as i was a child i loved playing outdoors….when girls my age played games like ‘bhatukli,’teacher-teacher.(this means you enact a whole teacher-student act)….i would be there playing volleyball,cricket,fighting the boys or playing the wwf cards…….i absoultely loved beating the boys….it gave me a thrill!!!! i hated to study(big surprise) so when i was at home i always had a pin pong ball in my hand and the tt bat and i used to keep hitting the ball against the wall…..if there are some bad walls in mumbai’s mukund-madhav building thats where i stayed for the early nine years of my life….im solely resonsible……my parents always told everyone that i was a girl by mistake…..when there used to be competitions in the building our house used to be filled with prizes for running,singing,dancing,carrom,chess,etc etc…….i loved competing…..
with this background it didnt take my parents to figure out that i dont have much of a chance with academics……so they put me up in a summer coaching camp for badminton…my dad used to play outdoor badminton with his friends and i used to play with them…..i enetered a school competition and got a third prize without much coaching….thats where my parents thought of giving badminton a chance……..i was put up under santosh kshatriya in andheri sports complex…..at the age of 9…….as i started out with him it became obvious that i was good and i loved working hard…..it was started on a trial basis….so sir told us to enter me in a tournament….i did enter in the under 10 category in bhagini samaj and i won….just after 2months of practice…..after that there was no looking back i kept playing and kept training…
as a middle class parent badminton is a very expensive sport…..the whole kit could cost upto 40-50thousand….plus there was the coaching fees and shuttles …..one yonex shuttle costs around 75rs……so we used to play with samrat which costed much less….all in all it was not easy…..i would love to thanks my parents who really slogged those early years…..my dad used to work in id branch of canara bank at nariman point he used to take us to school at 8.30 and then go to office……my mom used to work as a teacher…..she used to get up at 5 every morning make all our tiffins make me do my training from 6 to 7 and then leave for school ….then she used to pick us up from the school on her sunny at 1pm and then get back home….we used to have a quick lunch and then leave for practice again …..she used to take anagha for swimming and me for badminton in the same complex….i remember those bajaj sunny days….it used to be fun….sunny was a very small vehicle….so i and my sister with my mom used to all squeeze in….we were told strictly to not move around or fight when we were on the sunny…..but when you are told to not do something thts an added reson to do it at 10yrs…..so we used to do our fighting and hitting and irritate mom…..god it used to be funny….i remember one time when i and mom were getting back from practice and we stopped over to take some bread…..i got the bread as mom waited…..i come back and before i could sit mom drives away…she just didnt realise i had still not sat….i weighed around 20kgs i think…..i followed behind running but she just didnt stop….a cycle wala bhaiya gave me a lift…..i was sobbing uncontrollably…..he made me sit in the front and we cycled away behind her……she stopped at the next signal and a rickshaw guy asked her if she has a missing girl behind her she looked back and turned her sunny on a one way road…..and there was i on the cycle with this guy…..it was such a funny incident though i was scared to death today all of us still have a hearty laugh over it……so ya in mumbai there is a concept of east and west though its one and the same thing its still pretty much not….so we had to park the sunny in the andheri east station and then cross the bridge and get to the west then take a bus to the complex…all of this was really tiring to do….especially in the monsoons when mumbai is almost drowning…..though it was fun for us as kids splashing water everywhere it wasnt easy for my mom handling us……but saying all this i was amongst the very few in mumbai who used to never miss a session and never arrive late……my mom used to make sure of that…..
training in mumbai was tough i was 9 when i satrted there with santosh sir……..santosh sir was very young when we started we had a good 10people working together…..i used to especially enjoy the summer camps which used to be for 2months…..i used to always run with the boys i was the fastest…..sir never allowed me to slow down……he used to take me running from complex to the juhu beach on the road……this training that i did is helping me even today….i was conditioned for hard training from a very early age…..sir taught me my basics…i was his favourite because i learned fast and never said i was tired….in mumbai all the parents used to call me a lambi race ka ghoda…..ghoda because i could run and keep running i guess……i cant thank santosh sir enough he built me up for the future he helped me dream and he believed that i could do better…..i beacame the under 10 state champion under him….and was inching closer to the 13titles as well…..
though i enjoyed myself in mumbai……my parents realised soon that it was going to get difficult to continue financially and physically in a city like mumbai….we had to find another place if i had to pursue playing….so my dad got transferred to pune and we all shifted to pune when i was 11……in pune it took me some time to settle down……..i first approached anil modak for training he said that he couldnt take me in……though today he is an academy coach and i have great respect for him……then some people suggested that i try playing with vasant gore sir…i approached him and he immediately took me in……he is one guy who has literally spent his life playing and teaching badminton…….hes in his late 70s but he still is doing the same thing…..he has produced a number of quality players from pune till date and he absolutely shruggs that off…..god knows what such kind of people are made up off….they dedicate their life to something and never look for anything other than immaterial bliss…..he tauhgt me a lot of basics in badminton….and helped me with my movements….after sometime i joined pdmba coaching scheme in wei complex….under rawat sir……after some time i was playing with vivek joshi sir….they all helped in their own special ways…..though all of this people where great with the oncourt work most of the puneities didnt really work too much off it……n being training in mumbai i was someone who was used to training…….as i was not training enough….i lost to a girl who i always used to beat in one of the state tournaments,when i came out of the court my mom took me in one corner and slapped me across my face not because i lost but because i wasnt feeling bad enough…….once we got back to pune from there she started taking me out on the roads and made me train running,skipping,sprints u name it at 6every morning before i went to school……also i was someone who kind of introduced the concept of stretching after practice….my mom used to get me their early for warm up……and i was mostly the last one to go because i wasnt allowed to leave until i stretched…..thats my momma for u……but all these things started showing results soon….i always used to lose to sayali gokhale in the under 13 …..she was punes fav and i was an outsider….i always felt bad when the whole pune cheered for my opponents and i only had my parents…..but then in one of the tournaments i did beat sayali in pune……i became the district champion and the state champion when i was 11……slowly people in pune started accepting me and i slowly did become punyachi porgi…….
when i was 12 i had a big turning point of my life…….bpl prakash padukone academy started its branch in pune i was selected under hemant hardikar…..and there was another batch under anil modak…..hemant hardikar is responsible for a lot of good things in my life…..hes a hell of a honest guy…..he never paints a untrue picture….though this sounds easy…..i guess its not its always difficult for a coach to try and tell his student that he is wrong and in the same breath also make him feel positive about it…whenever hemant sir has criticised me for anything i have always felt good….because somehow i have very less people telling me that i am wrong..may be i am right most of the time:)…but i am not god nor a saint i make mistakes and its always good to have someone tell you that…
hemant sir…hmmm where do i start….hes an anchor to me…like a swimmimng float around me which will just not let me drown…i think as a student i must have been the most difficult to manage…not that i wasnt disciplined or focussed those are never the issues..but i have always had a difficult career..i have struggled very hard to achieve each victory…also i have always had injury issues and i think more than anybody in the present times….i remember getting my first major injury it was in chennai i was 17…i was thrashing saina had won the first game 11-6 and was leading in the second at 8-4 and it happened i twisted my knee…i conceded…it was all tears..when i showed it to the doctor i got to know it was a meniscus tear…i was out for 2months…i started playing again preety soon..i just cannot be off the court for more than week..its not possible….i did start playing well..and was in the camp for the world juniors thats where i had an ACL tear..i knew the second i fell down that it was something really bad i couldnt really walk or straighten my leg…..i was in sai…god it was horrible..they took me to the sai hospital…bandaged my leg and left it hanging like that for about two hours….i lay their unattended in sheer pain and so many questions about the future…i didnt have my phone and i didnt want to talk to my parents…i knew they would panic…finally some doc did come he took me for an x-ray…they told me it was nothing just a small tear..and i will be fine soon….i knew that was not possible and it was not just a tear something had bloody broken inside…i came back to the room called up hemant sir…he told to get out of sai immediately and find a good doc there in bangalore….now the big question was where do i go my parents were not here and i needed some emotional backing and people who could take some decisions….thats when i thought of Mr.bharat sosale….i have no doubt he is god…..for me he is like an angel who was sent by someone up there….he without much adieu simply told me to come home….bharath uncle is a cancer survivor a complete fighter…the sosales are one of bangalore’s most respected families…bharath uncle and usha aunty are one of the few real made for each other jodi i have seen..aunty is a complete sweet heart..very simlple people…..and very humble too…i learnt a lot of things from both of them….ok so now i was in their house…they took me to doc. sudresh…angel no 2…when i met him…in my first 10mins he told me i need a surgery and i am going to be out for a year…i wasnt shocked …i kind of knew….so now the big question was i need a surgery aso who will do it…coaches told me to go to anand joshi or rajgopal..they are indias most respected doctors…but i think i knew much before that dr. sundresh would do my surgery…the first time i saw him i knew there was a calmth around him…he was someone i could trust..and also i needed a doctor whom i thought would be readily available to me whenever i needed to talk…i somehow thought at that time that the big docs will not really give me any bhav:)…needless to say sundresh sir is one of the most respected docs in bangalore….ok so the decision was taken the surgery was scheduled and i was ready to go under the knife…in the meanwhile my dad and hemant sir came down from pune..i was admitted in the hospital…call me mad but my first operation and i was all smiles i mean i was actually not scared i was fill of excitement and curosity..it was my first hand experience after all…so ya it was memorable…my surgery was early in the morning at around 7am…before that these nurses came to check my bp and stuff…bharath uncle joked about my very normal bp..he was asking me my secret…i didnt have any….i was just pretty calm…then i was took to the ot….the ot feels like a space station…there thousand equipments ,about 5 people around with all smiles and ready to their job…i was lying there and one of the sweet lady out there started to have a conversation…while doing that i felt a prick…and i was gone in seventh heaven i dont know what happened in the next two hours…it was ofcourse the anasthesist…when i woke up i was in my room in the hospital..the first person i saw was dad then sir and then bharath uncle….i was not in my senses the anasthesia effect was there…i was babbling something…after some 8hrs i knew where i was but still pretty slow…the midnight was when like an owl i was all awake and sinking in all that happened and thinking about how tough things are going to be now…i was never in doubt about overcoming things…i have always known that baddy is my life and a small thing like injury cant take me away from it…ya the other thing that kept me away was glucose…due to which i constantly was pissing…now the most dreaded thing in a hospital for me is the bed pan…it is an utensil in which you have to shit n piss…sitting on your bed…i mean how on earth is anybody going to shit like that..the first few times was painfully tough…i really wanted to piss badly but in that position it was just not coming out…the nurses their had a hearty laugh and ofcourse i used to join them too…it was funny…my first try took me about 45mins…then slowly i did become an expert…:)the nurses though were very patient…i hugged all of them goodbye and thanked them…i mean i dont know how these people give you a hot water rub..clean ur shit..change ur clothes…and while doing all this are always smiling..i really grew in respect for them….after about spending two days in the hospital i was out…on my crunches….i had to stay with the sosales for two more weeks as i wasnt allowed to travel…so i and mom stayed….the sosales treated both of us as family….uncle used to talk about jordan and great personalities to help me get inspired…he was awesomely supportive throughout…and also nikhil their son was a constant entertainment package whenever i felt down he was always their to make me laugh…he has an awesome sense of humour and was hopelessly mad and an extremly sweet guy…so ya the days passed by and i came back home to pune for my tough journey towards being fit again…..