In a little over half an hour India will have its real “chak de” moment, as opposed to the reel version, when the women’s hockey team plays in the Olympic semi-finals.
So much rests on this game, and I for one am rooting 100% for these young women.
I am not going to launch into a diatribe here and now about India + women + patriarchy + sports +++ but suffice it to say that in this still heavily mysogynistic country, one wishes nothing but the best for women.
To put this post in some sort of context for non-Indians, thus far India hasn’t done at all well in the Olympics, but the only 3 medals so far were all won by women.
For much of the time the only sport that counts in this cricket-mad country is – guess what – cricket. And then every 4 years along come the Olympics and there is much fanfare amongst the keyboard warriors, much patriotic hash-tagging, and then much hand-wringing at the poor medal haul. And it’s back to business as usual with cricket, cricket, cricket.
So yes, much rests on the shoulders of these young women.
Helming them is a brilliant young 26 year old, the captain Rani Ramphal, who had this to say recently :
“I wanted an escape from my life; from the electricity shortages to the mosquitoes buzzing in our ear, from barely having two meals to seeing our home getting flooded. There was only so much my parents could do — Papa was a cart puller and Maa was a maid.”
Read these next 2 extracts, below, and if you’re like me, weep a little for the gut-wrenching levels of poverty that still exist in India. And weep also for the devotion of these parents:
“Training would start early; we didn’t have a clock, so mom would look at the sky to check if it was time to wake me.”
“At the academy, it was mandatory for each player to bring 500 ml of milk. My family could only afford milk worth 200 ml; so I’d mix the milk with water and drink it.”
Please take 2 minutes to read all of Ms Ramphal’s statement. It is very moving. And puts her achievement into perspective.
And yeah, obviously, here’s THAT song from the reel version 🙂