This is the extraordinary story of 600 ordinary women, who were defined by their roles as wives, mothers and homemakers, and the dynamic woman who inspired them to find their groove. And find themselves they did — by playing cricket.
On January 12, 2008, these women divided themselves into Mothers (under 45) and Grannies (under 75), selected teams, appointed captains, underwent a month-long training regimen, donned their whites and played against Mothers and Grannies of a sister club. Some had athletic backgrounds, others were shy women who had never held a bat or ball in their lives but nevertheless fought spiritedly for the Spoorthi Cup.
The U-45 team lost the 16-over match, but the U-75 team won. And all the women bagged a mention in the Limca Book of Records for being the first women in Karnataka to have ever played such a match. But for each of the women, it was an internal battle won: they proved they had it in them to do something for themselves, by themselves.
Bharathi Krishnappa, a throwball captain during her student days and still an avid badminton player, took up cricket for the first time when she donned the captain’s cap for the Mothers’ team. Recalling the match, she cannot stop talking about the support she got from her team and the coach.
Her friend of over 30 years, Usha Shekhar had no sports background and took up the challenge to face her fears. “I was an introvert and suffered from stage fright; but after that match, I have really changed,” she says.
She is a now a familiar sight in all the club’s programmes, brimming with newfound confidence.
‘Soul and whole’
What began as a congregation of 30 women in 1988 as a brainchild of Choodamani Ramachandra, whom the members call their “soul and whole”, is today a 600-strong fellowship called the Spoorthi Mahila Samaj in Hanumanthnagar.
Ms. Ramachandra and her sister, with four “other sisters”, began the club simply to get women together and do something. “The ideas just came along,” she says in between compering a show showcasing friendship called “Jothe Jotheyalli”.
“Our club is quite a trendsetter,” says the founder-president, describing varied activities in the fields of social work, personality development, culture and sports.
When Ms. Ramachandra moved houses, she set up the sister club, Keerthi Mahila Samaj in Uttarahalli, whose membership has jumped to 300 in just four years.
“I believe there is a special spark in every woman,” she says as she introduces each member and names a special talent, like “she can do the catwalk like a dream,” or “she is stepping on the stage for the first time today”.