Shobhaa De’s tweet (below) on how Indian athletes go to the Olympics only to take selfies, waste money and opportunity – and return empty-handed created quite the stir on social media.

Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan also slammed her, and so did India’s only individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra:


De has been trying to take her words back ever since Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu won their medals – tweeting about it graciously while also writing a column on it.

But that hasn’t really stopped the backlash it seems, because the author/columnist has now gone on and given an interview to NDTV, in which she says: 

“I am a sentimental person, when I tweet, I don’t calculate. It’s said straight from the heart. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. This time, obviously it backfired. I am being punished for it, shamed for it, trolled for it. What more is required, some sort of public penance?” she asked.

b’PV Sindhu won a historic silver.’

De also said that she tweeted out of panic that India would return empty handed: “There was absolute no malice intended. It was said out of a sense of panic, at that point it did look like we were going to come back khali haanth (empty-handed). It’s only in the last two to three days that things have turned around. Having been an athlete myself, it was said out of a sense of deep frustration.”

And then immediately after apologising, she also went to sort of defend herself, again: “Things have turned around and I am delighted to be proved wrong that that at least, if nothing else, we are coming around with two… three… four… five, whatever the final tally may be. But I am an ambitious Indian. I am not happy with a tally of two or three. This was a chance to prove ourselves. The athletes are doing their bit. When I talked about Team India, it also included babus, officials, contingent.”

It’s a tad too late though – because obviously the damage has already been done.