My father’s wish was to see his daughter every day on TV. I fulfilled his wish and he died with a smile on his face. He had gone through a lot in the last few months. I am sad that he is not there but I am happy that he is no longer in that pain. He left a small video for me saying how much he loved me and was proud of me.
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Budapest is the first city where I faced discrimination. There were a few small incidents in the first few days, but I shrugged them off thinking that they were either coincidences or the locals were not warm. However, I soon realised that they chose to behave in a certain way towards outsiders. The preferential treatment at the airport made it all the more worse. We are obsessed with fair skin and give preference to Westerners over our own countrymen. Every country should treat tourists and their own citizens equally.
Imran Khan and I have a fantastic relationship — he said when you fly and you see dark clouds, you find a way to fly higher. I remembered those words during that period. I trained hard.
One day I got so angry because I wasn’t getting picked and I did not know the reason. I was scoring runs everywhere around the world and in those 10 years I scored more runs that Sachin Tendulkar in one day cricket. One day in 2006, I got so angry that I ran 21 laps at Eden Gardens
When I announced my decision to retire, Sachin came up to me and asked me ‘Why have you taken such a decision?’ I said I’ve had enough, I don’t want to play anymore. He told me ‘This was the best I have seen you play in the last three years’. In life when you get tested, when you get rejected by everyone and when you get pushed aside, you actually get the best out of it. That has been a learning curve for me