The Genre Painting - Mary Kom's husband
Iboyaima Laithangbam *
The adage says that behind every successful man stands a woman telling him all the time that he is wrong. In case of the world class champion Mary Kom, her husband stands by her in rains and sun extending all kinds of supports. Mary frankly says that but for the unstinted support of her husband she would have found her path to success very thorny and bumpy.
While I was talking to Mary the taciturn husband was lounging in a cosy sofa preparing the backgrounder for me. I noticed that on several occasions he halted his pitch hunt punching of the laptop to earwig my warm and cordial talks with Mary.
I was intrigued by him and his personality. Once the serious talks with Mary were over I could not help asking him who wears the pants in the house. Incidentally during my interview Mary was wearing jeans and T shirt. I especially wanted to know whether he could boss over her even during the Dutch courage. With a seraphic smile he said that Mary can use her hands only whereas he could use his legs also. Tell that to the marines, Mr Husband.
The officials and our representatatives usually latch on to the sports celebrities basically for free cheap publicity whenever they return home with laurels from abroad. But nobody is concerned about their well being, quality training, patronage and day today struggles. Laishram Sarita despite her good case is ploughing a lonely furrow.
Without going into the merits of her case she deserves support in her struggle for justice. Indications are that her cries for justice will be lost and become incoherent in the political wilderness.
Thoudam Kalpana is the lone woman judo player who brought the only medal from abroad. But when she arrived at the Indira Gandhi international airport there was nobody to accord her warm welcome with garlands despite her achievements. The country may not care for the players of Manipur. But the way she brought the only medal should not be overlooked.
Forget the officials and Ministers in Delhi who look at us with a different eye. Where were those 40,000 Manipuri students in Delhi ? Had Kalpana been a Naga tribal the entire Naga students in Delhi would have swamped the airport in their traditional dress and headgears. The Chief Minister and others would have airdashed to Delhi.
The smirking Ministers always say in the felicitation functions that the sportspersons of Manipur had brought Manipur to the national and international limelight and people know us because of their contributions. I have reservations and suggest restraints. Whenever I am about to leave for another state friends ask me to bring one bottle of the high alcohol Sekmai liquor.
Nobody has asked me to bring the boxer's glove of Mary or football of the girl footballers. The shabby treatment meted out to Kalpana was the last nail to the coffin. It must have been a shameful and pathetic sight to see Kalpana who had expected a warm reception at the airport lounge lugging her luggages and come out to flag down a taxi. Had Kalpana been from Punjab or Bihar the sky would have crumbled down.
If you come across Mary Kom at a public place you will never realise that she is a world champion boxer. She is not muscular or manly. The petite Mary could be mistaken for any college girl. To cap it all, her palms are very soft like those of all girls with whom I shook hands in life.
I had anticipated that hers would be calloused and strong like that of Arnold. With her soft hand she had knocked down girl champions from every nook and corner of the globe. She is very modest and does not speak to you from a higher dais. In fact she was bringing out tea and snacks for me from her kitchen.
Sitting next to me she kept on talking about her trials and tribulations. After docketing the non-Manipuris of all sorts separately the population of the people must be around 1.5 millions and the population of the Kom tribe is microscopic. It was a world class surprise that Mary of this tribe could crawl up to the top of the world despite the absence of all facilities including international standard coaches.
As regards foods she says that she eats everything that man takes. She says that she is an excellent cook and never trusts anyone in preparation of the tasty courses, especially while inviting some guests. Her husband furtively glanced at us.
When I met her she was merely a police Inspector. It was belated that she was promoted to the Additional SP. Okram Ibobi was not wrong when he solioquosized that one day she may become the DGP of Manipur. But then Mary deserves the highest post in the country, and not in Manipur. She had done the country proud and she is the queen of the world.
When Mary Kom is travelling elsewhere on her war expedition her husband must be busy baby sitting the twins, sending them to school and other paper works. The knot of gawpers who thronged the roads whenever she returns home with laurels signifies nothing. The curious entertainment starved people were merely out there to have a glimpse of Mary.
Nobody has contributed anything to her sports academy meant for the talented children of slender means. The politicians, the common people here are all hypocites while the leaders and officials at Delhi look at us with a dfferent eye. But despite the hostile climate Mary may realise her dream at the Olympics.
* Iboyaima Laithangbam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) . This article was webcasted on October 09, 2010.
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