The 'Chilly' you had not tasted till now

Midway through the nerve-racking final when Rathore, better known as "Chilly" was busting the clay targets, Gayatri pleaded: "Please, I need your prayers as well."
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Updated on Aug 18, 2004 12:52 AM IST
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PTI | By S Kannan, New Delhi

It was agony and then ecstasy for Major Rathore's family at his Delhi Cantt residence on Tuesday.

The strike by cable TV operators meant his wife Gayatri, kids Manav Aditya and Bhagyashree and mother Manju had to rely on SMS and phone calls to keep track of what was happening.

Midway through the nerve-racking final when Rathore, better known as "Chilly" was busting the clay targets, Gayatri pleaded: "Please, I need your prayers as well, it's not enough for just the family to be doing it."

In minutes, when the medal was won, Gayatri was emotional but hid it well. "I think Chilly has worked hard and deserves this medal. It's not a medal just for us, it's for the whole nation," she said, even as she asked the domestic help to ensure the supply of mithai and soft drinks did not stop.

"Yeh sab ishwar ki kripa hai," said his mother. "His efforts have borne fruit and I was very tense." Adding to the tension were several TV crews and the print media, each wanting a valuable byte.

Manav Aditya and his sister didn't know what was happening. They haven't seen their dad in a long while and knew this was big. Sitting on Gayatri’s lap and wearing an Athens Olympics T-shirt, when Manav, affectionately called Milo, was asked how he felt, pat came the reply: "Feels nice." Smart words from a five-year-old!

Last September, when Rathore won bronze at the World Championship in Nicosia, not many knew what double trap was. And even today, not many really know what this sport is about.

But this is not the time to look into these technical details. All we know is that an Indian has finally trapped an Olympic silver medal, something that was just a dream till yesterday.

I expected gold: Rathore Sr

Jaipur: The calm face betrayed no emotion. But the sparkling eyes of the proud father gleamed with the joy of an entire nation. "I was expecting gold," Col Lakshman Singh Rathore said.

Rathore’s aunt Ranjana and grandmother Malati Devi were there. "I was scared, thinking my child was lonely in his fight with the entire world. But some power helped him," said the octogenarian grandma. Prayers were not the only thing, Col Singh said. "Chilly worked very hard. This moment was his dream, his mission.”

It runs in the family. "We are from Garabdesar village in Bikaner, the city that gave India Karni Singh. Our entire family are experts with the shotgun." (HTC)

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