Her team-mates are confined to their homes due to coronavirus-forced lockdown but senior national women side’s midfielder Indumathi Kathiresan is busy in poilce uniform on the streets of Chennai, asking people to follow government guidelines to fight the pandemic.
Wearing the traditional ‘khaki’ uniform of the Tamil Nadu Police, along with a surgical mask over her face and a pair of gloves pulled over her hands for protection, Indumathi is barely recognisable to those stopped by her for checking at Anna Nagar in Chennai.
“It has been a difficult situation for the entire country. But taking the necessary precautions is paramount to the safety of one and all,” said Indumathi, according to the official website of All India Football Federation.
“We try to ensure that everybody is observing the guidelines and that nobody who does not need to be outside,” said the 25-year-old.
Being a footballer at the highest level, Indu, as she is fondly called by her teammates in the dressing room, is no stranger to a disciplined and regimental life.
However, the lockdown has meant that she has had to follow a rigorous routine, where she has to report for duty at 7 in the morning and has to keep patrolling the streets till almost midnight every day.
“It has been a demanding time for me personally. I have barely had the time to do anything else. In difficult times like these, you generally want to spend some time with your family, but I have not had much opportunities to do that,” she said.
“It is a call for the nation. I have to play for the nation every day during COVID-19 pandemic, and I had to respond fast.”
The creative midfielder, whose duties keep changing on a day-to-day basis, feels that the lockdown has been especially difficult for her fellow police officers.
“Our duty schedules keep changing. Sometimes we are on night duty as well, sometimes vehicle-check, and so on,” the Tamil Nadu Police Sub-Inspector said.
“Some of us like myself, have to travel long distances to our stations as well. It has been a difficult time. But I don’t have any complaints.”
Despite such difficulties, however, the 2019 SAFF Women’s Championship joint-top scorer feels a sense of honour by serving the country whichever way she can.
“Of course, it is an absolute honour to play for India. There are some moments in the India jersey, like when we qualified for the Olympic Qualifiers Round 2, or when we won the SAFF Championship last year I will never forget these moments,” she said.
“But I also take a lot of pride in serving the country in my police uniform, at a time when the nation needs us the most. I will keep serving as long as my nation needs me to serve,” said Indumathi who won the IWL title with Sethu FC last season.
She said her toil in the police uniform during this health crisis will help people understand the importance of taking the necessary precautions in order to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
“It is for the people of this country that my colleagues and myself are working day and night. We hope that you too, in turn, would help us out by following the safety precautions and keeping yourself safe.”