Fish Curry, Keema, a Champion's Welcome: How PV Sindhu's Mom Prepared for Her Return after Gold Win
P Vijaya’s happiness knew no bounds on Sunday, when her daughter, not only won the prestigious medal for India, but also dedicated it to her as a birthday gift. Vijaya said it was a gift of a lifetime.
A video grab of P Vijaya talking to reporters after her daughter's win. (ANI Twitter)
“I will cook fish curry and keema for Sindhu when she gets home because those are her favourites dishes,” said the ace shuttler’s mother P Vijaya.
PV Sindhu, who created history by defeating Japan's Nozomi Okuhara at the BWF World Championships and won the first-ever gold for India in the tournament, will return home on Tuesday evening and preparations are in full swing to give her a champion’s welcome.
“There is a press meet, of course, and a community get together has also been organised for her. At home too, we have planned a small family gathering to celebrate,” said Vijaya.
Vijaya’s happiness knew no bounds on Sunday, when her daughter, not only won the prestigious medal for India, but also dedicated it to her as a birthday gift. "I would like to dedicate this win to my mom," said Sindhu after accepting the medal. "It's her birthday today. Thank you, Mom,” added the athlete.
When asked if she liked her daughter’s birthday present, Vijaya told News18, "It's a gift of a lifetime. It is a wonderful feeling to receive something like this as a gift from my daughter... She has always given me beautiful gifts on birthdays, be it a sari or something else. But, this is truly special.”
A mother is the epicentre of her child's powers, but Vijaya modestly claims that she deserves little credit for Sindhu's successes. “Sindhu has always been very dedicated. She is the one who decided to learn badminton and make something of herself. It's not like we did anything special for her. Sometimes, she works so hard, that as a mother I wonder how she does it,” said Vijaya.
As a child, Sindhu diligently finished her homework, before going for badminton practice, and it is this discipline and dedication that helped her, added Vijaya. However, it isn't just Sindhu who had persistently nurtured her talents. Her coach, Pullela Gopichand, and parents have been a great support system to her, over the years.
When Sindhu was young, Vijaya held a full-time job, even as she raised the children and took care of the household. While Sindhu's father, PV Ramana, drove her to practice, it was Vijaya's job to make sure that her daughter ate the right kind of food and took enough rest.
While other mothers worry that their children don’t work hard enough, Vijaya’s constant concern is that Sindhu works too hard. "I keep insisting to her to take rest, enjoy, go out for movies and hang out with her sister and cousins. I worry that if she keeps working so hard, it would take a toll on her health and make her weak. It is also important to relax,” she said.
Vijaya too was an athlete once. A volleyball player, she played for the Railways. However, back then, things were different as there were far fewer opportunities for women athletes. “Nowadays, women don’t face such discrimination. In sports, in fact, women are making it big. When I was growing up, girls weren’t even allowed to go out and play. Most of the times, getting permission to play was the hardest part. The neighbours would say, 'why is she going out and playing when she should study?” said Vijaya.
Sindhu, however, grew up in a far more progressive household as the daughter of two athletes. Sindhu's dad, PV Ramana, too was a national-level volleyball player who represented India in the 1986 Asian Games. An Arjuna awardee, Ramana, and Vijaya met while playing at various volleyball matches and tournaments, and eventually tied the knot.
When Sindhu and her sister were growing up, and Sindhu began to get more involved in her badminton career, Vijaya voluntarily quit her job, to give her complete attention. She said that nowadays, parents are very different and more accommodating, and children are lucky to have parents who are encouraging and supportive.
From changing home to quitting a job to driving for hours — they have done their bit to give Sindhu the opportunities she deserved. Even today, it is the gleaming face of her mother who announces her wins to the world. When Sindhu has a bad day on the court or brings home a silver medal (like the one from the 2016 Olympics), it is her mother who talks to reporters with a smile and says that it isn’t possible for someone to always be the best.
Unless you are a sports star or a well-known cricket player, it is hard to make a living by being a sportsperson in India, but Sindhu’s mother has always been optimistic that her daughter will have a good career. "Nowadays, it's okay to want to make a career in sports. There are more opportunities now, and of course, there are jobs in banks and other public sectors. But, you have to be educated too. Sports and studies have to be balanced equally,” said Vijaya.
As Vijaya gears up to welcome her daughter, despite her innate modesty, she is all praises for Sindhu. However, they are more about the person and less about the champion’s accomplishments. “Sindhu has dedicated most of her growing up years to badminton... She is a very family-oriented person. She is kind and very sweet-natured,” the proud mother signs off.
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