Hima Das sounds emotional as she talks about the Covid-19 crisis engulfing the country, and the world. Having extended a helping hand already, Das says, “The level where I’ve reached today is all because of the wishes and support of my countrymen. It is my duty to help my people when they need me.”
The 20-year-old sprinter, who was one of the first few athletes to donate her one month’s salary to the Covid-19 cause, believes “in Karma” and says she “couldn’t have waited for others to start”.
She adds, “The day I got to know that this is a pandemic, I made up my mind to donate as much as possible.” Das has donated her salary to Assam Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and is also doing “some small initiatives” for her village, and is willing to do more.
Showering praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to make India corona-free, Das shares she is following the lockdown rules strictly, and she urges everyone to do the same.
“As directed by our PM about the lockdown, I haven’t moved out of NSNIS (Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports) campus in Patiala. Since I can’t even go out to train, so I am utilising my time to rediscover my old hobbies. I post those videos/ photos hoping to motivate as many as I can to stay positive,” she adds.
Das, who has shot for awareness videos for both the Assam and central government, has expressed dismay over stone pelting incidents that have come to light. “I was hurt when I saw people not following the lockdown, and instead pelting stones at doctors and policemen. I mentioned the same to the PM during our video conference.”
She points out how while a section of people are risking their lives for others, “we must act responsibly by honouring their commitment and dedication”. “I want to salute all these corona-warriors. Agar yeh warriors na ho, toh pata nahi kya hoga desh ka,” she says.
As for her fitness, Das has been consuming a balanced diet and has been doing yoga. For her entertainment, she’s watching Hindi films and painting. However, away from family, she is missing home.
“I definitely miss my family but it’s a part of an athlete’s life. In a year, you hardly get time to be home. I talk to them daily, and do video calls to check on them. Kuch banne ke liye kuch toh sacrifice karna padta hai,” she adds.
Das also wants to give out a message, “Mein ek athlete hoon aur yeh janti hoon ki kabhi kabhi kuch paane ke liye kuch sacrifice dene padte hain. Toh mein country ke logon ko yahi batana chahti hoon. Yeh corona ki ladai ko jeetne ke liye abhi hume sirf ghar se bahar na jane ka sacrifice karna padega… Agar hum sabhi milkar safal huay, toh hum hi yeh ladai jeetenge… Please wear masks and maintain social distancing in case you step out for emergency.”