Coming from a conservative family that has produced doctors and engineers, I feel lucky to have got encouragement from my parents (Eric and Merlyn) to play hockey.
My father was an engineer, my mother a doctor, and my brothers are engineers. So I was privileged to get a chance to be a sportsperson. My mother told me one thing: “Do your studies and schoolwork and then do whatever you want to do.”
Since she worked with the Bombay Municipal Corporation, she had duty during the daytime, which matched with our school timings. So she had a lot of time to spend with us and take care of us. Having a doctor at home helped me and I had in-home treatment. Whether I had normal fever or an injury, she used to take care of me.
My father followed my game more, but my mother used to boost my morale by saying that I should stick to my strength.
My parents could never see me play for India in a stadium, but they followed my game on television. They were really happy and very proud when I became the captain of the Indian team. They knew what it meant to me.
I will be forever grateful to my parents for teaching me the right values and bringing me up in the right way. I learnt the value of hard work from them and it helped me in my life.
I owe everything to my parents, who kept me on the right track.
As told to Y. B. Sarangi.
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