For a family which is in the jewellery business, talking about gold evinces very little interest. More so after Surendra Verma had to shut his jewellery shop some years back following huge losses. But Saturday was different. Since early morning, the only talk in the Verma household in Model Town centered around a particular gold, one that Abhishek Verma won in distant Incheon, in the men’s compound archery team event.
Over sweets and snacks and lot of dancing, the Vermas were celebrating a rare moment of happiness. “We will celebrate again tonight,” says father Surendra. “I will dance too… I did some in the morning as well.”
Sunita, the proud mother, nudges her husband to try and get an even get happier response from him. “So are you proud, your son won us medals,” she asks. “He has made us and everyone here very proud,” the father remarks, with a broad smile.
Surendra is fighting depression ever since he was forced to shut his shop in Subzi Mandi, near Ghanta Ghar. The family was then forced to move in with Sunita’s brother Dinesh at the present address. If it was not for Dinesh, Abhishek wouldn’t have entertained the idea of importing a bow and arrows, way back in 2004. The bow alone cost Rs 90,000 then. “I have done nothing. He is family and growing up he showed talent and we had to encourage him, “ Dinesh says.
Though it has been 10 years since the bow was imported, its arrival is still fresh in the minds of Abhishek’s younger brother Abhineet. “It was 1 in the night when the bow finally came home,” Abhineet recalls. “We stayed awake and just stared at it in awe.”
Ironically, for a family who have been dealing in gold, Abhishek had to wait till 2010 to get his first piece of jewellery – a gold chain.
“Hansraj College authorities awarded him with a trophy and a 10gm gold coin for his exploits. I got it melted and made him his first gold chain. I always felt bad… all others around him had one on their neck except for my son,” Sunita says.
While Abhishek was doing well in the sport, the struggles were only just beginning. “He wanted to help out financially but not getting a job was starting to hurt,” Abhineet says. That was till last year, when he joined the Income-Tax department.
In fact 2013 and 2014 have been the most productive years so far for the 25-year-old, who coached himself in the initial years, watching videos on Youtube for want of expert training. Not only had he won three gold medals at the 2013 Asian Archery Championships in Taipei, he also went on to win his first World Cup medal — a silver at the 2014 Archery World Cup, held in Wroclaw in Poland. The Arjuna followed soon after. On Saturday, he won the biggest prize of them all.
“September ninth was my birthday and he had promised me a gift. Today I have my gift,” Sunita says.