I've been given the duty of writing this week's post, and when I say given, I mean forced.
This week at 22 Nelson Street, or the DO HQ, as I like to call it, has been filled with laughter (my jokes), food (my cooking), and lots of productive work (I can't take full credit for this one).
The real reason I wanted to write this week's post for Ankita is because we interviewed Snehal Pradhan - a former international women's cricket player. Now for those of you who know Ankita well enough, you would guess that an interview on sports and it's technicalities wouldn't be as interesting as talking to an accomplished writer, a comedic genius or someone who's on their way to a L'oreal advert. But lucky for her, she gets to talk to me every day.
But for me, this interview could have taken place at 3am in the morning and I would still be completely involved in the conversation. Snehal spoke to us about many things regarding women's cricket in India. Most of them you can probably already guess and maybe even relate to - lack of scholarship schemes, lack of family support and even the lack of interest in schools and the cracks in the education system that creates roadblocks for young athletes. But for both Ankita and I, there were some big truth bombs that dropped in the room that morning.
During our research, we discovered that Mithali Raj was discovered by 'accident' because she tagged along with her brother to cricket practice. After a series of 'accidents', she ended up climbing the ladder to the international stage. Now when I spoke to Snehal about this, she replied, in a total of matter fact way with, "well, out of the 15 players in the England squad, only one didn't have a brother".
And then Ankita looked at me in the room and asked me, during the interview, "Meenal, if you didn't have an older brother, would you also be as athletic as you are now?"
Here is an exact replication of what went through my head in those 2 seconds:
"Oh my God, what kind of monster would I be if I didn't take part in any sports?"
"But, with my beautiful hair, I could have gone into modeling"
"My charisma and hilarious jokes would have taken me to Amy Poehler for sure one day"
But on a more serious note, it hit me that, I probably wouldn't be playing table-tennis, I wouldn't be playing cricket or doing all that I do if it wasn't for that one thing - having a brother figure in my life.
I'm currently reading a book, 'Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice' by Matthew Syed. I'm on the chapter which talks about how probability and statistics plays a big role in anybody's success. Would Serena Williams be the world class player that she is today if she didn't have a supporting and strong-willed father? Would Mithali Raj be the player she is today if she didn't have an older brother?
And that got me and Ankita thinking too - Would I have the luscious hair I have if my Mum didn't have access to Dabur Amla oil? Would Ankita be getting involved with Zumba at this point in her life if she hadn't been a Bharat Natyam dancer?
It's a food for thought! It might sound daunting, but I know that it's made me feel much more grateful for the opportunities I had.
Don't forget to tune into this episode, we were both at the edge of our seats during this whole conversation!