Mayanti Langer, a name that has inspired so much that Jaanhavi Mahendru decided to opt for sports journalism. We got an opportunity to see Jaanhavi’s commendable work in current IPL and had a quick word with her. Here is an abstract of the discussion she had with Anurag Rastogi :
Anurag: How did you come this far and how did you get interested in cricket?
Jaanhavi: When I was in class 9th, I thought of starting SPORTS JOURNALISM as my career, I saw Mayanti Langer, after Mandira Bedi she was the second lady to enter the sporting industry and cover (INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE), I was so impressed with her, a female establishing herself in a very male dominant field was quite rare and bold. People are used to hear the male commentary and listen to male cricketers, most of the time opinions of women are usually not valued. So, I thought of turning my passion into a profession and started watching cricket and learning the minute details of the game. My inspiration was always Mayanti Langer, so looking at her I decided to come into this profession and achieve something in the media industry of sports.
Anurag: Your life changing moment that made it all possible.
Jaanhavi: For me, my life changing moment was, when for the very first time Mayanti Langer sent me a message. That was the most amazing moment for me. It is like, since childhood you have looked up to someone who is already an established person of your dream career and you have always thought of making yourself like her and you get a reply from that person woosh! so I printed that conversation and pasted that on my cricket notebook.
Second moment was when Mumbai Indian’s my favourite IPL franchise called me in their live and I did live session for them.
Anurag: Any suggestions for your peers
Jaanhavi: I have not yet reached the point where I can give messages or advice, but one thing I do know is that it does not matter whether you have a bold look or wear a tube top, saree, Kurta, or mini skirt, how your hair looks or whether you show off your skin; what matters is your knowledge of the game and your confidence in front of the male commentators. I study cricket, analyze matches, report about it, fill registers, read articles, and create blogs because I want to pursue cricket journalism as a profession. When brains speak beauty has no role, this is what I feel and by implementing this mentality females will not be conceptualized as mere objects to gain TRP and attract viewership, but they will be respected.
Anurag: Share your experience about sharing the platform with Mandira Bedi
Jaanhavi: I am working with Yorked Media run by Chetan Narula, covering IPL for them and in one of the episodes I shared screen with Mandira Bedi.
Experience with Mandira Bedi was invaluable, the first women who started cricket commentating and achieved wonders. A lot of them are not aware of the fact that she shared the amount she received from her first pay to the women’s cricket team of India to uplift it. Someone who encourages women in all ways.
Male respecting females is good, but women uplifting each other is also important, said, MANDIRA BEDI. The one piece of advice she gave was to always conquer your dreams and always promote WOMEN when in such fields. “It was so nice to see such budding cricket journalist” was her comment and it was the biggest complement for me to get it from someone who has achieved so much in her profession. She also praised me for taking this hard step of coming into this field. Overall, the experience was beyond my expectation, felt on top of the world.
Anurag: What is your future in encouraging sports industry in India.
Jaanhavi: My dream is not only to become a sports journalist but if inshallah I get established in this field then I will aim to open a university with government affiliations. When I say this, it means I will get BCCI, Hockey Federation, Sports Authority of India and many more boards like these involved with my university. I will try to involve most of the sporting brands and high authorities to add educational value to the sporting industry. There are lots of courses in sports, like journalism, therapy, science and many more but people vary to several outlets of information to pursue career in sports as there are no such courses in India. There is a lot of work and scope in India for the industry but needs proper backing.
Many times, it becomes awkward for a female in such domain. I will tell an incident, I was covering Ranji Trophy it was Himanchal vs Uttar Pradesh, and I was the only female photographer shooting for the match and not even one person on the ground, who was of my gender. There were only males around, but I told to myself that it is my profession, and I must do it. ‘’ There were a lot of eyes on me, it was not easy being a girl to play that job role. One needs to hold their dignity and boldness and conquer their profession.’ It is said that where there is a will, there is a way. ‘’Always be straightforward and honest not many people might like you this way, but they will respect you.’