Wrestle Wrestle7 mins 200 7 mins 200
Mahavir Singh Phogat has seen many ups and down in his life.
A small town village man was always intrigued by the sport of wrestling which was very enjoyed by the locals as a fun activity; the adrenaline. Not wanting to pursue wrestling as a profession, he went to a wrestling club and applied. The men, there, practiced and trained players and organized matches in village fares and promoted their patron sport throughout. The winning amount was great and people hailed the players as super humans.
Mahavir was a young teenager back when he lied to his parents and went to the wrestling club. He was auditioned and a circuit of training was asked to perform. He underperformed and was humiliated. The embarrassments left him hurt extremely. He rushed back and his father sensed something going wrong with his son. Not wishing to intervene his son's privacy, he subtly told him the struggles in life and what it takes to live- the road being rough and filled with big potholes. A determined Mahavir, then trained by peeping and spying on the best players' daily programs. After a month or two, he visited another wrestling club in the neighbor village and auditioned extremely promising. Once selected, the journey begun.
From playing small time entertainer in village fares, earning four rupees for a win to being a huge name in the local wrestling community by the time he hit twenty. Mahavir had become a big name by then in the Wrestling industry of Haryana. Venturing into State Level, he expanded magnificently. He was on winning streak; unstoppable. Though the back pain, the torn muscles and the bruised legs were hidden from the viewpoints of everyone, his coach saw his tough journey which others couldn't, rather weren't allowed. Mahavir never felt right for a man to shed tears, whine and be expressive. For him, his emotions were best to be concealed from the outer world. Everyone cries but he never felt proud to showcase this side publicly. His strict regime never allowed him. A lot of his rivals attacked his technique which were raw and quite out of the box. Mahavir's moves and style were unique and his coach never wanted to mess with it. He granted Mahavir with a blend of usual tricks and his innate qualities. The coach was confident it will be a breakthrough for his student!
Indeed, it turned out to be path-breaking. His career graph kept on pumping up and after two failures at the State Level Championship, he finally won the title and garnered a lot of recognition and respect for both his art and his hard work. He was now prepping up for the National Level Championship. Three attempts went in vain. He did earned respect and experience, but the winning title couldn't reach his hands. A proposal, subsequently, for marriage arrived and his parents tied holy ties of his son with their friends' daughter. Mahavir was married to Daya Kaur, hence.
Understanding his duties, now, as a husband and a family person, he could not neglect his profession and dedication for wrestling. His wife supported him immensely throughout the process. He continued with his ambition to win at the nationals. Another year come and he qualified for the finals for the second time. The opponent was a two time winner but Mahavir was confident about his capabilities. A tough fight was given by both the play and a person emerged out as a third time National Winner.
A certain Despair clouded his charisma and self-esteem. He was under-confident and felt that the game wasn't meant for him. Very soon, a baby boy was blessed to the couple. This reignited the diminishing flame in his heart for the Nationals. He determined to train his son like none before and prepare him so great that he would bring a medal for the country. He, not only wanted him to earn worldwide fame in the National Championship but also unfurl the Indian Tricolor in full glory and register India's name in the history! A passionate father retired from his profession and assumed a governmental job while attending to his farms to focus on his son.
Alas! The destiny had bad news for them in the store. The boy, after thirteen months of his birth, was diagnosed with Polio. All the dreams were shut; sealed so close!
After a year, the couple was blessed with another child; a girl. And after eighteen months, two twin girls were born to them.
Mahavir was disheartened. His dreams, his hopes, his ambitions, his passion; all had squandered in front of his eyes. He merely had two years before he would be debarred form registering into the Nationals. A sudden fuel ignited in him and he left all his land and clerical job to focus on his career; just one last shot! He begin a strict practice regime and devoted himself thoroughly into the game. The family was unsupportive of him and didn't qualify him to be better than what he was few years back. Even at his best form, he couldn't bag home the title, his pause would be another failed attempt.
Fate turned the tables, and Mahavir became The National Champion in Freestyle Wrestling!
A huge accolade, sadly, no use now. He had left his Government Job. He retired to his land. The glory, the majesty, the power was all consumed and soon Mahavir had to ask his family to live on the brink of poverty. Though the sum that came in the family was decent but not as they enjoyed for initial four years. The son retarded, mentally and physically. Mahavir's Proud son was now a burden on his shoulder. One day while watching the Olympics on the TV, Mahavir let his emotions lose for the first time. His dream was reminded to himself and he felt sorry for being helpless to achieve it. His ever supportive wife, gestured at his daughters and questioned him if his son is unable to then why can't his daughters fulfil the desires!
A big blow to the patriarchy! Wrestling by girls is an unheard thing; Females are incapable of such strengths; Women are suited for household and are masters in that sphere- The normal thinking of the 1996's thinking, especially the North Indian rural. Mahavir argued similarly and Daya kept on advising him to take a chance and see if it works out or not. Mahavir couldn't simply digest the fact of a girl wrestling. A few months later when Daya gets time, she visits her home in Johri village in Baghpat, UP. The neighbors there, the Tomars, Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, the excellent sharp shooters in their sixties were on a winning streak at shooting and earning numerous badges and trophies and titles. Daya somehow managed to arrange a meeting with those influential people to pump up the girls about their father's dream in wrestling. The grandmothers were kind enough to understand the concept, the problem and find a solution. They firstly energized the irl about sports and a life worth something for the nation and themselves for women. They then accompanied Daya and her daughters, Geeta, the eldest, and Babia and Rita the twins, to their village town and confronted Mahavir.
Initially taken aback, but Mahavir consolidated himself and understood the matter gradually. The old ladies had washed his brain off the pre-conceived notions and the under confidence in his own daughters. After a great deal of his mental tussle, he desperately, now, craved for his daughters to win what their brother was cursed not to. The spark was back. Mahavir begun to pump up the training regime back. He went hard on his daughters to bring out the best in them. He assumed a strict, merciless tyrant who happened to be their father as well. The complaints were neglected and he often repeated what his father, their grandfather had told him- rough road and potholes!
Years passed by and the training became more rigorous. A lot of hindrance and obstacles by the society, rejections and taunts- neglecting all the negativities, the wrestlers went ahead and way ahead and farther and sky high. Geeta, Babita and Rita, from small scale wrestlers in village fare to Nationals, eventually won at the 2014 Commonwelth Games in respective categories.
Geeta Phogat with a Gold Medal for her country, Babita and Rita with a silver and bronze respectively- Mahavir couldn't believe when his dream finally became a reality- it was surreal.