Her parents are poor jhum ( and slash-and-burn ) cultivators, living hand to mouth.
But since her hockey skills blossomed and fetched her a place in the national squad, Lalremsiami Hmar’s family fortunes have looked up.
They live in a decent house and are looking up to a better one.
Mizoram government’s Rs 25 lakh grant to Lalremsiami after she made it to India’s World Cup squad in 2018 has helped the family buy new land and built a new house, part of which may be rented out for a safe line of income.
At the Asian Games that followed, she became the first sportsperson from Mizoram to win an Asian medal after India won the silver.
For states in India’s northeast , where there is no tradition of cricket and so no chance of instant big money, the only way to ensure a decent future is to slog it out in sports like football and hockey, boxing or weightlifting.
Mizoram is already a football powerhouse and one remembers the state’s great boxer Zoramthanga ( the chief minister’s namesake).
But Lalremsiami , who turned 21 in March, is the first hockey star to make it big on the national stage.
” We are so tense, we hope India gets a gold in this Olympics,” said Lalremsiami’s sister Lalhmunsiami, as her mother chopped vegetables for dinner.
The family had just finished watching the match on TV , happy India scraped past a powerful Australia by a solitary goal.
” I hope my sister scores in the semi-finals or the finals if the team makes it. An Olympic medal would be great to have in this house,” Lalhmunsiami told IANS.