In a way Sania Mirza is lucky.
When she writes a stinging letter (and what a Grand Slam it is) it actually has an impact.
That’s because she is Sania Mirza. She’s a celebrity. A sports star. Even people who don’t follow tennis, have heard about Sania Mirza.
Now imagine if you are Mary Kom. You too are an Olympic medal hopeful. But you are a boxer. You come from Manipur. You are much more comfortable in Meiteilon than English or Hindi. When you walk around the streets of Delhi people think you are the Nepali help and talk ching-chong to your face.
If Sania Mirza has problems, then Mary Kom lives a crisis.
In Rahul Bhattacharya’s kickass profile for Intelligent Life (please read it in its entiretyhere), you get a glimpse of what it means to be Mary Kom, boxer, mother of two, Manipuri Christian, woman athlete.
Kom will return to shared accommodation in a hostel, where she will boil vegetables with fermented fish on her portable stove, because the mess food can leave her with indigestion. She will hand-wash her clothes, scrubbing the blood off her socks, as there is a single washing machine for an entire hostel of athletes. Two years ago, two female boxers, one a world-championship medallist, were asked to serve tea to visitors and wash up afterwards.
For the Sania Mirzas and Mary Koms of the world, achievements, titles, medals don’t mean they get to call the shots.
Sania Mirza might not get asked to serve tea and wash up but the pooh-bahs of AITA don’t think twice about using her as some kind of trophy to be handed around to its petulant aging tantrum-prone male divas still unable to get over their own break-up. As if she was the spoils of war.
Or as Mirza puts it a tad more diplomatically.
“As an Indian woman belonging to the 21st century, what I find disillusioning is the humiliating manner in which I was put up as a bait to try and pacify one of the disgruntled stalwarts of Indian tennis.”
The AITA seems to be saying, “Close your eyes and think of India, girl. And it will be love all.”
Aging male stars (whether on the sporting field or in Bollywood) will get umpteen “one more chance”s until their knees give way or the toupee slips off at an inopportune moment. But a Mary Kom will find that she has to prove herself over and over again.
Full article here