|Institution||Johri Rifle Club, Baghpat District, Uttar Pradesh|
Defying all Social Norms
Since Dadi herself belongs to a Jat family has witnessed gender bias for decades, where women are housebound and girls are not allowed to play outside with boys. In defiance and against all odds, she decided to enroll and accompany her granddaughter Shefali to the Johri Rifle Club, Baghpat District of Uttar Pradesh for training. For the same reason, she too got into taking up Shooting. This giant bold and courageous step by Dadi has changed the perception of the Girl-child in the Tomar family and the village and is sending a clear message to the society at large.
Discovered HER Hidden Talent by chance.
She ardently admired the little girl’s training sessions, and just couldn’t control herself from picking up a Revolver and pull the Trigger. Without hesitation, she approached coach Farooq Pathan, who willingly obliged. Dadi on the first attempt was bang on target and sent the spectators into a frenzy and in fact, Dadi herself was baffled and surprised at her hidden talent. This adventurous and memorable journey began when she was 65 years and then on she was hooked to the game. The talent and skill is all in the Tomar family’s DNA with her niece Seema being the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Rifle and Pistol World Cup. Shefali being the first Girl in the family to have won a medal at the international juniors in 2006 and continues to be in the limelight. The change is clearly visible as many parents are encouraging their girls to take up some sports activity. She has trained more than 50-60 girls who have won medals at the national and international levels.
The Coach and Dadi both had a mutual desire to not only start training but to take part in competitions. The coach said, Dadi has a steady hand, a hawk’s vision, and the ultimate talent and skill. An Octogenarian, literally armed with a gun, practiced hard, mastering her aim and skills and within 6 months started her winning spree from Regional to State level and is preparing to make a mark at the Nationals. She now enjoys every moment of her training sessions and gives free coaching and lessons to the youngsters at various shooting ranges in the vicinity.
In such a conservative environment, she couldn’t expect support or rather ended up supporting others. Initially, her husband neither supported nor discouraged BUT the day she won her first tournament and continued to bring glory to the Tomar clan, everything changed and she became a role model. So many want to imitate her courage, boldness, competitive spirit and zest for life. Dadi makes time for any youngster or parent who seeks guidance and willingly shares her rich experiences and offers her valuable advice.
Young in the Mind
Dadi says “Age is all about the “Mind” and the heart, and not about numbers. If she can start at 65 then AGE is definitely meaningless. Accomplishing everything that she could, she says her life is an absolute BLISS; spending time with her five beautiful children, playing, laughing and cherishing every precious moment with her 15 awesome grandchildren; excelling at every competition, thinking young, impacting and inspiring everyone, enjoying coaching youngsters and learning from them...Enjoys her afternoon naps and boasts about her 5-6 hour peaceful and deep sleep...Pauses and grins - Where is the time to think of AGE?
Learn something NEW
In everything she does, she learns something new whether it is cooking a new dish, tending to the cows with love, watching and pruning her garden, learning about new plants, just smiling at any passer-by and say a few encouraging words, or keeping the family united by just small gestures but so important sometimes, practicing at the gallery, admire the creation of the nature, training and coaching the youngsters. Now that she travels on tournaments she has picked up a bit of English and continues to learn and has also learned a lot of social skills.
Dadi’s sincere advice
Youngsters – Be with the nature and old people, eat timely healthy meals, laugh a lot and help a little, exercise daily, pray a little, be grateful to your parents. Focus, concentrate and give your 100% and find joy in everything you do. Cultivate a habit of being useful to others in a small way as it costs nothing but brings cheer and joy around and one learns something from everyone. Don’t waste time as every second is precious and life will wither away like a flower.
Loves the Attention.
She is a celebrity and she has been featured and interviewed by almost all newspapers and TV channels and thoroughly enjoys the attention. Her kids and grandkids post her pics and videos on FB and she loves to see her LIKES and COMMENTS.
Each time she hears her name and walks up to the podium to receive the trophies and each time her girls win. Also says she had her worst and humiliating moment when she won a competition against a senior Police Officer and after she WON, he refused to be photographed with her.
There she goes – Picks up a Gun, SHOOTS, and smiles and says: As long as her hands are steady and can see clearly, she will Shoot to WIN.
Good going Dadi and May you live a 100 and even more.
Further views: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dANsqfqwRXQ