Girl from pavement makes it to district basketball team

PTI| Updated: Dec 31, 2013, 13:00 PM IST

Kolkata: Despite not having got the chance to watch Michael Jordan and other US sporting stars on the telly, she has set her eyes on the moon from the non-descript shanty near railway tracks and is determined to make the state proud.

Priyanka Prasad, a 12-something girl living in the slum belt with only her grandmom and young brother for company, wakes up at dawn, goes to the local NGO-run coaching class, get back to shrub utensils and cook meal for her brother and yet never fails at her basketball practice at the Chetla Central Park grounds in the evening.

I am taunted by the people in my area, some of my `para` friends whenever I start for the practice session with my kit bags provided by `mothers` of MS Welfare Society, Priyanka, who had left Dona Ganguly`s dancing institute and has the wish to excel in sports burning within her, said.

Crediting `Laha Sir` and `Karima madam` as the two spearheads behind her growing taller under the basket on field, the tall-lissome girl said, `They taught me how to grab and chase the ball on the first day and how to dribble.`

We had first taken Priyanka to another club in the locality but despite our pleas they refused to have any child from that area in their squad. We then took her and nine other children to Central Park and we explained how these kids will be forced to take the dark alleys of life if not given a chance by society. And the balls set rolling,` Krishna Chatterjee, one of the ladies in the area running the organisaston for the underprivileged, said.

The Chetla Central Park on the contrary from the very first day were most supportive and Priyanka made them proud by making 24 Parganas district badminton team the champions in state.

I do have bananas and bread and oranges for breakfast and this has been taken care of by `Maas`. I want to be a true woman who can balance both her household, family and pursue her passion. I want to move out from the dwelling with my dida and bhai and also my para friends.

If they know about the good things of life they have never known. So they crib and make fun of me,` Priyanka, who wishes to see Koni, the sports movie on the ascent of a swimmer from humble background to national scene, said.

The girl with athletic built also says being a strong woman can be possible if she makes it big in sports which will scare away wrong-doers.