Thursday, May 03, 2012

Life events that clicked.....

Pursuing a sport seriously , say in Mumbai,   or for that matter , traveling out of town for it,  is  , to say the least, NOT an easy thing. 

For her, daily training was the simpler part.  A great pool  with a great coach within 10 minutes jogging distance,  a two wheeler mother who daily took her for her workouts  of several kilometres in the water,  a very very strict coach, great fellow swimmers, and they would rush back at 9 pm, dripping hair,windbreakers and huge bags held precariously on the two wheeler, revving up the incline.

Going for competitions was another thing. Traveling in the Mumbai suburban trains, and one always carried sufficient water, fluids, and assorted  fresh cooked carb foods, boiled eggs, bananas, not to mention an old bedsheet to spread on the ground around the pool. Insisting on warmups, inside and outside the water,  avoiding wilful hunger pangs, keeping one ear attuned to announcements of her events, while she met her long lost friends from other pools;  mobilizing by the other end of the pool to cheer oneself hoarse beseeching the child to  "Pull !  Pull !", and sometimes, both being delighted with the result.  Travel in Mumbai was short but unpredictably crowded,  not meant for lugging big kit bags and food along with two little wilful girls, and you had to ensure they exited the train with you through the crowds, and didn't leave anything behind.

Out of town trips for meets, were even more unpredictable.

 Some were very much within the cities, but some were very much on some terrible undulating outskirts in the middle of nowhere, where you lugged a tired child and heavy wet bags for huge distances in the evening trafficless gloom , till you spied a ricksha and prayed that he agreed to take you back to civilization.  If he did not, you simply pushed on, luggage and tired child  in tow. There were usually, simply no arrangements by the organizers  to drop competitors at the nearest bus or train station.  Most arrangments for food and lodging pertained to the officials.  

Some were  very much in the hinterland of the state, and the official government  arrangements assumed you would be travelling with bedding, clothes and buckets and tumblers.  Overrun  by hundreds of swimmers wandering around with cycling shorts and tees (amidst the wandering local pigs trying to figure out what all the excitement was), something unheard of in that town, the pool gallery would be hugely packed daily, with folks rushing in to enjoy sights of folks in speedos, racing each other. Staying in whatever available hotel, giving pieces of one's mind to  staff who knocked at odd times, and occasionally simply changing hotels in anger.  The electricity going off at the station crowded with 200 swimmers waiting for two trains , and having to approximately board the right train.

And then there were the 5 km Sea Races. In Mumbai.

Held in the dirtiest area of the Sea, at The Gateway of India.  Usually packed with catamarans and boats, diesel smells,  and oil splotches in the water.  A small shamiana enclosure(without a roof) , ideal for 10-15 girls , but used by 7-8 times as many, meant for changing. And the mother carrying two 5 litre huge bottles of water from home, 40 kilometres away ,  since showers at the Gateway were nonexistent . The daughter emerging 3rd, coming out of the water, studded with dissolved fuel, dirt and assorted black junk stuff , and the mother emptying the two lugged water containers over her head. And then in a sudden discovery,  some of the girls rushing to the posh loo of the Taj Mahal Hotel nearby in desperation, after the race.

There have been sulks, arguments, questions, whoops, cribs, guffaws, tears and stampings of feet, over the years, and the mother has had to maintain  somewhat of a earth anchor through it all.

Today, for the mother,   for many years,  evenings have not meant the pool,  her daughter's practice , or managing the transportation. The daughter is on her own there. In a kind of zone.  She still does workouts, but  competitions are passé and old hat. The new buzzword is coaching.  Encouraging older women and  young children to swim, under her own coach's watchful eye.

Things like work and Facebook appear to be more attractive.  Lots of friends and photos.

The mother, in her own old fashioned way, is also on Facebook.

And she got a notification yesterday. Asking for a confirmation of something on her daughter's Timeline. 

Typically she didn't understand what was happening, and how she came into the scheme of things.

The daughter leaned over from her laptop, clicked on some link in the notification,  turned to her and said, " You were so much and always a part of all this.  You need to confirm  this , so it appears on my Timeline....."

The mother looked  confusedly at the screen, absorbing the words "Life event" , went back so many years in her mind , and  clicked.

The young girl had tagged her. 

It was a photograph of a very young girl, with her very first medal haul in November 1996........ 


  1. Proud moment! I saw the picture on my home page just few minutes back.

  2. Was going to click the like button then realized that I must respect privacy as she is not in my friend list.

    1. Kavita, Thank you! And yes, mausis can always click. so go ahead . This is from almost 17 years ago. How time flies ......

  3. I dont know about you ... but I was getting gooseflesh reading this... wonder how you felt when you were told of this and the flooding of memories :)


    1. Like a rose bush
      that harbored
      the caterpillar,
      that became a butterfly,
      which flitted
      here, there and everywhere,
      enjoying the acquisition of wings,
      but never forgot
      its first sip
      of nectar
      from an old rose....

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  5. Has been an enjoyable journey throughout :-)
    Mother and the little champ, a nice warming story .

    1. Thank you, Sangeeta! In a way, the journey never really ends, just changes track !

  6. wow. It really brought the whole scene vividly before my eyes.

  7. I remembered my childhood when in a small town that we grew up in our mother would either accompany us or wait for us in the garden while we cycled our way back home.
    Competitions for us were different.. sometimes passages from Geeta, other times elocution. Life was simpler though... No need to carry water. We drank what the school provided.
    Thanks for bringing the memories back

  8. ah ha what a moment .. I know the feeling ..
    this is amazing my heartiest congratulation even if it was 16 years ago .. the thought still brings a smile and a sense of pride i ma sure


  9. Wow, I love the way you have tied it all up..the ending is just brilliant..:) And the sense of elation and the smile that it leaves even your readers with needs to be credited to you along with the accomplishment mentioned in the post. :) :) :)

  10. aww...such a touchy post... must be proud moment for you

  11. Life comes a full circle without u realising it sometimes :-)

  12. It was very well narrated I liked it.. I lost myself while reading it..
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  13. First time here. Loving your blog :)
    Nice, heartwarming post :)
    Would be back for more!

    1. Very correctly said Akanksha... The post is really heartwarming :)