grannies take to sports
tyagaraj sharma
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Bangalore, 5 January
Mrs Indumathi Subramaniam (68), Mrs Pramila Madhusudan (75), Mrs Rohini Gopal (76) and Mrs Bhagyalakshmi (61), were tired after practising every day for two to three hours for the last two weeks.
But they weren’t going to give up as they were determined to win the title for their team today while playing the final of what is called Lagori in south India, lingorchya in Maharashtra, pitthu in north India and satodiyu in Gujarat.
The tournament was the brainchild of Mrs Chudamani Ramachandra, president, Spoorthy Samaja and Keerthi Mahila Samaj.
She was determined to prove that women could remain active irrespective of their age. As she told The Statesman, age is  a state of mind.
They  came in all ages ~ the mothers’ category between the ages of 40 and 50.  The grandmothers’ age ranged between 51 and beyond, though the oldest members remained Rohini and Mrs Madhusudan even as the sprightly  Mrs Manjula Dhananjay, Mrs Pratibha Prakash and Mrs Indira Yadav, were not too far behind. More so as they insisted on calling themselves young even if between 60 and 70.
"Yes, it was difficult to come for the practice initially as my grandchildren were not too keen to see me running around in pants and shirt, having always seen me in a sari at home," said Rohini.
Mrs P Nagaraj (62), a regular participant in the Veterans race, however, never felt tired, as she claims, fitness has been her mantra. The practice sessions, in any case, helped many of us reduce our sugar levels, added Ratnamala Venkatesh, aged 69.
Mrs Chudamani did admit though that initially some mothers and grandmothers faced problems as their children and grandchildren were not happy to see them running around in pants.
The only way to overcome the problem, therefore, was to come to the ground for practice in a sari before changing into more suitable clothes.
"Before returning home, it was back to the traditional saris."
Mrs Manjula, one of the participants, is quick to add that in her case the in-laws and her husband have been extremely sportive.
Why did they choose to play Lagori? The idea came from the club president and almost before they knew it several women had formed teams.
Then the practice sessions began, first in the afternoons between 3 and 5.  As the D-day for the tournament neared, they were practicing twice a day.
No, they were not tired, at least while practising.
It was perhaps the enthusiasm.
Once back home, they did have body pain and aches. But the spirit remained, was the unanimous refrain.
It was this enthusiasm that had seen the club organise the first grannies’ Limited Overs cricket match in 2008 here.
Predictably, as with Lagori, the response and participation was overwhelming.
Apparently the first ever tournament of its kind in the country, it entered the Limca book of records.
It was no surprise ,then to see that many of the grandmothers who were participating in the Lagori  tournament here , were part of that cricket match.
"For me the  driving force is the all round upliftment of women as whatever the age, they can do anything, at least when it comes to sports," Mrs Chudamani said.
This time, however, Mrs Chudamani was keen to lay emphasis on "Desi games and Lagori took her
fancy. Largely played by boys, she wanted to prove that mothers and grandmothers could be equally adept at the game. No wonder then, that she was able to get her club members excited when the proposal was made. Very soon over 30 odd volunteers were ready to participate in the tournament. She is eyeing the record books again.
An immediate off-shoot of the mothers and grannies Lagori tournament, according to Mrs Bhagyalakshmi, has been “the interest our grandchildren have begun taking in outdoor activity.” 
Many of them, added her  friend, Usha, had been couch potatoes  earlier, always preferring their laptops and iPods.
"Now even they are going out to play.That is enough encouragement for us as we have become role models for them," the ladies echoed in evident pride, even as their children brought the families to cheer them today.>