Sunday, April 15, 2018

Emotional Saina takes CWG gold, a title to heal Rio Olympics pain


Looking up at the sky, Saina Nehwal let out a scream after grabbing the coveted gold, eight years after she had become the toast of the country with a maiden CWG title at 2010 Delhi Games.
Saina played with aggression and never let the intensity slip to outdo her younger compatriot P V Sindhu, who had taken over the mettle as India's premier star after her Olympic and world championship silver.
It was a moment she has been waiting for long ever since suffering a knee injury at the Rio Games. Her emotional reaction after the win was not as much about celebration as it was a release for all the pent up emotions that she endured in the last couple of years.
"It's a very emotional moment for me after the disappointing loss in Rio due to injury," said the second seeded Indian after her win.
In the run-up to the Games, Saina faced flak after she threatened to pullout if her father Harvir Singh is not allowed to stay with her in the village. She insisted his presence was important for her success and she proved her point when she beat Sindhu 21-18 23-21 in the finals today.
"It's a gift to my father and my mother, my country. I really term it as next to my Olympic medal and my world No.1 ranking. So I would keep it somewhere there," she added.
Injuries are an integral part of an athletes' life but the intra-articular injury to her right knee just days before Rio Olympics robbed Saina of a chance to win that coveted gold at the Olympics.
She had to undergo surgery and what came next was weeks and months of rehabilitation.
Saina, who had achieved the world no 1 ranking in 2015, now was reduced to a bystander. She lost valuable time and there were times when she even thought of giving up the game she loved so much all together.
But champions are made of different clay and Saina needed to embrace it wholeheartedly to heal and salvage any hope of a quick comeback. Within three months, she was back on the court to test her knee at the China Open and she also played in Hong Kong and Macau.
As time passed she healed a bit more and eventually claimed the Malaysia Masters last year but a major title was hard to come by despite the fact that she was making the quarters and semifinals consistently.
Then came a bronze at the Glasgow World Championship, which led to a reunion with long-time mentor and chief coach Pullela Gopichand, whom she had parted ways in 2014 after an consistent run.
The world championship final between Sindhu and Japan's Nozomi Okuhara turned out to be an epic contest that clocked 110 minutes and it made Saina realise that she has to step up her fitness level further if she has to achieve her absolute best.
But injuries continued to trouble her as she developed some ankle issue. She came back again to reach the finals of Indonesia Masters this year. However, results still continued to elude her in major events as a quarterfinal exit against USA's Beiwen Zhang was followed by a first-round ouster from All England.
This gold at Gold Coast will go a long way in healing all those scares of the last few years and hopefully pave the way for more titles before she walks into the sunset.

Friday, February 16, 2018

You are in a wrong profession, they proclaim.
I neither deny nor confirm the truth,
perhaps it is a bit of both.
Doctor? Doctor? Should we call you one now?
'Call me as you please, I say.
'I am still not the one.'
They smirk at my fading memory,
I smile, choosing peace over truth.
'A spineless man is a snake'.
But they don't say the word,
And I prefer not to listen.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

pair of wings

I always wanted to fly,
staring through the windows
when the birds flew out of the guava tree,
or the pigeons gurgled in our neighbor's roof,
as if mocking my existence,
I always would shoo them away.
Then an idea struck me,
what if I could grow a pair of wings,
So I begged for some magic spells from my grand mom,
who could make the fever go away, or cure an upset stomach 
just by chanting some words into a pinch of salt.
She would pacify me by telling many stories but never gave away any magic spell.
My science books too didn't offer any help.
I also went to Ronto kaku, who had a penchant for machines. 
He did promise to make me a pair of wings
only if I study hard.
Time rolled on and I buried myself in books,
Ronto kaku also passed away and his promise remained unfulfilled.
Many years later, 
now when I see the pigeons fluttering around me, 
I don't feel mocked anymore, 
perhaps I realize now that I can never fly,
I was tied to the earth when I was born.

Delhi sheds its leaves,
gets ready for a long summer ahead.
I too drop a few dead skins,
and wait for the flowers to blossom.
I spent a decade in this cycle of ice and dust,
pacing to and fro, in search for what I desire
and what I need. It took time to realise,
need always trumps wants.
Now when the fruit ripens,
it seems I can't find my hunger,
or feel any sense of smell or taste.
perhaps, it's best that way,
But what good it would be when the buds grow red?
Who knows how it will reveal itself.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I sometimes wonder about death, that last sleep that strips you of all vanity, chops off the threads, letting you to float in the infinity universes, all windows leading to more windows and each door falling into another door.

l wonder how will it come to me, eavesdropping by the shadows of a night, emerging from the river like a white angel or in a moment's flash, breaking the camera forever, like a jump cut out of the sequence, like a missing alphabet of a letter, how will I say goodbye, like a Supernova reverberating in the sky or whimpering like the last song of winter.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Home


A three-room house
Soaked in time,
Built on sweat and tears,
Now weeps like an orphan.
An eerie lullaby resonates the walls,
The shadows hides in the dark,
Only a ghost loiters around,
Searching for the lost key.




Survival


Like a semi-circle,
Arranged in no particular order,
old Lights, clocks, cables and radios,
lay around, giving him company.
From dawn to dusk,
He fixes their broken heart,
heals their bruised souls.
People say he has forgotten how to speak.
The lonely night trains pass through the dark alleys,
lit sometimes by the yellow splash from buildings and street lights,
standing like wide-eyed witnesses, under the charcoal faced sky,
chained to the ground by irons and stones,
they too long to travel sometimes.

The tracks spread out like straight lines,
keeps its distance from each other,
but always together nevertheless,
when the sleepless trains are too drunk to see beyond the mist,
the tracks guide them home.
Yet sometimes the rattle of the iron wheels,
sends a shiver through their spines.
And they too long to toss and turn,
to shed their decades of weariness.