Yesterday Shobha De tweeted - "Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity."
When I read it I thought she might not be serious. It might be a her famous sarcasm at work. But today she declared she stands by her tweet about Indian athletes. That to me is shocking and shameful.
I am not sure if she saw the women's archery team who lost by a whisker in the quarters. They scored a 28 in their last round with scores of 10, 9 and 9 and tied the match. Ultimately they lost in a tie breaker. All the three girls have come from poor backgrounds in tribal areas. De won't even be able to pronounce their names or the places they come from. How could she? For her, India starts at Nariman Point and ends at Worli Seaface.
Did she see the men's hockey match which India lost in the last 3 seconds? They played amazing hockey against world leaders Germany. Or Abhinav Bindra who was appearing in Olympics final for the third straight time and came an agonising fourth? Did she see the dejection on his face?
Yes, we have not yet won a medal. And I would put the entire blame on the Sports Ministry rather than the athletes. With the abysmal quality of sports infrastructure and the piddly sports budgets, it is a miracle that we are able to produce the talent we do.
Abhinav Bindra won gold not because of the Sports Ministry, it is because he could afford to invest crores in his personal shooting range and gear. We produce world class cricketers because BCCI spends billions on grassroots talent and training, hosting IPL and paying cricketing talent handsomely. Let's do that to our athletes and see what happens.
Did Shobha De watch the grit of Dipa Karmakar when she boldly did a Produnova - The vault of death, to reach the finals. Produnova can break your neck or back and cause instant death. But Dipa went ahead and did it anyways. She did it for India, not for a bloody selfie.
It's Dipa's birthday today, but her coach has taken off her SIM card so that nobody disturbs her and she can focus on the finals. Even if she takes selfies, as Shobha De fears, she won't be able to post them on social media. It's not about the selfie, it's about the country.
My advice to Shobha De is this -
With so much money and literary networks and high profile contacts at your disposal I feel ashamed you produce such abysmal quality of literature in India. I dare you to try and get nominated for a Booker prize, which is the Olympics of Literature. Try doing it and you will realise how incompetent you are to even reach their first round of selection.
Our athletes are atleast better than you. They have nominated themselves on the Olympics cut offs through sheer hard work, commitment, perseverance, and talent. You have no such qualities inside you and therefore you try to compensate it with loads of sarcasm to get attention. This is the truth and somebody needs to tell this to you in no uncertain teams.
As for our athletes - I respect them and adore them. I would go ahead and take selfies with them even if they come back Khali Haath (empty handed).
Sorry for the derogatory language in the attached meme. But this exactly sums up my rage at your blatant insensitivity towards our sportsmen who are giving their heart and soul for the country in Rio.