We spent 40,000 crores on the Commonwealth Games, and yet last month found me and wifey begging, grovelling and profusely apologising to the principal of school in South Delhi where we were seeking admission, for my daughter's interest in sports, and her medals and certificates in football, basketball and running. It was as though it was a serious and shameful addiction: how dare your girl actually have secret ambitions in the sports arena?
Earlier, two teachers from the school "interviewed" us: with these kind of sporting (read: shameful) activities, your daughter can never keep up with her peers in studies, we were told.
How can you think of studying for the 12th exams, if some of your energy gets diverted? She was asked.
Our defensive explanations, that we think a well-rounded individual needs to be good at sports as well as academics was scornfully brushed aside: we have seen what happens to those who are interested in sports, they do poorly at academics.
Finally, my daughter was asked to decide: if you want to get in here, forget your sports.
I was asked: what if your daughter does poorly, six months down the line?
The girl's long list of games certificates was not even given a cursory glance.
In the end, we had to give a guarantee: come what may, her academics would always be dazzling, and in no circumstances would her sports activities be allowed to come in the way. And ofcourse, there would be no question of pursuing sports when she was in the 12th standard.
After this ordeal, spread over two days, my daughter, with A grades, and the top basketball player of her previous school, was given admission to this other school.
Furious at the school, I instead lashed out at my daughter when I got home: she would have to give up most of her sports activity, and the most important thing was to ensure that she would get the top grades.
This, I guess, is the fate of most parents whose children, especially girls, participate in sports.
Is it surprising that India's ranking in world sports ( not the decadent game of cricket) is dismal? Will any amount of money, lavished at these sports extravaganzas, change the scenario? If a school in Delhi, located 500 metres from the Nehru stadium, just six months after the Games, behaves in this way, is there any hope left for sports in India's thousands of schools?
Just like maths and physics, excellence in sports needs to be recognized on the report cards, and factored into the CGPA and SGPA. That way, people who are good in sports will not be penalized and forced to give up sports.