Unbreakable: The Mary Kom Autobiography

by Shreyas Kulkarni on August 21, 2014

Unbreakable by Mary Kom
Author: Mary Kom
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9789351160090
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is the queen of Indian Boxing. She has five world championship medals and an Olympic medal up her sleeve; she was the most inquired about athlete from the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014. She also has a Bollywood movie based on her which will release soon.

Doesn’t it look all warm and happy? Medals, fame and a Bollywood movie based upon you. However, only a few people know the pains Mary underwent to reach such dizzying heights of success.

M.C. Mary Kom was born to parents who themselves underwent rigorous and heart wrenching travails in life for the sake of family. Her parents were landless agricultural labourers in the state of Manipur, North East India. Her father, whom she called Apa, is perhaps the most hardworking father one can come across. He gave up schooling to help earn for the family, and then shifted from his ancestral village to provide for his wife and children.

Mary and her family had moved to Kangathei, their new adopted village. This village is the place which drilled in young Mary the traits of hard work, stubbornness and a passion to win, no matter what the cost. Mary was the eldest of her siblings, and would often be the one to take care of them in school while also lending a helping hand with the household chores.

This childhood struggle for livelihood and the toil in the agricultural fields prepared her body for the sport of boxing just as well as any fitness training might have. Boxing, one could say, was an inbuilt trait when it came to Mary; she would often fight with boys and this would help her develop her physically and mentally, it would serve her in the future when she would use her tough childhood experiences to win bouts against bigger and stronger opponents.

Boxing was a relatively new sport for women, and so, when Mary decided to become a boxer, she knew the hardships and difficulties she would come across. From diplomatically handling various boxing camps in the state to working her way up the ladder, she did it all.

We all know the financial difficulties our athletes face in India. Apart from Cricket, most sports and their athletes face ridiculous amounts of difficulties in unimaginable ways possible. Mary Kom was no different; from losing her valuables in the train to finding herself without her passport, she overcame all obstacles.

This book also sheds light on another story, the story of Mary and Onler. This story is a beautiful and simple romance. She met Onler at Delhi where he was responsible for the wellbeing and upkeep of the Kom community students in Delhi. Little did Mary know the person whom she considered as a friend, a brother, would be the man she would grow on to love and marry. Yes, just like most Indian marriages, the parents were concerned about the match, but all’s well that ends well!

Mary Kom is a mother, a world class athlete, and an Olympic medal winner, but what makes her so special is her journey which many Indians can identify with, a journey filled with toil, struggle, heartbreak and yet a journey in which she emerges victorious.

Read this book. It will show you that with hard work and humility, along with the support of loved ones, you can taste success. Women will feel particularly inspired by the story of this gritty boxer who successfully juggled a physically and mentally demanding vocation with motherhood and marriage, but all readers, irrespective of their age and gender, will close the book feeling uplifted by her story.

Connect with Mary Kom through her website. For more sports biographies, check out The Race of My Life by Milkha Singh, My Life by Brett Lee and An Autobiography by Andre Agassi.

Written by Shreyas Kulkarni

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