For international football player Madhu Kumari, it's a tale of so near yet so far.
A job at the twilight of her career would have been a just reward for her efforts.
But despite having the requisite qualification she was deprived of it due to no fault of hers.
Madhu, who represented the Indian women's football team from 1999 to 2007 and was its vice-captain in Asia Cup qualifiers three years ago, had applied for a class III job offered under the sports quota by the state government recently.
In the women's football category, she topped the list and was followed by nine others. They were fighting for three vacancies.
But as luck would have it, all the women football applicants were ignored following confusion over the legitimacy of some players' certificates.
Those featuring on the second, third and fourth positions carried certificates of the now-defunct Women's Football Association of India but were put on the merit list above two players holding certificates of All India Football Federation (AIFF), which is the apex body and now governs both the men's and women's football in India.
The AIFF footballers protested but unfortunately everyone, including Madhu, was ignored.
"My name was not there. I was shocked", she said. “I was told there were objections raised by some applicants on the authority of the certificates submitted by the players. No one lodged complaint against my credentials but they still ignored me. All they said was they had to follow some rules.”
Art, Culture and Youth Affairs Department secretary Vivek Kumar Singh said the department concerned had sought clarification from Indian Olympic Association and Sports Ministry on the governing body of women's football in India.
“The matter will be sorted out once we get the clarification”, he said.
Strangely, the Bihar government, which is now questioning the authenticity of AIFF-issued certificates, had felicitated Madhu for five different years in the Khel Samman Samaroh held on August 29 in Major Dhyanchand’s honour.
At the moment, Madhu has to rely on the income of her brother, who sells tea at a stall. Madhu’s father Keval Prakash was also a tea vendor.