Never Had Money To Train Myself, Today I Coach Youth: Sports-Wonder Mohua Mishra
And one such life-story is that of Mohua Mishra. But before you read this article, here's a recent post she made on the SHEROES APP.
Native of a tiny hamlet in Burdwan near Kolkata, West Bengal...Mohua tells me that this post went viral on the app! And became one of the top posts that month.
She laughs, "You know, my English isn't good and the fake world of Social Media has taught me that people judge the book only by the cover! So, but obviously, I was too hesitant to post this on social media. I was aware about SHEROES as well as the great work the team does. But my confidence to post this image, came from other posts that I read on the App. I saw women writing in Hinglish as well. Facebook and Twitter are two different worlds where she has seen only ENGLISH posts get the right kind of response. So the first thing I wrote was 'My English isn't good! Ha ha ha...." Mohua leaves me in splits and she resumes after we both are done, "And within few hours the post went viral and even became the top post at SHEROES. And post that interview offers came pouring in. That was one of the best times of my life."
And I was wondering, "In this materialistic world, Mohua found one of her best pleasures in such a simple thing. What's the story behind this simpleton?"
The story is sad, yet sheer inspirational stuff. The 30-year-old Mohua was born as the second daughter to a sportsman father and simpleton mother. A father who raised her daughters like sons. But Mohua wasn't too happy with it.
"Why should I dress up like a boy? Or be raised like a son? Or be called Beta? Why can't a daughter be a daughter, a Tigress, a woman of strength in her own way? I used to tell my father, let us be us. But he didn't," informs Mohua in a very assertive manner.
But then being a sportsperson, perhaps her father had a different view of life. And that's what somewhere stayed in her genes. "What stayed with me was the love for sports and to such an extent that I began practicing a javelin throw with my father's bamboo sticks at the age of five!" Mohua laughs again, but this time she has a sense of pride, as well as a deeper sense of pain.
The pain comes from the loss that is shattering, - the loss of the dream to be India's best athlete. The loss that comes from lack of funds to train her. Though her father began training her on his own and she became a very good athlete who could excel in not just one, but many sports. Javelin Throw and Discus Throw are the ones she made a mark and won several awards at the school level.
And the awards would fuel her dream to be a national, international sportsperson. She knew she had the mettle, the talent in her, but didn't have enough funds even for basic sports-gear or to hire a coach to train herself.
Mohua recalls, "Once I had no money to buy a sport-wear for a sports competition. I found a torn away dress at the sports-field where I used to practice. My mother helped me do some patchwork and I wore it to the event, only to win several awards. As Mohua continued, I could see emotions dwelling in my eyes. She went on, "I thought that my determination to excel would be noticed at school, among the peers. Instead, my fellow sports mates and even the coach would make fun of me and the financial difficulties I had. My school coach would even discourage me, asserting that girls were not made to be sportswomen. His words would pour into my ears like hot oil. Who was he to discourage me, if my own father never said such a thing? At times I would reprimand him, only to invite more brickbats at the sports field."
She adds," My entire focus was in trying to excel as a student in sports. But obvious, I wasn't too good in studies. In fact, my English writing and speaking skills were not up to the mark. And are still not great. And even this was a matter of mockery among my peers, so much so that I stopped meeting them beyond school premises. But such dejections only made me stronger. I used to wake up at 5 am in the morning to practice."
During this most struggle-full phase, her father stood by her like a rock. But one unfortunate day he had a heart attack and the family's entire saving went into his treatment. Mohua was in college then. And it was time for the ALL INDIA UNIVERSITY CHAMPIONSHIP. She had no funds, no proper sportswear, nothing. All she had was this pair (she calls these her LUCKY SHOES) and her determination to excel.
Mohua was declared the sixth-best athlete in India! The hole in the shoes, could not make a hole in her spirit! Infact she had rather made a hole in the Sky, from where poured unending accolades. "It was a downpour of praise in the entire village, I was the star of my college. Those who once mocked at me, used to come for a photo with me. But what didn't come to me was the financial support needed for me to pursue my dreams as an international player."
But then she didn't give up her dream. She decided to be a coach to those who could not afford.
"It was tough to pass the interview due to my poor English skills, but the awards and the talent I had did the needful. I work as a Coach- Athletics & Fitness at the prestigious Burdwan University now. And I am married to a man who has further fueled this fire to excel. But what fuels my fire more are the youth whom I train. Even if one of them is able to achieve the heights that I wanted to climb, I will feel that I have made it to the Everest!"
She fights back her tears as she informs me," My father passed away soon after my marriage. I am really proud of the fact that today due to his upbringing and the sports job I have, I am able to look after her." That's where I ask her, " But Mohua, I heard you live far off from your mother?"
"So what?" she kind of reprimands me, " I wake up at 5 am to do household chores. By 7 am I leave for my mom's house. I have breakfast with her and then I leave for my job at the University. I train the students till late evening. And return home by 10 pm. And the cycle goes on. My parents never left me burning the midnight-lamp alone. So how can I leave my mother alone? We always have enough time for our near and dear ones, we just drown it in excuses."
Her last lines feel like a slam at me, since I have failed to meet Mom in last two weeks. She lives just 20 km away! And while talking to her, I am reprimanding myself!
So what next Mohua? How can we at SHEROES help you?
"Mahima Mam, I can feel you getting emotional. Don't be. No one, not even you might have succeeded without struggles right? I had never imagined that my life story will one day inspire others. That's enough for me, thank you and SHEROES. In terms of what next? Hmmm...my aim is to train as a Coach by taking up a proper Coaching Course. And for that I will save money, I want no help from anyone. And soon I will call you to inform that I have taken the admission," the determination in Mohua's voice is pretty infectious, I tell you.
Now let me let reveal you a hidden side of Mohua. This iron lady is an avid photographer as well. And she leaves us with this amazing photograph and her parting quote, "I know it is tough to collect dew, but nothing is impossible if the determination is strong!"
I am sure you are as inspired as me after reading Mohua's life story. So don't forget to share it with others. Who knows, you might end up uplifting a broken soul.
P*****This really very inspirational 😘....