The shy badminton player opens up about her family life, her mentors as she takes a walk down the memory lane while shooting for Asian Paints Har Ghar Kucch Kehta Hai produced by BBC Worldwide India. She says her childhood memories were revived.
Memories of a lifetime
It was a memorable experience. It was especially nice to see my coaches, Goverdhan Sir and Aarif Sir in my old house and to meet high school and degree college teachers. I was touched by the warm reception from my school and college. I also got to visit Gopichand Badminton Academy after a year’s gap where I hold very fond memories practicing with the players and coaches. I saw trophies I had won as a teenager at my old home which revived memories of the matches that I won. I saw my childhood photographs which took me back to my childhood days. I saw my most favourite house where I resided for about 10 years.
Many things have changed since then but I will always treasure these memories. My trophies, my bedroom, my study room and the small courtyard where my pet Machoo used to live when my mother and I would go to LB stadium and Academy for practice. These are few of my first memories that I will always cherish.
Perfect day off
I think with my active sport life, such a day is impossible. My passion is badminton and I enjoy it tremendously.
Pleasure of playing
I have enjoyed playing with my contemporaries but most of them do not play badminton anymore. There was Pizza Bharali from Assam who was my doubles partner. Anjana Reddy doubles partner in the past. Aparna Balan still plays and I enjoy playing with her. Ditti from Nagpur and I used to play in 1999 but since then we have not had the opportunity to meet and play again.
Challenges for women in badminton
I strongly believe that women are good at the sport but quit their passion for different reasons which is a big loss to the game. One of the reasons is to pursue higher studies. I feel that to deal with this issue, we have to find a solution where studies and sports go hand in hand and complement each other so that one can continue to study while pursing their passion for this sport.
Mentorship made a difference
Whatever I am today I owe it to my respectable coaches. I was made a good player only because of the encouragement, support and intense coaching and practice sessions with my Gurus. I always believe in learning and even today at the age of 25, I consider myself as a learner.
I would describe my style of playing as aggressive. I always give my best when playing on the court and it is my goal and passion to win every match I play.
Judge your own success
I feel that my victories are achievable. Earlier, Indian girls were not prominent in this field, but today things have changed. Girls are playing and performing better in every field whether. I feel that all the badminton matches that I won are not enough. I want to win more tournaments for my country.
Sacrifice fun in the pursuit of excellence
According to me, fun is good and a must for when you take a break for leisure. It is essential for a healthy life. But fun during work, affects my concentration. I have fun playing with my pets during free time at home.
Skills evolved over the years
My parents enrolled me in badminton with the expectation to excel in the same. I took it as my studies and made them proud with my performances. I realised that without studies if I am not good in my sport, then I may not land up at any respectable position in life. So I took up this challenge wholeheartedly and learnt to play badminton to the best of my abilities.
Preparation for the next tournament
I always apply my learnings of the last tournament on the next one. It helps me achieve continuous progress in my career.
Thoughts on Sania Mirza and Jwala Gutta
Sania Mirza is one of the best tennis players in the world. Jwala is the best doubles player in badminton.
Thoughts on competitiveness
Nobody likes defeat in their career and I am no different from them. Every tournament that I play, I usually strive to win it. I am a competitive player.
Reception from fans
I am really thankful to my fans spread across the world for believing in me and my capability. I get a stirring reception from my fans around the world. They like me and my style of playing badminton particularly people from Indonesia and Malaysia.