Monday, August 22, 2016

Scream, I should and I will

Indians are docile. And Indian women are definitely docile. From the time we are born, we are taught to not raise our voices and sit properly. We are instructed to not show exhilaration of any kind. Politeness and 'nazar' both are reasons. 'Chup raho. Excited mat ho. Nazar lag jayegi'. Heard it enough. Success has to be secretly admired and enjoyed.

And then came Maria Sharapova. Holy Behold! She took grunting and screaming in sports to a whole new level. I have watched her play with my eyes wide open... oops sorry, ears wide open.

I used to play basket ball during high school. And one of the things our coach used to tell us was, "BE LOUD!" Well, I was not particularly quiet, but screaming was not my cup of tea. And then a particularly screaming episode happened when I was dis-pleasured with a friend. I remember going up to the terrace of my hostel and in a perfect state of disharmony screamed like there wasn't a tomorrow. I didn't (...or couldn't) speak for two days, well, couldn't find my voice. But the scream made me feel particularly good. It was like all my pent up emotions went off in mid air and at none particularly.

While watching the silver medal winning match of P V Sindhu, many questions ran through my mind. I was not just watching the thrilling moves by the ace badminton player, but was also observing her mentor Pulela Gopichand sitting with bated breath and constant chanting within those breaths.

When Carolina Marin fetched her first point, she startled me (In a funny way...haven't head that kind for a long while) with her scream. My 10 year old said, "What has gotten into her?" My husband quipped, "Sportsman Spirit." And I was waiting for Sindhu to grunt too! And she did! I wouldn't say she matched Marin, but I was happy that she screamed loud and clear.

After Sindhu won the semi finals, I became curious about her. I was reading articles on both her coach and her. What I discovered was very interesting.

Apparently, 10 months back in his academy, Gopichand felt that while Sindhu was practicing all the right shots, she lacked the aggression which a sportsperson (especially solo players) should have. He told her to stop the practice and stand in the middle of the court and just scream. She is a Bharatiya youngster and that too a south Indian (Deadly combination, exceptions please excuse), and obviously was very conscious and uncomfortable. The coach at that point told her straight faced that she will not touch the racket till she screams. Finally a teary eyed Sindhu had to scream. And the ace player was born.

Sports definitely needs aggression and a spirit where you believe in acceleration and exhilaration. From this stems another thought process.

Expressing ourselves and teaching our children to express themselves is a life skill. I have lost count of the n number of times I have heard this, "Don't answer back." Think about it, What does that even mean? Actually nothing. Basically an adult's ego does not let him/her accept a young one questioning or asking for an explanation. At this basic level itself we stop our children within the four walls of our home. Imagine this child has to go and face the world. A world, where millions of such children who have been told not to answer back, have now stepped out just like your own child. Each one with pent up emotions and questions. And then we expect a peaceful world. None of us are really equipped really to listen to a NO, or accept arguments graciously or face aggression of any form. Being a teacher, I have heard this too, "We want our child to be equipped to face the real world." But many fail at the ground root level within their homes by asking their children to express lesser. Anger is a 'bad' emotion which shouldn't be expressed. How about we teach ourselves to express it, in a better way? How about we teach ourselves how to agree to disagree, and not let our egos and hearts get trampled on.

Sports can teach us a lot. This is just one of the many things.

And yes, do make that trip to your terrace. 

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