Swapna Barman, the first Indian woman to win an Asiad gold in heptathlon, is a star here

The courtyard outside Basana Barman’s house is a flurry of activity. A teenaged boy is atop the corrugated roof plucking mango leaves while a group of women huddle together on the verandah preparing offerings for worship. A table fan buzzes in front of a khaki-clad police constable seated at the gate.

“It is going to be a very special puja this time,” says Basana about the next day’s event, an annual ritual of worshipping Kali a day before Mahalaya that her family follows in Patkata, this nondescript village in Jalpaiguri district of northern West Bengal. “Four dhakis have been hired to beat the traditional drum. Everyone will come; our relatives, friends and neighbours. There will be khichuri, sweets and many other things.”

Her sister-in-law Nani joins in: “After all, this is the puja at the champion’s house,” she says, an exultant stress on the word.

The champion is Swapna Barman, Basana’s 22-year-old daughter, who became the first Indian woman to win a gold in heptathlon at the Jakarta Asian Games in August this year.

Continue reading the story in The Hindu website here.

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