NEW DELHI While sports activities are yet to get back to normal, India women's football team forward Anju Tamang, along with her family, is happily wielding the sickle in her agriculture field in the foothills of the Himalayas in Bengal.
Anju has a busy schedule during the days as she combines football practice/training with helping her family out in their paddy fields in the small village of Rangalibazna, south of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal.
"I used to do this a lot when I was a kid. But that is not so much the case nowadays as I often have to travel to different places for tournaments or matches. But this year, I have got the opportunity [due to the Covid-19 pandemic] to come back home during this season, and I'm more than happy to help out in the field," Anju Tamang said.
Agriculture is the family vocation, but Anju opted for a different path - football. Still, whenever she is at home during she lends a helping hand. In the good old life of the village household, the entire family business is divided amongst the different members of the family.
"When it comes to reaping the harvest, it's the women who do it. So it's generally my mother and sister-in-law who wield the sickle during the harvesting season. I join them in this activity whenever I am home during this season," Anju told aiff.com
The men of the family are more involved in the work that needs to go in, after the harvesting of the paddy crop is done.
"Once all the crop is harvested, my father and brother get into action, starting the drying process before separating the grains from the plant. Just like football, this is a team effort as well," said Anju, laughingly.
A day in the life of Anju starts early as she sets off for an early morning training session with a few local players. A quick breakfast follows the practice session, before she joins her mother and sister-in-law on the paddy fields.
"A lot of players worry about losing fitness when they go back home. But that is not the case for me. We have to do a lot of farm work, and that keeps you fit in itself," said Anju.
The three women come in for a brief lunch before hitting the fields with their sickles again. Once the clock chimes four in the afternoon, Anju quickly wraps up her sickle and heads off for another training session, before finally turning in for the day.
"It's hard work and you are left drained at the end of every day, but it's so much fun. These days I don't always get the time to come back and help my family out, but it's so good to be able to do this," she said. IANS