To Joshna Chinappa life is about racquets and bouquets
The wooden floor of the squash courts at the Madras Cricket Club rises to meet Joshna Chinappa's footsteps in a familiar greeting. All of nine years when she first played at this facility, she has since bounced numerous balls off its walls. As her father, Anjan Chinappa, is an inter-club squash player of repute, Joshna got swept into a clique comprising kids of squash-playing MCC membersIt is, therefore, surprising that 24-year-old Joshna regrets not having had enough squash in her childhood. She explains that in Western countries, coaching begins at six, and before long, the kids enter competitive squash. But Joshna does not feel the disadvantage of a late start while playing on the domestic circuit.
With eight women's national titles, six of which came on the trot, she is the undisputed queen of women's squash. In all modesty, the reigning national champion says: “Most of the girls are younger and handicapped by their inexperience. Dipika Pallikal is an exception. When I play Dipika, I can't relax my concentration without inviting disaster.”
A month ago, she rose to her highest world ranking — 32. “I have since slipped to 33,” reveals Joshna with a hint of regret. She adds with an air of determination: “Next year is big. There is the Commonwealth Games and also the Asian Games.”
Most part of her day is consumed by working out at the gym, yoga and squash practice. She idolises P.T. Usha, the epitome of fitness. “The only time I met her I was so awe-struck that my lips did not move,” laughs Joshna. “The only other person who left me speechless was Sunil Dutt (the late actor-politician and father of actor Sanjay Dutt).” Apart from trying to master painting (under artist Ilango), she has denied herself any major diversion.
She removed herself from Facebook once she found social-networking pointless. “I am in touch with my circle of friends through either phone or e-mail.” When Indian squash players train or play outside the country, they stay together.PRINCE FREDERICK