Naasira: breaking the stereotypes

Naasira: breaking the stereotypes

Following belief

Naasira Mohammed is the media manager of West Indies' men's cricket team.

Naasira Mohammed is a lesson for people who typecast women.

Sporting a hijab and greeting journalists with a warm smile, Naasira essays the role of the media manager of the West Indies men’s cricket team with ease. The 33-year-old, who hails from Trinidad, is the only woman in the squad but being the ‘odd’ one out isn’t new to her.

“When I worked as a reporter for the Trinidad & Tobago TV channel four years ago, many strangers, including women, came up to me and questioned my choice. I was the only full-time woman journalist in Trinidad. Many women were afraid to take a chance. I told them ‘if you want something then keep knocking the door of opportunity,’” she recollects.

A cricket-loving family isn’t a rare phenomenon in her part of the world. But what’s unique in her case is the passion for the sport among women in her house. A strong family backing has helped her make decisions that have shaped her future. It helped Naasira that there weren’t people with conservative outlooks in her household -- be it playing for the college cricket team or pursuing a course in journalism.

“I was born for cricket,” she stresses. “My aunts and grandmothers were huge fans of the game and as a kid, I would watch matches with them on television. I still remember being thrilled for my first ever match at the stadium. It was at the Queen’s Park Oval and I was there with my aunts to watch a Test between England and the West Indies,” she says.

Naasira never doubts her choices. Wearing a hijab, for example, was a personal decision. “The hijab is a part of me. My work is a part of me. No one component outweighs the other. It’s all about being free to choose what you want. My mother doesn’t wear it. It’s about doing what’s fulfilling to you,” she offers.

In India, Naasira has had interesting experiences. “I had only read about India’s love for cricket. But at Guwahati, after the first ODI, a huge crowd waited outside the stadium in the night to get a glimpse of the West Indies players as we were leaving in the team bus. It was overwhelming.

“On a couple of occasions, perhaps because I was a woman, people looked past me and tried talking to the players. They took a while to acknowledge my role. But overall, I have had a great time here,” she says.

It’s just not the people’s love for the game that’s amazed Naasira. You sense the added excitement in her voice when she talks about Hindi films and Bollywood music.     

“I have lost count on how many times I have watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,” she says. “I love Bollywood songs.”

Even the Indian festivals are special for her. “I can’t wait to celebrate Diwali with the Hindu families back home,” she says excited.