“People cheer for Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, and Mithali Raj, saying more girls must take up sports. But the journey up there is tough because people try to stop you more than they support you. I was a basketball player earlier but that’s history now.
As a child, I had breathing disorders and my parents enrolled me into yogaclasses that required me to wake up by 5 am. I hated them, so I decided to sign up forbasketball coaching instead. My parents did all they could to support me and as a result of our combined efforts, I developed mastery in my game. I played at the National level five times and represented our country once, all when I was barely 16. I made sure that my time andenergy were all invested in making it big at Basketball.
I even managed to balance both my academics and the sport well, thanks to the support from my best friend. After my class 10, I forced myparents to send me to Erode, through sports quota, so that I could attend classes at my will and focus on my game. The two years flew by in practice sessions, trainings and tournaments.
When it was time for me to join a college, I chose the JeppiaarEngineering College as they promised to let me focus on basketball. I was excited for how the exposure I’d receive would help me grow, but little did Iknow that it would only end my dream of a career inbasketball, like a house ofcards.
Unfortunately, the college management split intoJeppiaar engineering college and Jeppiaar institute of technology resulting in a change in sports as well. Our coach was let go andwe were not allowed to practice or participate in matches either. For the matchesthat we contested in by ourselves, the college did not support us or grant us attendance, which took a toll on us. Picking a fight with the college management only resulted in temporary suspension and humiliation to my parents in the form of constant tears and apologies. I was shattered because we were being punished for no fault of ours. I was left to choose between my education and my passion forbasketball.
I gave up onbasketball and never played a game again. I left the college hostel as well and graduated as a day scholar. I was depressed and to distract myself, I decided to pursue MBA, which I graduated from with good gradesand have a wonderful job now. I have been living life on my own terms now. I started learningBharathanatyam and have been showing great progress according to my guru. I investall my energy into dance and keep myself busy to restrain the demons of the pastfrom resurfacing.
The only challenge I have at this moment is to make sure I achieve something in dance
before I am expected to get married. The demons of society continue to haunt you theminute they see you break the barriers and patriarchal norms.”
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