Bandana or Boni – The Battle Continues
Incredible story of an intersex footballer from remote India who fights for identity and shelter against a ruthless society, through GT Original, narrated by Tamoghna Kundu, at Goalden Times.
The crew of Goalden Times reached Barasat, India on a warm yet somewhat pleasant June afternoon, and waited for an exclusive interview. When we saw Bandana Paul approach us, we were a bit nervous. The story demanded a good narration and mutual chemistry. Our initial nerves were quickly abandoned because Bandana mesmerized us with her panache. We slowly learnt that this trait of Bandana’s character is vital to the story – the journey of her eventful life…
It was 1981. The place Gobardanga, a small town more than 60 km away from Kolkata – the footballing capital of India. A poor man was making his ends meet through tailoring, yet remained excited while waiting for the birth of his fifth child. The poor Paul family named the new-born Bandana. Yet another girl meant that the single boy in the family was easily outnumbered by his sisters. But Bandana was more than just a run of the mill sister. Free-spirited with a penchant for sports, she used to play football, cricket and volleyball with other kids. She could run at blistering speed and had exceptional skills with the ball at her feet. Sensing her potential, some interested locals decided to train her so that one day she could reach greater heights.
In 1993, a twelve year-old Bandana came to Habra, a town 13 km from her home to get her first football kit.
“Buchu da (‘da’ is the colloquial term for an elder brother-like figure in Bengali) was my mentor from the beginning,” she reminisces “He took me to Habra that day. I still remember how we made that long journey on a bicycle.”
While honing her skills in local one-day tournaments, she was spotted by Manik Naha, a representative of Barasat Jubak Sangha, a club based in the district headquarter of Barasat. On his insistence Bandana came to the club and within a month the twelve year old impressed the coach, Kajal Rakshit, so much that he decided to sign her immediately for the Calcutta Women’s Football League. Back then, sixteen teams used to play in the league, notable ones being Itika Memorial Club, Sarojini Naidu Club and Income Tax SAC. Exceptional athletic stamina, ball control and shooting abilities with both feet – Bandana was a perfect fit to be deployed as an attacker, and she excelled at the winger position. After breaking into the playing eleven in no time at all and set on making a name for herself. She was the youngest player in the league, which made her even more popular. By the time season had finished, the twelve year old prodigy Bandana had already bagged a handful of goals.
The Glory Years
Bandana’s impressive debut season made other big clubs take notice of her. Bandana eventually signed for Itika Memorial Club, the women’s division team of the club George Telegraph, and thus got her first ever remuneration as a professional footballer. Bandana impressed everyone with her tremendous speed and powerful shots. Another successful season at the top paved her way for a state team call-up in the same year. She performed exceptionally well, cleared the trials with flying colours and got selected in the Bengal senior team. Bandana remembers the details vividly.
“I was only a 13-year-old, but still I made the 3 hour journey all alone by a local train,” she said. “It was not possible for my family members to accompany me every day, so they had to make the tough decision. Sometimes, I would also tag along neighbourhood uncles who had some work in Kolkata. But most days I was alone, though I didn’t mind. The fact that I was going to play football and represent my home state motivated me beyond anything.”
In 1994/95, the third edition of the Women’s Santosh Trophy (now renamed as Indian Women’s Football Championship) was coming up soon in Haldia, a town in the southernmost region of West Bengal and it would be the first tournament that Bandana would represent Bengal in. Sixteen states participated in the tournament, with some of the heavyweights being Manipur (the defending champions), Bengal (the inaugural champions), Punjab, Kerala and Goa. The teams were divided into two groups of eight and the top two from each group were to progress to the knockout stages.
Manipur became the eventual winner, beating Bengal 1-0. However, the tournament was a personal success for Bandana. She scored as many as seventeen goals, only behind the Manipur prodigy (now a legend) Oinam Bembem Devi (20 goals) and Bengal veteran Puspa Das (19 goals).
After her heroics with the Bengal team, East Bengal, one of the biggest clubs in Indian football, snapped her up. By now, with an automatic choice in the starting eleven for any team she played for, Bandana helped East Bengal Women’s team win the Women’s Federation Cup in 1995.
Bandana again appeared for Bengal in the 1995/96 edition of Indian Women’s Football Championship, held in Jorhat. Manipur and Bengal again met in the final. Manipur won again, this time though a penalty shootout (6-5). Bengal returned home as the runner-up for the third consecutive time against the same opponent. Bandana still managed to score more than 20 goals in the tournament, the second highest tally after Bembem Devi.
Everyone treated me in a special way. Being the youngest member in the league, I received a lot of love and affection. The press even gave me a nickname: Sada Harin, because of my speed and fair complexion.
Back on the club scene, her performances reached greater heights and goals kept on coming. That year, Bandana won the IFA (Indian Football Association) Golden Boot award, while also helping her team clinch the league. It was her most successful season yet.
“Everyone treated me in a special way,” Bandana recalled with a pensive smile on her face “Being the youngest member in the league, I received a lot of love and affection. The press even gave me a nickname: Sada Harin [which translates to The White Deer], because of my speed and fair complexion.”
But greater things were imminent. The 1996/97 edition of the Indian Women’s Football Championship was going to be held again in Haldia, meaning Bengal had a home advantage this time. While it was great to be hosts, the pressure to deliver in front of a home crowd and overcome the mental block against Manipur was tough on players.
Bengal easily made the quarterfinals, which meant a matchup with Goa. It was in this match where Bandana got injured, but not before scoring a brace to help her team reach the semis. In the semi-final, Bengal faced another heavyweight in Punjab. Bandana played the match despite her injury.
Durgachak Stadium, Haldia, West Bengal, India
Indian Women’s Football Championship 1996/97, Final Match
Bengal would face, who else than… Manipur in the final. It was the fifth consecutive season the two teams would face off in the final with Bengal losing the last three. Bandana’s worsened injury forced her out of the playing eleven.
The ‘97 final was the first women’s match to be shown on television in Bengal, along with live commentary on the radio. There were more than 20,000 spectators in the stadium, including some eminent guests like the then Sports Minister of West Bengal Mr. Subhas Chakraborty, Chief Minister Mr. Jyoti Basu and many others. Memories of the loss to Manipur in this very ground a couple of years back was still fresh in everybody’s memory. This also meant extra pressure on the home team, who were missing their mainstay.
Last year the winner had been decided on penalties, and this year also seemed to be heading down a similar path with the match goalless after 85 minutes. On the side-lines, Bengal coach Shanti Mallick was seen muttering instructions and tending to the wounded left leg of Bandana, getting ready to be substituted in. Once she entered the match, Manipur’s control of the game was somewhat reduced and Bengal regained the foothold. Soon 90 minutes were over and the game entered extra-time. The match was now going to be decided on golden goal – whoever scored first would be declared the winner.
The 1st half of extra-time passed by without much incidence. Then, with three minutes left in the 2nd half of extra time, midfielder Chaitali Kar sent in a long ball from the centre line towards the penalty box, her target being 16-year-old Bandana.
Bandana’s face glows as she recalls the fondest memory of her life:
“I controlled the ball on my chest and turned towards the left. With only the goalkeeper to beat, I took a shot at it from distance with my injured left foot. The goalkeeper was almost 6 feet tall and played for the Indian national team, but the volley was perfect and she couldn’t stop it. I would never forget the joy as the ball went into the net.”
The stadium erupted in jubilation. A true golden goal! The goal that brought home the trophy for Bengal and made Bandana a star.
After her heroics with the state team, Bandana was offered a contract from Income Tax SAC — a team every player in the semi-professional set up of Indian Women’s football dreamt of playing for. The reason being because the players were guaranteed a job in the revered Income Tax department of the central government after retirement. Bandana signed the contract and became the highest paid woman footballer of her time.
She had been working hard at a clay idol-making factory to support her family ever since she was a kid, and whatever she would earn she would spend it on her family. Even after joining the state team, she used to work in the factory part time for some extra earnings, never forgetting her humble beginnings. Thus, a stable job after an illustrious career was everything a kid of her age and background could ever think of. It was all she ever dreamt of.
The icing on the cake was yet to come though. Soon after signing for Income Tax SAC, Bandana was called up for national team try-outs. This was beyond anything she could have ever imagined. She went to Patiala, a city in the state of Punjab, along with four of her Bengal teammates for the trials. Needless to say, Bandana was one of the first to be chosen for the team. She would go on to play a few domestic tournaments for India, like the Nehru Gold Cup, where she performed brilliantly.
The Struggle Starts
The 1997/98 Indian Women’s Football Championship would mark the inauguration of the stadium in Barasat, almost a home to Bandana, but as fate would have it she was out of the team with a ligament injury. Bandana returned to play in the Calcutta league, where she was one of the top performers again.
Sadly, that was the highest point of Bandana’s footballing career. Everything would soon go downhill from there on. The women’s team was showing signs of brilliance and many were hopeful of a podium finish in the run up to the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. They even held the men’s team, comprising of star players like Bhaichung Bhutia, I.M. Vijayan, to a draw in a practice match with Bandana outshining everyone else. This performance brought Bandana unwanted attention from some detractors that would ultimately prove fatal. Oblivious to any of that, she was just happy that her passport had been created so quickly, fast-tracked with the help of officials, so that she could travel to Bangkok. Everything was in place.
On the eve of the flight to Bangkok, Bandana was informed that she couldn’t be a part of the team as a complaint had been lodged against her by four states: Punjab, Manipur, Orissa, and Kerala. The complaint was incredibly bizarre. We’ll come back to the complaint later. For the time being, let’s see what happened next.
Bandana’s world came crashing down. Indian Olympic Association officials were a bit sceptical and barred her from playing until they received the reports. As Indian coach Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar would later recall,
“ … [Bandana’s] expulsion from the team became decisive for our fate”, India coach Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar recalls. “As a coach, I was as helpless as Bandana when I came to know about her expulsion. She was meted out gross injustice. If she’d be playing today, her case would have been treated differently. She would not have lost the chance to excel at the international level.”
As a coach, I was as helpless as Bandana when I came to know about her expulsion. She was meted out gross injustice. If she’d be playing today, her case would have been treated differently. She would not have lost the chance to excel at the international level.
Bandana was crestfallen but was determined to overcome the unfortunate obstacle as soon as possible. She returned to Kolkata to go through procedures that would lead to her reinstating into the team. Everyone waited anxiously for the reports. Bandana, however, concentrated on the thing she had set her heart on. She went back to the playing field and continued to practice with the Bengal state team for the upcoming 30the National Games in Imphal, the capital of Manipur.
In 1999, the 30th National Games was scheduled to take place involving all the state teams. Bengal was one of the favourites to win the tournament with Bandana – who was still allowed by IOA to participate in state level football – as their pillar of strength.
The team started off in fantastic fashion, destroying Goa 9-0 in the first round with Bandana scoring seven. Next up was Punjab. It was another comfortable match, Bengal winning courtesy a hat-trick from Bandana. The cup seemed to have Bengal’s name written over it.
On the eve of the third round, Bandana was summoned by IOA officials and informed that she couldn’t play. From that point forward, she headed down a path, through the twisted mentality of an unforgiving society, to the lowest point in her life.
Guilty or Innocent
Once the news broke out, she was perceived as the villain. Many newspapers cited that she had blatantly cheated for name and fame. The neighbourhood where she had grown up, the people who knew her from the very beginning, left her side. She was being mocked by the same people who cheered for her when she played. They assumed that Bandana had taken a shortcut to escape her impoverished life.
Her teammates also turned against her. Most of them saw it as an opportunity to take her place and make a name for themselves. A few players, though, did empathize with her and tried to help her in any way possible. But the majority outweighed the few and those in support of Bandana lost their voice.
However, the most shocking reaction came from her own family. They refused to stand by her struggle, fearing that if they did so the society would shun them as well. At a time when Bandana needed them the most, they turned their backs.
The pain inflicted during the aftermath of the expulsion convinced Bandana that she never wanted to return to the football field. Moreover, the atmosphere in her neighbourhood was far from comfortable; she could feel the resentment of others, so she decided to move on from Gobardanga. She left her home and went to Krishnanagar, a town more than 80 km away.
Hope of a New Life
Choosing Krishnanagar was a calculated move on Banadana’s part, as the town is famous for production of clay idols of gods and goddesses — something Bandana had done ever since she was a small kid. She took up a job at clay idol factory and rented a small place to live. It was an attempt at a new life. But a native woman footballer soon identified Bandana and her identity was revealed to the locals. There was a slight difference this time though. People of Krishnanagar were extremely supportive of her.
Another Life, Familiar Struggle
Time to introduce the second pivotal character in our story, Boni Paul. We meet this character at a crucial juncture of our story. It was late 2006, Boni was seen admitted in a hospital, waiting for surgery. But his family’s stubbornness meant that there was no one available to sign the documents for the operation to commence. The solution came with a pleasant surprise.
Swati Sarkar, a girl from Krishnanagar had been met with an accident some time back when a bike rider crashed into her. Her offender was full of apology, and offered all the support. Eventually a friendship blossomed. The biker was none other than Boni. So, with no one to seek help from, Boni turned to the person he now trusted the most. Swati was extremely considerate. She, in turn, made her mother aware of the situation and convinced her to act as guardian to Boni. All formalities completed, it was the moment of reckoning. The operation was successful.
Boni’s struggles had just started though. He still received almost no support from his family. He worked as hard as possible to earn a living. And he had a new reason to live; love was blossoming between Boni and Swati.
In 2007, Boni took Swati on vacation, expressed his feelings and proposed. Swati had a soft corner for him since the first time they had met and she accepted. Thus, on 29 July 2009, Boni got married to the love of his life.
However, the decision also came at a price. Boni feared that the locals may not accept this marriage. Hence they relocated to Matigara, a town in the district of Siliguri, 500 km away from Krishnanagar. A completely different place with totally different sets of people – they couldn’t ask for anything better for a fresh start. And indeed, it was a new lease of life, away from all kinds of controversy and gossip. Boni took up a job there at the idol-making factory, something which he had become an expert at. The newlyweds were blissfully happy and leading a normal life just like any other couple – at least until the start of 2012.
It was then when the past caught up to him and the press started hunting down Boni. As a result, Boni again found himself bombarded with questions. Keeping quiet hasn’t done him any good in the past, so he decided to come clean in the papers. He told every one of his ordeal and how he was now living a happily married life with Swati. This changed the scenario completely in Matigara and had a huge impact on Boni’s life. To begin with, he was approached by Siliguri Mahakuma Club for a post as the coach of the football team. Boni happily agreed thinking that now he would get a steady source of income. The locals too were very happy to have Boni in their midst. They were really fascinated by his story and treated him like a celebrity. The most significant change was the arrival of two of his old acquaintances Satarupa Santra and Sourabh Kanti Dutta, along with Farha Khatun. The trio wanted to make a documentary on Boni, showcase his struggle, his story to the entire world through a medium which was sure to grab more attention than anything else. Boni gave his consent and this was going to change his life later in ways he didn’t know yet.
The old saying goes – there are two sides to every coin. Boni found this out the hard way. On the one hand, the newspapers running his story had helped him in finding support in a town far away from home, something he least expected. On the other hand, this public exposure revealed Boni’s identity to his home. His family was infuriated and his siblings forbade him from returning to their native place, ever. Closer home in Matigara, Siliguri Mahakuma Club which had appointed him for an official post wasn’t paying him a single penny. Moreover, some of the members of local clubs assumed that Boni was a wealthy man, courtesy his glory days in his heydays. They forced him to make clay idols for the upcoming pujas without any remuneration. They had no idea about the struggles that Boni went through to reach there and they couldn’t care less. This financial trouble was becoming too much to bear for Boni, the debt running into lakhs. Despite many requests, the members of the puja society wouldn’t budge; instead, they started to threaten Boni and his wife. After a point of time, Boni couldn’t take the burden anymore, and he decided to leave Matigara with Swati without informing anyone of his decision. The residents of Matigara woke up one morning to find that his house was all locked up and it was empty. Even Farha, Satarupa and Sourabh who had been practically living with them for almost two years had no idea where they went.
On the other hand, this public exposure revealed Boni’s identity to his home. His family was infuriated and his siblings forbade him from returning to their native place, ever.
Boni and Swati had moved to the beautiful hill town of Darjeeling around September 2013. He had come across an old friend who had just leased a new hotel there. Boni decided to take up work at that hotel; he was the manager cum cook cum tour guide while Swati helped him. Again, he was living an anonymous life, almost similar to Krishnanagar and Siliguri. After almost three months, Farha managed to somehow contact Boni in Darjeeling. Soon they resumed the documentary, and the shooting was completed in early 2014. The directors knew that they had made something special and started preparation to get an entry in Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF). However, bad luck seemed to accompany Boni everywhere. The hotel he was working in shut down after about two years, with the government crackdown on hotels run by chit funds. He was forced to leave Darjeeling and with running out of places to go to, he decided to return to Kolkata in March 2016.
Oasis of Optimism
Boni and Swati had no place to stay in the city. They couldn’t go back to Boni’s family. They went to the only people who could help him, Satarupa, Sourabh and Farha; and they did help. Boni and his wife were given a place to stay in the city. However, there would be a huge turn of events in the next five months.
In a famous annual film festival “I am Bonnie” was one of the films showcased. The film moved everyone present, in particular, Deep Samajdar. Deep was really motivated by Boni’s story, he also wanted to start a new life, marry someone and live happily. A different tale was unfolding in Bongaon, a small town near Bangladesh border, where one of Boni’s elder sisters lived. Her daughter was going through a rough patch in life when she was left stranded with a three year old daughter after her husband had died in a car accident. Call it luck or coincidence, Deep met Boni’s niece through mutual acquaintances. Soon they developed feelings for each other and decided to get married, but the social stigma remained a point of concern. It was during these troubled times that Boni stepped in and almost single-handedly managed to convince both the families for the marriage. This bit of welfare completely changed the viewpoint of Boni’s sister and she was the first in the family, after his mother, to accept Boni for who he is. Slowly everyone realised that this Boni is still the same person. Like in his childhood, he still loved helping people, he still accepted every challenge life threw at him and he still was putting everyone’s need ahead of his own. Boni was again welcomed to his native home where he continues to live happily with his wife Swati.
While all these had been happening on the personal front, the professional side was also looking upwards. The KIFF 2016 was the biggest turning point in Boni’s life. The documentary “I am Bonnie” was presented to the public for the first time in KIFF. Not only did people love it, but it also received the Best Documentary award in the National Documentary Film Competition category. People came to realise the injustice that had been handed out to Boni. They now sympathised with him, tried to help him in any way possible. Joshy Joseph, a member of the Films Division, was moved by the story. He decided to reach out to his contacts who could provide any sort of aid to Boni. One of those contacts was Ananya Chakraborti, the chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR). WBCPCR oversaw several orphanages in the state, and they desperately needed someone to look after the physical fitness of the children and train some of them in sports and crafts. Boni was perfect fit matching whatever criteria they had in mind, and after listening to the offer, Boni lapped it up. He joined in April 2017 and has created a beautiful football team comprising of several enthusiastic children. He has been nurturing them, hoping that one day maybe a few of them will make it to the bigger stages, succeed just like he had done once.
Boni has been through so much that most of us can’t even begin to think about. He got a taste of success at the highest level, only to see everything taken away from him in the blink of an eye. Society almost shunned him, forced him to become a vagabond of sorts, but Boni still fought on, finding new ways to survive, learning new tricks he didn’t even know he could do. Then the three people came, who turned his whole world back on its feet, they would make the documentary which helped the same society shed their blindfold. Boni became the darling of the people again, he wins hearts even today. The children at the orphanage eagerly wait for him every day, ready with their kits on just waiting to be called into the field and taught valuable football lessons.
The Missing Link
Did you get a sense of being left out? Then it’s time to assemble parts of the puzzle and give this riveting tale a fitting conclusion. Let us go back to 1981, in Gobardanga. A new member was born in the Paul family. But, there was something different about Bandana; she was an intersex child. Now, intersex is a condition where a child can’t be classified in a binary sense – male or female. The child may possess both male and female genital organs; there can also be only a single gender’s genitals with hormonal irregularities in the future. In some cases a child may possess XX chromosome and still not be a girl and vice versa. Intersex condition is quite common in the world. In fact 1.7% of the world’s population is intersex, that’s almost the same as red haired population. Also, intersex babies are physically healthy in most cases. But most of the world is hardly aware of this and they treat an intersex baby as an anomaly. Majority of the population is not yet ready to accept the fact that being genderless can be a way of life. This, though, didn’t dampen the emphatic spirits of the parents, who were extremely happy with the arrival of a new member in their family and decided to raise Bandana as a girl child just like their other three daughters.
On the eve of the flight to Bangkok, Bandana was informed that she couldn’t be a part of the team in Bangkok as a complaint had been lodged against her by four states – Punjab, Manipur, Orissa, and Kerala. The complaint was a bizarre one – they wanted her gender to be tested.
The important thing to know in this case is that the process of the gender test has undergone several changes in the subsequent years. In the present day, to determine the gender, psychoanalysis is done alongside the physical and chromosome tests – something that is utterly important. In those days, however, the process to determine a player’s gender was simply a physical test and if that proved inconclusive, then a chromosome test – XY meant male and XX meant female. An incomplete procedure if ever there was one. Bandana went through the physical tests but the lack of facilities meant that the reports that came back were not clear enough. She was then asked to take the tests at SAI (Sports Authority of India) – the premium institute for sports development and maintenance in India. Dr Laila Das was one of the doctors at SAI and she performed the physical tests on Bandana; the reports of that test were inconclusive, owing to her intersex gender. As a result, she was now asked to perform a chromosome test and after the test, a panel of doctors, comprising Dr B. N. Chakraborty, finally found that Bandana possessed XY chromosomes, thereby labelling her as a male player!
Bandana even wanted to undergo a sex change operation so that she could then at least try to play in some men’s team. But her family refused point blank, telling her that if she did so, she would no longer be welcome in their home.
But with time, she realised that she needed to do something about her gender in order to stop any kind of gossip surrounding her. In her own words, “I needed a clear-cut identity of my own.” In 2004, she visited Dr Laila Das, the doctor from SAI, who had performed the tests on her initially and sought to counsel. Dr Das advised her to undergo a sex operation to become a man and referred her to another doctor in Kolkata. Bandana travelled to Kolkata but the doctor found that it was a tad too difficult case for him to handle and recommended Bandana to his senior, Dr B. N. Chakraborty – the same doctor who had been on the final panel at SAI. He assured her that the operation would have a better chance of succeeding in her case as she had the chromosome compatibility on her side. Bandana decided to proceed and started making arrangements for the operation. She approached her family one last time for support, but her elder brother and sisters were totally against her decision. So, she decided to set on her path alone. The cost of the operation would be no meagre sum, and for someone like Bandana who had spent almost all her earnings to build a house for her family and her sister’s wedding, it was a mountain to climb. Dr Chakraborty took sympathy to her and reduced the charges as much as possible. Gathering the money for the operation itself proved to be a difficult challenge. “I travelled for more than 2 hours daily to Kolkata to find work. I had to do odd jobs like painting houses and working as a contractor, besides working in the idol making factory in Krishnanagar. In Kolkata, I often helped out with the Durga Puja pandals and once I was rewarded with the best pandal maker award”, she recalls. Finally, in 2006 Bandana had saved enough to undergo the operation.
That is when Bandana became Boni, off course with Swati at her side. But as luck would have had it, the Pinki Pramanik controversy broke out during 2012. The situation was somewhat similar to that of Boni. After winning multiple gold medals in track events in Asian Games and South Asian Games, in 2012 Pinki was accused of hiding her gender when her live-in partner accused her of rape. To cut a long story short, she went through the same tribunals as Boni, only this time there was a psycho-analysis which cleared Pinki as female. There was a sense of déjà vu among the public and the press soon started hunting down Boni. And that is when she finally opened up to the press.
“I am Bonnie” was getting showcased in the famous annual film festival Dialogues organised by the LGBT group “Sappho For Equality”. Deep saw the film there and could instantly relate to it as he had recently undergone the same surgery as Boni and had become Deep from Dipanwita. What a small world we live in! Deep and Boni, born with similar ill fortune, did not know each other, got connected through a film highlighting their issues and soon they found each other related via a matrimonial alliance.
It was almost evening, the Sun was beginning to dive into the darkness. Only to rise again the next day. Boni was also done with his story. Just like the setting Sun, he has something in him which fuels him to embark on a fresh challenge every day. To utter his own words – “Don’t ever stop once you reach a dead-end. Just because you couldn’t reach your destination the first time doesn’t mean there isn’t one, it means there is another route, but you deviated from that route somewhere in the past. Go back and start again and surely this time you will find the solution waiting for you.”
Disclaimer: The article is based on an interview of Boni Paul conducted by Goalden Times. The facts, figures and opinions presented here are strictly based on the interview as narrated by Boni Paul.