I grew up at a time when there was no Internet. Reading was the main pastime when I was young and I used to read a lot about sporting heroes. The biographies and the success stories of sportsmen from different disciplines have always attracted me. I remember as a kid, I would make it a point to read the newspapers and magazines to know each and every thing about them.
In those days, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag were superstars and despite being into a different sports discipline, I closely followed them both. I made it a point to read everything about them because their success journey inspired me a lot. As a teenager, most of us would dream of achieving great success and make the country proud. And somewhere in my mind, I could relate to the struggles of these individuals.
Years later, I met both of them and it was a fanboy moment for me. Every time you speak to your childhood heroes, there would be so much to learn from them. Those are the moments you can’t really describe in words. They have not only left a mark in their respective fields, but have also inspired many others.
If Tendulkar and Sehwag have inspired me, Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachhan and Akshay Kumar too have motivated me a lot. I met Akshay for the first time in 2008 and sometime later, he called me up. Initially, I thought it must be someone else playing a prank on me because it was too good to be true. I remember telling him, “Arrey yaar, kyun mazak kar rahe ho?” (Brother, why are you pulling my leg?) Then he told me that he was the real Akshay Kumar. I could not believe that one of your favourite actors was actually calling you. So, it was a great moment for me.
Boxing has given me so many things in life and it has also been quite an experience meeting your heroes in person.
As told to Shayan Acharya
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