Title

× Close
Soccer success

Son of Kolkata sex worker scores goal, is selected to train with Man U

The son of a streetside snack vendor will head to Old Trafford.

Every morning, 16-year-old Arko Dey helps his mother run an eatery selling telebhajias in a cacophonous north Kolkata neighbourhood.

For hours, the mother and son fry sliced potatoes laced with gram flour paste. Some days, when sales are brisk, the cash box is full. But there are also days when very few customers turn up.

The lives of mother and son swing between hope and despair.

Last week, a tearful Dey told his mother that the family’s troubles could soon be over.

Dey has been selected to train with the U-21 team of Manchester United, the world’s most followed soccer club, and will soon be heading to Old Trafford.

It was like a street actor being selected for a part in a Hollywood film. In August, Dey had participated in the talent hunt in Goa, where he impressed Manchester United soccer school coaches.

“My mother wept,” said Dey. “We live in abject poverty. She knows nothing about Manchester United.” When she heard the news, she walked more than 5 km barefoot to pray for her son at the iconic Dakshineswar Kali temple.

Dey said his mother was shocked when told the family’s monthly earnings of Rs 2,000 is the cash required to pay for a tour of the Manchester United ground.

Dey, who does not even have a passport yet, wants to join a top Indian club on return. He wants to leave his one-room home in Baranagar that lies close to a highway where backfiring trucks and belching taxis create Kolkata’s worst traffic snarls.

“I do not want her to sell fried vegetables anymore,” he said. “I am confident of my earnings. No one ignores a footballer who has trained with Man U.”

Around the same time that Dey found a reason to dream, a similar hope emerged from the despair of Sonagachi, the north Kolkata neighbourhood that is home home to an estimated 12,000 sex workers.

Rajeeb Roy, the 16 year-old son of Rekha, a sex worker, was told by his coach of his selection to train at Man U.

“It was like a father’s recognition,” said Roy, his voice choked with emotion.

Roy said he has been praying for a breakthrough in soccer ever since he started playing as a boy.

The 16-year-old is a class IX student of Rahul Vidya Niketan in Sealdah, a school for sex worker's children organised by Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee that funds a soccer initiative among children of sex workers in West Bengal.

"I was very nervous when I met the coaches from the Manchester United. I knew I had to perform to get selected," said Roy, who helped West Bengal win the National Slum Soccer Tournament in Nagpur in 2014.

He plays as a frontliner and loves to dribble, his idol being Oscar, the fleet-footed Brazillian footballer.

He knows that, like him, Oscar also came up from poverty to make a mark.


Rajeeb Roy and (above) Arko Dey.

 
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BULLETIN BY 

Five foods that could be included in your balanced breakfast today

It has become a cliché to say that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but like all clichés there is a ring of truth to it.

Starting the day with breakfast is a simple way to make a difference to the overall well-being of an individual. In spite of the several benefits of breakfast consumption, the phenomenon of skipping breakfast is widely prevalent, especially in an urban set-up where mornings are really rushed.

The ‘India Breakfast Habits Study’ has revealed that one in four urban Indians claim to skip breakfast and about 72% skimp by having a nutritionally inadequate breakfast. Isn’t it alarming? Over the years, numerous studies have demonstrated that eating breakfast has several health benefits and can impact future health of an individual. But given today’s fast-paced life, Indians are increasingly undermining the importance of a well-balanced breakfast.

So what makes for a balanced breakfast? A balanced breakfast should consist of foods from at least three essential food groups, e.g one serve of whole grains, one serve of dairy (milk or curd) or lean proteins and one serve of fruit or vegetables. It should provide essential nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals besides energy.

Here are some nutrient-rich foods you could incorporate as part of your balanced breakfast:

1. Oats. Oats are cereal grains that are high in protein and are a great source of fibre, especially soluble fibre. Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre which has cholesterol lowering effects and therefore considered heart healthy. It also provides some minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc.

2. Barley. Barley is one of the first cultivated grains in the world, dating back nearly 13,000 years. It has the distinction of having the highest amount of dietary fibre among the cereals. Barley is chewy with a distinct nutty flavor, and is a good source of B-complex vitamins like vitamin B1, B3, B6 and biotin as well as minerals like phosphorus and manganese. Barley is also low in fat, and scientific research has shown that consumption of barley can help in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

3. Wheat. Like barley, wheat too is among the world’s oldest cultivated grains, and a source of vegetable protein. Its easy availability makes it a vital ingredient in many dishes. Whole wheat is a good source of protein and is stocked with vitamin B1, B3 and B6 making it a healthy addition to one’s diet.

4. Dried fruits. Dried fruit is fruit that has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit. Dried fruits are a good source of micronutrients and antioxidants (phenols) in general. Raisins, for example, contain iron and magnesium that are essential for normal functioning of the body.

5. Nuts. Nuts provide healthy fats, protein and fibre. They also provide vitamins and minerals and are a versatile food that can be incorporated in various recipes. Different nuts are rich in different nutrients. Almonds, for example, provide fibre, calcium and vitamin E.

Kellogg’s Muesli with nutritious grains including wheat, barley and oats and delicious inclusions such as almonds and dried fruits (grains and inclusions differ for different variants) along with milk or curd can be a tasty, nourishing breakfast and a great way to start your day. To explore delicious variants, click here.

This article was produced on behalf of Kellogg’s Muesli by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

× Close
PrevNext