I grew up in Shillong, and like any other family, my father wanted me to be a doctor. I went to St. Columbus in Delhi. It’s funny how people welcomed me because they thought I was Rahul Gandhi. Once I told them the truth, they disappeared.
My first teacher was my sister, she is a pianist and she taught and introduced me to music. Music was there with me all the time. It was only when I went to London to do my higher studies, after completing my schooling in Delhi, that I developed a different yearning for music. Thus the Shillong Chamber Choir (SCC) was born
When I got into administration, I was desperate to be the coach of the national side. (Jagmohan) Dalmiya called me and said ‘why don’t you try for six months’. He passed away and none was around, so I became the CAB president. People take 20 years to become president. You have to live for the day.
You should do what you can and not thinking about the outcome. You never know where life goes, you never know where life will take you. I went to Australia in 1999, I wasn’t even the vice-captain. Sachin (Tendulkar) was the captain and in three months I became the captain of India.
You will wonder to know that former President and ‘Missile Man’ APJ Abdul Kalam was the first to come up with the idea of planting the tricolor on the moon. Preparation for the mission had begun and scientists were deciding on which instruments to use when they had a serendipitous encounter with Kalam. “Kalam had a meeting with the scientists. I was not present. He suggested painting the tricolour on the impactor that would land on the moon” recalled Jitendra Nath Goswami (Indian Scientist & Researcher)
Being a techie with an engineering background, Manish Raisinghan says acting happened by accident. “I was picked by my seniors to participate in inter-college fashion show as they were short of one model and they chose me to fill in that gap and I happened to be selected as the best male model which somehow started my journey. It was never really a part of the plan. Acting was again an unplanned move. The opportunity not just came knocking but made sure I own it for life.
Papa started my training at a very young age and it was not an age when you consider your career options. Since childhood, it was just wrestling. I grew up seeing my sisters (Geeta and Babita) train. So taking up any other sport or occupation never really crossed my mind. When I was 8-year-old, I had thought of quitting wrestling. I was very young to put through such a regime (by my father) and I often used to tell mummy that I can’t take it anymore. She used to console me by saying it’s just a matter of three years and I should continue with the training. It happened over a course of many years that she kept consoling me by saying it was a matter of three years and now I am really happy that her ‘three years’ brought the best out of me.
“I wake up 4 a.m. in the morning with my sisters and train for 2-3 hours. After that we have breakfast which is supplemented by curd apart from juice and almond shake that my father prepares. Then we sleep. After having lunch, it’s leisure time as we play cards or watch news on the TV. We train for another 2-3 hours after that, come back, have dinner, and sleep. So, if you see, the total time we dedicate to the sport in a day is close to six hours” said Ritu Phogat in one of the interviews.
I told my husband not to push the girls into the sport. I was worried about how they will ever get married as pehelwans wearing shorts and cutting their hair! They would wrestle boys as there were no other girls.
“My father had the knowledge of wrestling so when he saw that four girls were born one after the other, he drafted us into wrestling. That was the time when weightlifter Karnam Malleswari had won bronze in (Sydney) Olympics, so our dad thought that if being a girl, Karnam can bring home a medal from Olympics then why can’t his daughters do the same?” recalls Ritu Phogat (Wrestler)