“I would rather go when people ask me ‘why’ rather than ‘when’.” It is a statement of supreme self-awareness, the kind that Sania Mirza has shown throughout her career as one of India’s best and strongest sportspersons.
Also read: Sania Mirza: An Indian icon exits the stage
Earlier this week, Mirza played her last match in Dubai and retired from professional tennis 20 years after she went pro. At 36, playing with injuries and returning after a break to have a child, she is still the highest-ranked Indian in women’s doubles. Last month, at the Australian Open, she made it to the final of the mixed doubles and played the kind of strong, clean tennis that marked her career as remarkable from the start.
Her struggles haven’t been on court alone, as we all know and as our cover story details. Her gender and religion have meant that every move was scrutinised and judged in ways that male sportspersons will never have to endure. Few sportspersons have been forced to prove their dedication to the game and to their country as often as she has. “I would like people to remember that this girl fought for the right things. She believed in herself when nobody else did,” she told ESPN recently. The same strength and self-awareness is on display when she tells Lounge columnist Rohit Brijnath that she is going to miss that moment on court when she knows “I’m better than the other people”. She is, in a word, an icon.
Striking a similar note, designer and businessperson Anita Dongre discusses her quiet, “stubborn” path to success and the choice she has made to build her brand and business by opening more stores rather than holding ramp shows in fashion capitals. This week, we also have an interview with the perceptive film-maker Sarvnik Kaur, whose documentary Against The Tide premiered at Sundance 2023, as well as an exploration of the films on India that were shown at the recent Rotterdam film festival. And as always, we have a selection of the best books, films and food to get you through the weekend and the week ahead.
Write to the Lounge editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also read: It’s pointless to go back to the past with a red pen