2012, not the end of the world
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To say that the Walmikis' standard of living has been embellished greatly of late would certainly be a rather brazen understatement. Where once stood a dilapidated and decrepit shanty, now rests a luxury-laden one-room-kitchen residence. The dishevelled house that the family inhabited for more than four decades is now finally a home. And one which is adorned with an assortement of modern amenities.
The latest indulgence arrived just a couple of months ago. A 32" inch flat-screen television. And it was bought, Yuvraj Walmiki reveals, with a specific purpose in mind. To help his family revel in the nuances of their famous ward's maiden outing on the grandest stage of them all. A high-definition access to Yuvraj—their eldest son, the one responsible for the turnaround in their fortunes—as he graces his first-ever Olympic Games.
Unfortunately though it wasn't to be. A recurring grade II tear in his hamstring and a below-par performance in the build-up to the Olympic trials meant that the 21-year-old star striker was left out of the final 15-member Indian hockey squad. The London dream had failed to materialize. And Yuvraj too has had to be content with catching the proceedings from London 2012 on his wide-screen at home. He makes no bones about the fact that missing the bus to the Olympics has easily been the most disappointing period of his young life.
"I cried throughout the opening ceremony. I wanted to be there so bad, parading along with India's greatest athletes with the tricolour flying high. I couldn't hold back my sorrow. My mother also broke down," recalls Yuvraj. And the emotional scenes at the Walmiki household were repeated as the Indian team queued up for the national anthem prior to their opening match against the Netherlands.
"Having played with the same boys and under the same coach for 30-40 matches just prior to the Olympics, it really hurt not to be there. But I did feel better when my family and everyone in my area kept telling that I should have been there. Especially when they said that I could have made a big difference to our performance in London," he says.
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