Asif Ali, a student of Aligarh Muslim University, who comes from a small town Kondotty(Kerala), a place that hardly finds a speck on the map of India . Asif is a son of a daily wage laborer who works hard to meet the expenses of his family. Yet this did not obstruct the boy to live his dream of becoming an athlete. He is the university champion in athletics for last three years.
Here are a few excerpts from between me and Asif.
Ques: – How did the journey from Kondotty to Aligarh Muslim University actually start?
Asif: – I received a call letter for my trials of athletics from Aligarh Muslim University , one fine day. I had applied for admission in B.Com through sports quota. The problem with me was that I (coming from vernacular background) had no resources to travel from Kerala to Aligarh. Its far distance you know, two days and two nights. Somehow, my friends helped me with the expenses and I could make up for the trials.
Ques: – How were the trials?
Asif: – The trial was superb. I gave my best. I had good chances to get selected, the coach informed me. However the results were not declared for long and after each passing day it was getting difficult for me to stay in the city. I made up my mind to return back but finally the results were declared and I was selected.
Ques: – Was it difficult for you to get acquainted with the place or you managed somehow?
Asif: – It was a bad experience. I didn’t know Hindi or Urdu. There was large communication gap between me and my classmates, between me and my teammates and also between me and everyone else in the city. I couldn’t make friends. I lived alone. I spent most of my time in the ground practicing. Also, I hate the food of this place. I love fish and rice (smiling). People here eat too many potatoes. There is potato in everything. I have managed to learn some Hindi here.
Ques:- are you happy with the sports facilities here in the campus ?
Asif:- yes totally ! We get every facility here. We have well maintained grounds. But we have certain sad things too. Lobbyism here is disheartening. Lobbyism in sports is not good. I have qualified three times for national meet. But I couldn’t get a chance to represent myself there. Certain students with good contacts and no sportsmanship come and ruin the trials. Even they can’t run or jump properly but they want themselves to represent in the national meet. This is not good. This simply should not happen. We are working hard day and night for the trials.
Asif has qualified three times for the national meet. He had a chance to prove his talent on a national platform. He feels sick about his luck. He never managed to attend though he wanted to. Certain students with good contacts who couldn’t even pass the trials wanted to attend the meet instead of Asif. No one could attend the meet. The administration called the tour off. Many of Asif’s friends are doing government jobs through sports quota as they’ve attended the national meet and Asif couldn’t.