KOLKATA: Life may have changed for her in the last two decades, but for mother of a 11-year-old Anindita Chakraborty table tennis has always remained permanent, especially after winning the senior national women's team title at the age of 39.
Anindita, who will turn 40 in April, defeated opponents almost half of her age in the just-concluded senior Nationals in Haryana to help Bengal win the title for the first time since 1997 season which was held in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Being young, they're extremely fast and agile. You need to be at your toes to keep up with them but we did well and we won the tournament without dropping a game," a beaming Anindita told PTI after returning from Manesar.
"Some of them would be curious and come near me asking to learn the tricks of the game. It was really a great experience.
"My first title in Kolkata in 1993, when Bengal won for the first time since 1972 will always remain special but this will rank closer," Anindita, who later won for Bengal in Jamshedpur in 1994 and 1997, said.
From getting married in 2000 to giving birth to Akshita in 2005, there were times when she thought of quitting the game but it's her employers, South-Eastern Railway that kept her going as she annexed her seventh Naitonal team title, that included thrice with the Railways (1995-96 and 1998 seasons).
Now Akshita, who is in standard six at the Ashok Hall Girls Higher Secondary School, keeps pushing her mother to go for more.
"She pushes me a lot as her interest in the sport is really motivating," she said. It was not only her game, but her daughter's final assessment back here in Kolkata that kept her on toes.
"We would discuss not only matches but about her studies at the end of every match. I don't have any personal goal but it's the passion for the sport that keeps me going," Anindita said.
"I feel privileged to play alongside a bunch of talented girls. It's really hard for me to stay fit but my trainer works a lot with me," Anindita, now a coach and selector, added.
She further thanked her parents, in-laws and a supportive husband, a businessman for contributing in her success. "I also received a huge support from my family. My parents came and stayed here so that my practice was not hampered in the build-up to the Nationals.
Anindita said six-time national champion Poulami Ghatak inspired her with a superlative show in the recently-concluded nationals. "Poulami had a one-year layoff in 2015 as she gave birth to a boy in October and on her return she made the (women's singles) final. It's really inspiring," she said.
Asked whether she aspire to play alongside her daughter at competitive level one-day, Anindita said: "You never know. She is keen to take up the sport. I am in search of practice venue for her.
"As they say, age is just a number," she signed off.