Dhaka, Bangladesh
TINKERING at rest

TINKERING at rest

Nithya could never stick to one interest as she felt discouraged soon after picking it up. Will this time be any different? "Nithya?" asked dad. "You're taking Nithya for badminton coaching? I am sure she will quit after as little as a week!" Mom did not react as there was some truth in what he said. Little Nithya had always been like this. At the age of three, Nithya joined Bharatanatyam classes. In the beginning, Nithya was enthusiastic and even practised at home, wearing those jingly anklets. But after a few days, she said, "Mom, the teacher is always partial to Sabeena, and scolds me all the time. I don't want to go." Mom had felt bad as well, and the dance classes were stopped. Dilly-dallying At six, Nithya was fascinated with roller-skating. Mom was happy to enrol her in skating classes. They promptly went shopping, and Nithya got the best pair of roller skates. Then, after two classes, she packed them back in the box and shoved it under her bed. "Skating is fun, but my ankles and feet hurt. I don't want to go anymore!" she said. Mom tried persuading her, but Nithya's response was, "All the kids push me. Moreover, sir is always on the phone!" At nine, Nithya was excited about the violin. "Mom," she said. "I want to learn music!" Mom, as usual, was enthusiastic, and had Nithya join a good music school. But, after a week's time, Nithya said that it was difficult for her to sit on the floor, on a mat in a particular way, and play the violin. She said her back and feet ached. "And then, miss scolds me if I play the notes fast!" Nithya, now 11 years old, had watched the Rio Olympics. Inspired by Sindhu, she wanted to play badminton. Mom agreed as she believed that her daughter should find her true calling, all by herself. So, off they went to buy a Yonex racquet. Nithya was enrolled in a famous badminton academy. That is when dad made the comment at the beginning of this story. On the first day of practice, mom sat in the gallery to watch Nithya. All the children were standing in a circle and practising different shots, without the shuttlecock. She saw the coach walking up to Nithya many times; it seemed like he was scolding her! 'God,' mom thought. 'So, this is going to be the end of badminton!' After about an hour's practice, they walked out towards the car. "Mom...," said Nithya. This time, mom seemed like she would lose her patience. "Now what?" she asked, trying not to shout at her little one. "You know, what sir said?" asked Nithya. "He said that I was holding the racquet properly. He asked all the kids to imitate me. He even praised me when I hit a backhand!" A few minutes on, Nithya added, "I think I won't quit badminton!" True to her words, she still continues her practice, and her game is improving slowly. The coach scolds her when she is wrong, but now, Nithya doesn't mind. "A few initial words of encouragement from the teacher and what a difference it has made!" Mom thanked him silently.

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