By Vini Bhati:
Revanna Umadevi Nagraj embarked on a journey back in 1995 in the billiards room of Karnataka Government Secretariat (KGS) Club; a journey of effort, persistence and unbridled glory. As she set out to realise her dream, life began for her at 47.
Umadevi had a very mundane existence as after the completion of her SSLC and training in typewriting, she started working as a typist for the horticulture department in 1989 at Lalbagh in Bangalore. Her passion for the game was a divine discovery as she chose to explore table tennis initially which was actively played by government staffers. Waiting endlessly amidst a bunch of people for her turn to play, the spark within her could not be suppressed as she wandered off to the nearby billiards table. She was always different as she chose to initiate something new by extending her limitations, thereby starting on an outstanding journey.
Arjuna awardee cueist Aravind Savur became her mentor at the KGS Club. Later she was trained by Jairaj, former coach of the national billiards team. It was the sheer result of her firm resolution and hard work that she won her first national championship in Ahmedabad (2002). Then there was no looking back as billiards became synonymous to living, for her. She participated in the World championships in China (2003), Netherlands (2004) and Syria (2011). She won the women’s billiards and snooker world championship at Cambridge in the UK in 2012, and reached the pinnacle of the game. The humble senior typist working with the state horticulture department made it to the top, beating seven competitors from various countries.
“If you want to see the dawn, make the sun rise, if there is no sun, make one.”
Umadevi made her own sun and created the dawn of her life by defying the age old conventions which governed the life of every sportsperson. The senior most player never let the age factor hinder her progressive journey, instead her sheer exuberance and passion translated into fantastic games which made her the queen of billiards. From an introvert, reserved senior typist to the world champion, the metamorphosis has been incredible.
“There are many things that one learns from a sport. Cue sport has primarily helped me grow as an individual. I was somebody who did my routines, and just stuck to myself. Today, the game has taken me places. I am much more confident and social”,Â she told The Hindu
Revanna Umadevi is a lustrous example of a story driven by passion which was created by the intensity of her own burning desires, giving way to a magnificent reality. The Arjuna awardee is an embodiment of a true leader as her action has inspired budding sportspersons out there to believe in them and realise their dream.
“In the confrontation between stream and rock, the stream always wins, not through strength, but by perseverance” -H .Jackson Brown