KOLKATA: Asian Games gold medalists in bridge competition men's pair event, Pranab Bardhan and Shibnath Sarkar returned home here on Monday. They were welcomed by bridge enthusiasts and neighbours at Dum Dum airport upon their arrival.
Speaking to the media, 60-year-old Pranab Bardhan, the most senior Indian Asian Games gold medalist said, “This game was never a taboo in my house and my father played it with his friends every weekend. But it is a taboo in society. I hope the medal will help diminish the taboo and encourage more people to play the game as a professional. The game of cards is nothing but mathematics and logic. I had spent a lot of time reading books and learning techniques from best players through videos besides playing the game for long hours. I would advice players aspiring to represent India to train well."
On the bridge's effect on family life and vice versa, he added, "I had to tactfully make my wife and daughter understand why I was playing the game. They were a big support to me. If there is no peace of mind, one cannot play this psychological game."
Bardhan said that hearing the national anthem play after winning the game was the best feeling of his life.
On the other hand, his partner and fellow gold medalist Shibnath Sarkar said that their understanding as a pair was smooth and solid. "Every card has a meaning and conveys a message. On the table, we can't speak to one another but can convey messages through the cards," he said.
Sarkar had his share of facing the taboos when he discussed bridge with Pranab Bardhan, his bridge partner for over 20 years, over the phone for long hours. "Often people were disgusted when they heard us speak about the cards all the time but they didn't understand our dedication to the game. But my mother always stood beside me," he said.
"We hope that the Asian gold medals will bring renewed interest in bridge. For next stop Olympics, we need to work a bit harder," he added.
On the relationship between the two partners, Bardhan added, "Sibnath is like my younger brother and he respects me as elder brother.”