Football is the answer – Part 2

19 year old Anish “Neymar” is a rising role model in “Little Brazil” of Bengaluru.

Austin Town is a lower income neighbourhood with a rich and long history of football. A statue of Pele stands tall in the center and along the nearby Ulsoor lake, even before the beautiful gurudwara was built, there lay a playground that raised the first Indian Olympians to contemporary football greats.

Life isn’t always stable here. The youth turn to Football for answers. For Anish and his buddies Manoj ‘CR7’, Nandha ‘Neymar’, Manoj ‘Marcelo’, Appu ‘Xavi’, Noel ‘Neymar’ and Surya ‘Messi’ these outdoor spaces are where lessons are learnt in between the lines and applied to everyday life. Their passport to college, livelihood, community and respite from social inequalities.

Everyone here knows Anish breathes, walks, talks and lives Football and they show up for him as a whole! The leader – Shukla Bose of Parikrama Center for Learning, Coaches Shiva, Ravi, Andrew and Gopal Anna back Anish’s dreams to represent in National and International teams – he already plays Division A, pegged on the star track, so it’s only a matter of time, they believe.

The admiration is mutual. Anish emulates his coaches – he declines the more stable paying side jobs in call centers or food delivery to coach younger kids instead.

“The kids look up to me. I feel a responsibility,” Anish says. “There is something about following the heart, it might not fill my stomach always or fully, but it is very satisfying.”

Thank you & more power to you Anish – Student, Footballer, Junior Coach

Contributed by: Anish | Location: Bengaluru, India

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