Saturday, August 18, 2007

Two Daughters

While Indian bowlers are recovering from their periodic AABNAB stress syndromes triggered by yet another traumatic -- also rather stupid and gutless, if you ask me -- no-confidence vote, non-cricketers keep wondering why they do not even get invited to any wedding parties. They are like the widows whose shadows would spell a curse on auspicious weddings to sponsors, endorsements or fanfare. Silently slipping under all radars, Dola Banerjee has become a world champion and Koneru Humpy is on the verge of becoming the second woman after Judit Polgar to achieve super-grandmasterdom. Like lovers spurned, they are used to feeling ignored. But it must still hurt a little.

Hurt which Manipuri ace archer and warrior princess Chitrangada who had been raised as a man experienced when Arjuna turned her advances down on the pretext of asceticism. In reality, he was just not that into her. At least not until she went to Madana's Makeover consulting firm and transformed herself. Immediately after Dola lamented in a 2005 TOI interview that in spite of winning tons of international medals and ranking in top five of the world, no archer had won the Arjuna award in over a decade, she finally got her man. It is indeed hard to determine whether interviewing with TOI is a more humiliating experience than taking help of Madana. But the fact that someone does read TOI is reassuring and all is fair in love and war. Yes, even a decision to move from Baranagore to Jharkhand.

Or hurt that Mondodari must have felt when Ravana ran after Sita. Was Ravana, a brilliant and brave man, also a patzer? Did he feel emasculated when in spite of possessing a massively parallel 10-CPU system, he lost to his wife who had invented the most beautiful game? Was the epic war that followed merely his attempt to regain his wife's respect? We will never know. Humpy was not raised as a man, but she has always enjoyed beating men over chess boards. With no woman, except Judit, left in the world who can give her a decent fight, she does not have much of an option either. And it is not something that is entirely new to her. In 2002, she became the youngest woman to win "men's" GM title and she did that right after winning the national "boys" under-14 title.

Yes, I am aware of the third daughter who is sneaking into top 30. But unlike Monimalika, she has not been deprived of global fame. Quite the contrary. Even the lethargic, but ever amorous Arjuna discovered her a year before he found time for a fellow-archer. With looks and attitude that Madana's Makeover can only dream of and a very wicked forehand, she, unlike our bowlers, archers and pawn-pushers, is giving our batsmen a run for their money.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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