanted to tell her that having a girlfriend is nothing short of a luxury for an introvert such as myself but ended up opting for an easier escape by simply nodding my head sideways.

She told me how she had been prone to allergies and that she avoided eating out. The sorrow of not being able to complete her higher education due to personal problems could also be clearly seen in her eyes. She told me that she couldn’t complete her graduation as she had to relocate all the way to the United States during the 2nd year of her Bachelor’s Degree Programme.

The conversation then shifted to how our respective families are doing. How many sisters and how many brothers and so on. These questions were followed by a few predictable answers. Just then, a young girl of about 22 served coffee and within no time, both of us could be seen smiling at each other whilst sipping the divine liquid. I call it a divine liquid because it helped ease our nerves and we could now talk freely. Within no time, we were discussing pop culture, films, a shared love for Punjabi pop music, etc. That coffee must have contained magic, for both of us couldn’t stop talking after sipping it. Our tongues ran berserk and all the cautions were thrown to the wind.

We kept talking and the time kept passing like an overflowing river of sand. A knot was tied. There was a certain degree of warmth which, in all fairness, seemed to have engulfed us. Both of us didn’t bother moving. Everything remained still. Even our hearts must have skipped a few beats. The experience was worth it. I got an opportunity to open up after ages.

After an hour and a half of endless banter and gossip, the time had come for both of us to part ways. As we made our way out of the coffee shop, a bond was established. A few threads got entangled. It was all worth it. The experience helped me get over my fright.

And soon enough, goodbyes were being waved. For me, the ‘meeting’ had ended, whereas for here, it had just begun.

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‘Close’ Review: Noomi Rapace Stars in a Film Full of Predictable Plot Twists

Blood, bullets, and a badass female bodyguard form the heart of Netflix’s latest offering titled ‘Close’. Starring Noomi Rapace as a no-nonsense war veteran who is hired to protect a millionaire’s daughter, the film is marked by a few moments of undoubted brilliance and thrill but falls way short of expectations owing to a predictable storyline and a wafer-thin plot.

It is time to take a closer look at the film.

An Overview:

The film begins in a war-torn area, supposedly somewhere in the Middle-East. Sam (Noomi Rapace) is introduced as a headstrong and steadfast woman who doesn’t think twice before pulling the trigger. Her latest assignment sees her protecting Zoey (Sophie Nélisse), the daughter of a mining tycoon.  After the death of her father, Zoey needs to be transported to her mother’s safehouse in Morocco. Sam accompanies her to the safehouse. It is here that things turn nasty. The intruders raid the safehouse and kill most members of the security team along with the Head of Security. Sam is seen bashing the bad guys in her attempt to protect the rich brat. The rest of the film deals with how both of them join forces to take the bad guys by storm.

The Story

To be honest, the story looks quite predictable right from the beginning. There’s absolutely nothing new on offer. We have a stern and steadfast cop protecting a rich brat. Zoey doesn’t get along with Sam at first but warms up to her eventually. Sam does everything she can in order to protect her. The story also brings to light Sam’s softer, and an extremely vulnerable side. We are told that Sam got pregnant at 16 and had to abandon her child. Everything happens fairly quickly.  The bad guys are made to bite the dust as Sam uses her survival skills to good effect.  The story has blood, bullets, and brutality.

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The Performances:

‘Close’ rests on Noomi Rapace’s brilliance. She is the axis around which the entire film rotates. The veteran does a commendable job and carries the entire film on her shoulders. She plays the quintessential action ‘hero’ and looks convincing and believable.  Also, she doesn’t rely on dialogues and lets her hands and punches do the talking. There are sequences wherein you want to humanize with Sam.

Sophie Nélisse nails her part with relative ease. She plays a usual rich brat who doesn’t care much about life. Her life takes an unexpected turn after her father dies and leaves his billion-dollar mining business in her hands.

The likes of Indira Verma and others do not get much screen place. You cannot expect to have well-defined characters in a movie that has a runtime of 95 minutes.

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Direction:

Vicky Jewson has done a reasonably good job behind the camera. He has kept it tight and to-the-point. A 95-minute runtime doesn’t give you much time to think. No frame appears unnecessary. As far as creativity is concerned, the director has nothing new on offer for the viewers but keeps the film’s essence intact.

The action sequences are a major highlight of the film. Much like the film’s lead character, the film is a no-nonsense action film and has some adrenaline-pumping fight sequences to keep you hooked. The film has a purpose, it has a tightly-knit story, but one has to say that the ending felt a bit rushed. All of it appeared a bit too easy and straightforward for Sam.

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The Verdict

Simply put, watch ‘Close’ if you are a die-hard fan of the action-thriller genre. Also, Noomi Rapace’s stellar performance is enough to grab your attention. She holds the film together with effortless ease.

 Rating: 3/5

When Our Bodies Met…

 

It was like holding a butterfly,
Beautiful and full of life
When I held you in my arms
For a moment there
I felt complete, I felt joyous

When our bodies met,
I felt a rush going through my body
And I wanted to melt away in your arms
Like a candle melts away
After it embraces fire

When I closed my eyes
I could feel you as you laid beside me
I could feel  your cheek on my shoulder
And I was aware of the pleasure it gave me

Our bodies met, like air meets fire,
To give rise to flames
And all cautions and worries were thrown to the wind
For a moment there, everything appeared complete

And then, out of nowhere, the splendour began to end
The dream broke, and my body began stiffening up
Everything began disappearing, my body began to freeze
Memories began to crumble
Like broken shards of glass

I could hear you breathing
What a wonderful dream it was
as our bodies met,
For the first and the last time
And then you bid adieu

 Picture Courtesy: Pinterest