Lucknow: India manages to capture the headlines not only through politics, entertainment but even through sports. The year 2019 experienced massive sports buzzing as the Indian sports personalities gave their best in every field.
PV Sindhu’s twitter timeline is a breathless untiring diary of a packed calendar crisscrossing the world, meeting prominent personalities and rocking some seriously glamorous outfits. Apart from all this, the lady managed to score one of the most commanding World Championship title triumphs in August to make 2019 a memorable year. She found herself in the crosshairs of a couple of controversies while making her biggest statement for the country; winning on badminton court.
Almost every other person from around the globe swarmed in Sindhu’s timeline soon after she won the World title. It was a typically grinning Sindhu – she’s a spot of sunshine win or lose – who thanked all the celebrity congratulators with varying degrees. There were emojis of warmth and familiarity drizzled with the loves, hugs, kisses and folded hands of gratitude. Politicians of all hues, actors and musicians, bureaucrats and industrialists and consular heads in Hyderabad, cricketers and real athletes, film personalities and assorted famous personalities hailed her success on Twitter.
Then came the felicitations after the customary addition to her fleet of cars, this time gifted by the biggest name in Tollywood and the obligatory Delhi stop-over straight from Basel. It was a busy two months with pitstops at power centres on Telangana and Andhra, and further afield for Dasara in Mysore and Durga Puja in Kolkata. She made a special mention of the sports-crazy supportive state of Kerala, courtesy stories told by her volleyball playing father. In between Bathukamma celebrations (there’s a dance around the goddess who resides in flowers) and a ‘visishta puraskaram’ from an US-based foundation, was a fashion mag shoot. She traded ethnic wear for some avant garde fashion and a chariot procession in Chennai educational institution.
Sindhu had been on a greet & grin roll since her birthday in July, exchanging some warm messages with friends and fellow athletes Sania Mirza, Kidambi Srikanth (whom she’d affably promised a party and a ‘catch up for a match’) and Joshna Chinappa. There’s a Srikanth-special cross-shot that Sindhu’s out-Srikanthed Srikanth with this year on the circuit. And top of our Twitter wishlist will be a video of that promised face-off. Just as the birthday rolled off came the Worlds triumph, and it has been one emoji laden showers of blessings going right upto the extended monsoons in November.
Earlier in the summer, she’d stick to a Congratulations template for the whole week – first shooters Saurabh Chaudhary, Apurvi Chandela and Rahi Sarnobat as they won medals at Munich, and then the state’s chief minister and country’s prime minister in close succession. There were also assorted birthday wishes for the CM, PM, Sports Minister and Amitabh Bachchan – distant, formal, respectful and economic with emojis.
Perhaps Ranveer Singh’s exuberance rubs off on anyone who meets him, and Sindhu had an LOL, the laugh-till-you-cry, the wide grin, the bear hug, the ‘too good’ and lots of love emoticons bubbling through a tweet when she seemed to have met him a second time around this year. Her only frowney and flowing tears emoji was for when she was away in Malaysia and missing Ugadi, while she couldn’t resist ‘heart eyes’ when flying the LCA Tejas at the aero-show.
Sindhu tended to be most expressive when it came to her elder sister Divya and her nephew Aryan, posting long adoring fond messages on their birthdays. “Today’s extra special because you turn ONE we’ll eat cake and ice cream and have lots of fun …. It seems like just yesterday you were brand new,and now there are so many things you can do… And the best thing of all that is your life’s just begun There is no other perfect gift for a baby who has already received the wonderful gift of perfect genes. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY MARSHMALLOW
There was similar affection for her elder sister who she’s very close to, and later in the year for her soft-spoken mother.
Players don’t always handle their own social media feed – her Diwali and Christmas wishes came wrapped in sponsor videos – similar voice inflections, her understated glee and pretty outfits and all. But one suspects in a year that Sindhu’s reached the pinnacle of the World title, these personalized notes are definitely penned by her.
Infact a cryptic and contemplative note fetched up on her Insta and twitter feed at the start of 2019.
“Well I have learned a lot last year …I learned that things don’t always turn our way you planned,or the way you think they should … I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you keeping it this way and ending up saying goodbye to 2018 which has given me a lot and Entering into this new year 2019 with new moments … I wish everyone a blissful,awesome and cheerful and a happy NEW YEAR 2019
There also the not-too-popular Mile Sur Mera Tumhara re-make film with the Swachh Bharat theme, featuring Sindhu. Even the Hashtag Bharatkilaxmi, a video that also had Deepika Padukone and highlighting the work of social worker Sindhutai Sapkal, received moderate response. But what snowballed into a controversy was the “copy-pasted” tweets tagged with the Sports Minister’s own pitch for celebrating womanhood and platitudes on empowerment. These were put out by half a dozen sportswomen. They led to wretched optics and expectedly drew widespread criticism.
This incidentally came a month and half after Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had visited Sindhu calling her “youth icon who can also play an important role in bringing social change.”
Pradhan had continued in the tweet: “Suggested that she lend her voice to national missions and campaigns like #SwachchBharat, #JalShaktiAbhiyan and putting an end to single use plastic…”
Sindhu’s other tweet that conflicted many of her followers was the one where she said “justice had been served” to four men accused of rape/murder of a Hyderabad vet and shot dead by the cops later. There were many who echoed her view but there were those who found her tweet cringeworthy
Incidentally, on October 24, Sindhu had congratulated the @ TS_ She Teams, a state police initiative on completing “five years of fabulous service. Thanks to you, like any other woman in the state I feel safe and secure in Bangaru Telangana.”
The Serene start
The first half of the year though — when she had just won the year-end Tour finals and with plenty of time for the World Championships, was when Sindhu’s Twitter timeline was a sunny, serene vista of pictures on the beach and lots of sunnies and downtime at an unspecified location. She seemed to be enjoying the time off from what has been three draining seasons 2016-18, with 2018 particularly punctuated with tough finals losses, though it ended with the title.
But she would take in new experiences in 2019 – trying her hand at prone shooting at a Pune rifle range (not seen a goofier face at a 50 m range where shooters are squinting painfully at most times. Sindhu just plonked there and grinned into the camera, never mind the discarded weapon). This was with her league franchise Hyderabad Hunters. One day a delayed flight saw the squad playing Uno, next day she was at Sabarmati Ashram.
With her supermodel stature and striking looks, Sindhu would turn up at the Lakme Fashion Week and rock a little white dress with a strappy sneakers number in what was a stunning turn at the ramp. She can pull off glamour as well as she can grit, and Sindhu’s twitter and insta were full of some of the prettiest ensembles put togey on a celebrity.
The shimmery lehengaas might be the dullest of her picks, for she was impeccable whenever she stepped out. There was the burberry print sleeveless pantsuit for the pink ball test. On other days there was a fuschia tunic with grey Quillots and striped long jackets with block print lowers. And also some sweeping skirts and a bold navy blue, flaming red fusion ethnic outfit. Her timeline threw up an eclectic wardrobe, carefully accesorised and cameras catching her sharpest angles.
Even lunch with people from the American consulate ended up as a peek into a stylish bottle green number. There were pithy statements to go with the outfits:An aubergine ankle length layered dress scrunched at waist : “Keep your heels, head & standards high….”. A steely grey-green outfit to go with: Don’t change to fit the fashion,change the fashion to fit you . And a couple of enigmatic tosses in French: “Sois belle à ta faço” And “soyez simplement heureux, cela rend les gens fous #stayhappy” (Just be happy, it drives people crazy).
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