Saina Nehwal on Mother’s Day: My mum gives me tremendous confidence, she knows I can achieve more
On Mother’s Day, Badminton star Saina Nehwal and her mother Usha Rani give us a peek into their friendship; talk about their little fights over the AC temperature, sharing the same bed and watching movies when Saina gets time off from her game.
There is something about Saina Nehwal that raises hope among Indians every time the Badminton ace steps on the court. The 28-year-old, who won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth games after battling a long knee injury, credits her mother, Usha Rani, for keeping her motivated, no matter how difficult the situation. On Mother’s Day, the mother-daughter tell us about their little fights over the AC temperature, watching movies together, and sharing the same bed.
“More than my dad, she is my main force and keeps me going with her constant motivational talks and encouragement. You need someone who you can confide in. For me, it’s my mother. I tell her everything, starting from what is making me happy or bothering me. I’ve all my emotional talks with her, I am closest to her,” smiles the Arjuna awardee. Saina’s mother was also a Badminton player who represented Haryana. As a child, the shuttler would watch her mother play and sometimes laughed while watching her in action. Later, Saina’s elder sister, Abu Chandranshu Nehwal chose Volleyball, and Saina took up her mother’s dream — to become a National level Badminton player.
“My mother tells me that if others are doing it, then you can also do it. The confidence she gives me is tremendous and helps me face all the tough players,” says Saina.
Talking about how her dream for Saina was born, Usha says, “Abu used to get beaten up by the children in the neighbourhood. Aur who bahut sehmi si ho gayi thi . She started playing Volleyball but asthma did not allow her to progress too far. So, I always wanted my second daughter to be strong, and she is. Meri beti bahut cool hai,” she laughs.
The two are so close that they still share the same bed, and often argue over the air-conditioner. That’s how the conversation goes: Saina says, ‘Mummy AC mat chalao’, what if I catch a cold?’ And her mother says, ‘Thoda chala letey hain’. And every time Saina gives in. For Saina, meeting expectations, at times, is difficult. But, Saina’s mother helps her stay calm. What does she tell Saina when she wins? “Mummy knows that I can improve and achieve a lot more. She says, ‘I know it’s not easy, but I also know that you can do it’,” she adds. And when she loses? “She says,‘It’s ok, let’s start preparing for your next match.”
And what do they do when they are not talking badminton? “We watch TV and films. Hamare nok-jhok sabki tarah hi hain. Saina ko mere haath ka choley-puri, paranthe, methi-aloo bahut pasand hai. Kabhi kabhi mujhe aisa lagta hain ki woh jab shaadi kar ke chali jayegi toh main kaise rahungi,” says Usha.
“My parents made me what I’m today. They’ve put me in such a beautiful field. Without them, I could have never possibly served my country in whatever little way I am doing now. Proud to be their daughter,” smiles Saina.
Interact with Shreya Mukherjee on Twitter/ @Shreya_MJ