IMPHAL: Those who say 'success' makes one 'arrogant' they must meet Mirabai Chanu, the Olympic medalist whose success has made even more humbler and full of humility.
Success did not come easy for this Olympian who hails from a remote village of Manipur, where even basic road connectivity is a distant dream. But when you are determined and focused with an iron heart, no bumpy rides can stop your way. A young Mirabai would often ask for a lift from truckers who would pass the main road near their village and seeing the determination and zeal to achieve something, those kind-hearted souls often used to give her lift to her training centre in Imphal. Mirabai's mother Saikhom Ongbi Tombi Devi, to date, remembers those moments when kind-hearted people like them helped her daughter reach the winning podium at the Olympics.
"I wanted to see the truckers who provided me regular lifts from home to the training centre and seek their blessing," the 26-year-old Mirabai recollected.
"They really helped me during my hard times of training. I'm looking for those sand-carrying truckers so that I can try to extend whatever the help they may require now," she added.
Mirabai's mother Saikhom Ongbi Tombi Devi who also fought along with her silent fight of struggles runs a tea stall in the village. She recollects, when the trucks coming from the Etham Moirangpurel area passed her village, they would stop for tea at her stall and often gave a lift to Mirabai.
These helpful truckers saved them the transportation money till Imphal, where her training centre is. She would then save these and used the money to provide her with a proper diet during her training days.
Mirabai's brother, Saikhom Sanatomba Meitei speaking to international media after his sister's glorious win said, "The training centre used to be 20-30 km away from our home,", told Olympics.com. "Our parents would give her Rs10-20 for her journey. The village is very small and almost everyone knows everyone else. Early morning, trucks used to leave from the market square. We would know which of them is going towards her training centre and would send her with them. She never complained about it. She would go alone every day."
It may be mentioned that Mirabai Chanu who is also the first person in-country to win the medal in weightlifting was accorded a hero's welcome when she returned home on July 27.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh lauded the national hero Mirabai and handed over a cheque of Rs1 crore, which she wants to use for helping out others like her. Mirabai is in search of those noble souls, the truck drivers who according to her are the companion to her road to success.