Boxer All The Time - Part 1
Boxer All The Time - Part 1
“YOU MUST CONSIDER HANGING YOUR gloves on the wall, this is the time to say goodbye to all,” the coach said to Mariya, who had two children and a passionate boxing fighter. She was disappointed because she didn’t want to hear such a depressing suggestion from a person to whom she had a high opinion. It was like he was knocking on the back of her head without her knowledge. How can a person who had worked closely for a decade can judge me harshly? How can he decide that I would be a bad performer without giving me a chance again? These thoughts were pricked her brain like needles. She looked at him impassively as if she didn’t have words to speak to him. But finally drew some energy to say something.
“I can’t just leave this sport because I am a mother of two kids. Yeah, I can understand what you are trying to say, but…………” she said, she could feel the fresh tears biting her eyes. It was not yet crawled down, or she didn’t want to show it to the world, “please understand, I can’t give up just like that. It’s my passion. It’s my breath. It’s my blood. Can you feel what I am going through?” she looked at the head coach with glistened eyes. You could see her face turned pinkish red now as if someone had beaten her a few times. Even she was ready to take a few punches to her heart in the name of fighting again in the ring, but she wasn’t daring to hear words like ‘you are aged and you have flailing legs and arms.’ She can’t take those. It would rust her blood and led her to ruin completely.
They both were sitting on the wooden sofa in her home which was small but maintained neatly. You could see in the corner a showcase where she had placed her medals and trophies received from various distinguished persons in our country. The one award at the top of the shelf was her special. It was the first gold medal she had achieved when she was just thirteen years old in the South open boxing championship in Karnataka. This was the reason why her fame reached to the high officials in the sports. But the doors for the international matches didn’t open easily. She had to wait for five more years to earn a chance to represent for India in the AIBA women’s world championship began in Podolsk, Russia. She had gone through so many painful phases of life to grab this chance.
Though her parents were happy to let her pursue her dream, her family couldn’t able to spend money on her practice sessions. She didn’t want to think about the day when her mother had pawned her necklace to earn fifteen thousand and gave it to her to continue her practice. Mariya had cried that time. Her blood curdled when she brought that money. She felt like giving up her dreams because she didn’t want to see her parents suffer. She was guilty about hurting them badly. All she had done was knelt before Lord Ram in the temple and prayed and prayed until her tears had drenched her dress. There were plentiful wreaking memories still flooded in her mind, but she didn’t want to think about it now.
“Mariya, I can understand you for sure,” her head coach said, as pressed his hand on her wrist and struggled to look at her face keenly, “But you should think practically. I mean you know what I mean,” he closed his mouth. He didn’t want to say any words which would test her patience or smother her confidence.
Her daughter was playing in the front garden of the house. She wore a burgundy headband and a pink frock. She looked as same as her mother would have been in her young age. She was pretty and had round and soft features. She had a watering can in her right hand as showered water to the rose plants. Mariya had seen her and thought she had grown up fast. Now she thought of calling her, but she knew it wasn’t a right moment to pour love on her. She would definitely find a time to talk with her child. In these eleven years of her long boxing career, she found it difficult to spend time with her daughter. Even her Sundays would be crossed like any normal day, with sweat streaming down on her face and back. The sheer hard work she had carried through these years was reflecting her overwhelming desire to achieve great things. Not to tell the way her back ached before she gave birth to her another child, at one time she felt like she had to go for cesarean but by God’s grace she didn’t have run through such an excruciating experience. She had finally given birth to an angel again, her name is Bhavika who was sleeping in her crib in the bedroom. Mariya’s parents were living in an adjacent street, and they usually would come in the evening to visit her. Her husband had gone to work in a bakery, which wasn’t a prospective business these days. Because the high profiled people were craving to eat western food items like pizza and burger and pasta. The footfalls of the people visiting such a shoddy bakery had declined tremendously. But he was able to run his family with the abysmal profit he could earn. One of the big reliefs of him was that this house wasn’t rented, but owned. He had to thank his parents who were died after they both had fallen in the uncovered storm water drain on the road in the last rainy season which hammered the city like anything and waist level flood staggered everywhere. There were so many problems Mariya and her husband faced in their life, but one relaxing fact for her was that her husband had never pushed her to stay out of her game at any time.
“Sir, if you want to remove me from the selection list of Olympics, please do. But don’t ask me to stay out of this boxing. I will still continue wearing gloves and drop in the ring to sharpen my punches. I am sorry for being rude. But this is my final decision,” Mariya said.
The head coach wasn’t surprised. He was an elderly fellow and was nearing fifty. He had fluffy grey hair on his big skull, his broad face was cleanly shaven and there were no sideburns at all. He had sprinkled mustache just for the sake of having it. But his adam apple conveyed his every emotion as it moved up and down like a piston in the engine.
“Okay, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I will discuss with selection committee people and let you know our decision,” he said calmly as looked into her eyes and croaked his throat, “but don’t expect anything positive. This is a highly competitive world and any high expectation might plunder your heart.”
“Thank you,” that’s all she could think at this moment. The head coach stood up and his right hand twitched to handshake, but he had never done it with Mariya before, so he dropped it back.
He gleamed, neither brightly nor sullenly and said, “Bye.”
Do you know what Mariya did the next moment? No, she didn’t pick up the gloves. But she had headed straight into the bedroom and wept for fifteen minutes cupping the pillow over her mouth. She didn’t want to show her tears soaked face to her baby who was still sleeping in the crib. The pillow was drenched. She was still a weak girl when it comes to facing such deploring and wreaking situations. But she will definitely find a way to come out of these hectic troubles. She had done it many times. This wasn’t a new thing for her. When her hard feelings and cramping thoughts were shredded from her brain, she had leaned over the crib and kissed her small baby on her forehead saying ‘My sweetheart. Sleep well. Mom will come sooner to take care of you.’ The little girl moved a bit as if to acknowledge her mom’s words. But she didn’t wake up. Mariya then came to the living room and plucked the heavy blue gloves from the wall and strode down towards the front gate, where she met her daughter Dhanya and tousled her hair and pulled her left cheek smoothly.
“Mom, have a great punching day. But come back soon, I wanted to play chess with you. Yesterday you had promised to come before seven o’ clock, but you didn’t,” Dhanya said.
“My sweetheart, I will definitely play with you today. I promise you,” Mariya said and swore on her head. There was a slight hesitation in her voice, but she was sure she wouldn’t let her daughter disappoint today. Though it was Sunday, she had no interest to stop her training whether the selection panel’s decision would go favor to her or not. Keep running towards your dream and the opportunity will come sooner to mesmerize you. This was her favorite quote. Oh, how many times it was reflected in her life, no doubt it was her secret mantra and it was like a talisman for her.
She had come to the boxing training center where people gave her a tantric look asking why the hell she had come back again. There were a couple of girls standing in the boxing ring, they always loved to irritate and annoy her. They were looking young but had stupid faces and driven by dumb attitudes. Mariya didn’t like them because they had never liked her to be successful. Even when she had brought a gold medal in Asian games, they threw a haughty look and never greeted her. She wasn’t dejected by their ruthless and stingy behavior because she had never expected they should adore her. But she only worried for them because she knew success won’t come when you hate other’s success. People who know how to worship other fellow’s victory with honest heart, they probably knew the secret of winning any sport. She only wished they would understand this truth earlier.
“So, you have come back again, eh?” one girl said. She had short hair like a boy but had strong bosom. She wore red sneakers and a blue sleeveless vest. There wasn’t a drop of sweat on her forehead. But big gloves clung to her fingers as she had practiced along with her friend who was defending all her boxing punches easily. It didn’t look like they were practicing seriously at all. It was just a playful game for them like the school children play the lagori game. You couldn’t see the valiant energy in their faces, and it looked like they were exhausted human beings.
“Yeah, I come back. I have decided to participate in the Olympic boxing game,” Mariya said slowly. It wasn’t a convincing answer though. She almost ducked her head because she knew they would troll her at any time. She was standing below the boxing ring. Though it was a dummy ring, it looked real as you would often see in the big international competitions. There were also audience seats around this ring, but nobody sitting there. This setup was made only to boost the confidence of the fighter who practice with true spirit.
The girl who had short hair stopped fighting and gasped, “I don’t know why the donkey wanted to have garland around her neck all the time. It is such a shame. But they can’t understand because they are true assho………….” She said and guffawed. Her thick gloves were tracing her stomach as she bent and laughed. Even her friend, who looked taller than her, slapped her hand on the top of the four rows of thick ropes in the ring, laughing as loud as possible.
Mariya was thrashed down virtually. There was no doubt about it. It was like they had beaten her thoroughly in the ring. She closed her eyes as tears jumped out and soaked her cheeks. She turned other side and wiped it with her both hands. She didn’t want to show her face to them fearing they might even curse her badly. But she didn’t want to leave this place until she had done the practice for at least an hour.
“What Mariya? Don’t you speak? Our country doesn’t need an old lady like you to participate in a highly powerful competition. You just stay inside your house and hum old MacDonald had a farm rhyme to your little daughter. You got what I am saying right?” the tall girl said. Her height would have easily exceeded six feet, her arms and legs were long and white. Even the black shorts she wore were ended well above her knees.
“She can’t speak, because she is such a wretched soul. I don’t know how an ugly faced lady like her even think of representing our country. It is sheer disgrace for our whole country,” the short-haired girl said as she acted like vomiting. Mariya’s heart shivered when she heard such a brutal comment against her. She would have beaten her instead. The depressing pain had devoured her mind and soul. It was like they were trying to get her out of this training house by kicking in the gut of her stomach.
“No,” Mariya shouted. She couldn’t hold her nerves calm anymore. Even though she had the heart to forgive them, she was quite unable to do that now. Her heart was painful and soaking in the acid now. “Please stop attacking me. Enough……..enough…….” she showed her hand in front of her face. Her chest was rising and falling down rigorously as she looked at them. She didn’t even want to curse them. How they can talk to me like that? What mistake I have done than teaching them honestly about the tricks I had learned throughout my journey in the boxing? Why do they shame on me? I have treated them like my sisters, but they………..she was fed up. She couldn’t even stand a second here. She returned back home immediately without practicing a punch. It wasn’t an easy thing for her leaving home without even wearing the gloves in her hands. She thought she had to give up. But her heart refused this thought strongly. You should keep going despite the problems, someone was whispering from inside her body. Who was this? God? If she had seen Almighty Lord she would have fallen on His feet and asked Him to make her heart a stone which wouldn’t capable of wounding her feelings. That was the only strong medication she needs now to take care of herself. Will He do it for her?