By Abu Sultan:
I was a Class 7 student who would fantasise about certificates and trophies. For a boy with a skinny body and under-average class performance, I found the world a disappointing place. My unstable mind and skinny body notwithstanding, I wanted to earn respect and recognition in my peer group, specifically my school mates.
One day, while I was just whiling my time away on the roof of my house, I pondered on how to achieve success in life. I was struck by an idea. I was 5 feet 9 inches tall then, which was quite favourable for being a basketball player, the game I always perceived as my platform for success.
In the subsequent games class, I went to the basketball court. The coach asked me to join the students who were struggling with the ball. It turned out that I was not good enough and got wounded and lost a nail. It hurt a lot. But I did not let it get the better of me. I lost my nail but not my motivation. I started playing basketball with immense zeal every time I got a chance. I was a newbie at basketball but hard work and persistence got me a place in the school basketball squad which further amplified my confidence as I was the youngest person ever to get a selection in the school team.
From that day on, I never let the zeal decline. After a year of rigorous practice, our team gained the top spot in the district championship. I was declared the player of the tournament that year and the excitement got amplified as I got selected in the district team to represent my school at the state level. The principal and the teachers were soon acquainted with my name. I was finally in the limelight.
It was basketball again, which earned me a ticket to the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University. I realised that life would be different, so I decided to take a holistic approach and work profoundly. But soon I gave in to the new environment, friends and mates. And this time, when trial dates were declared for the university basketball team, I was not able to secure a place in the university team. This episode lasted for long and affected both my academics and my sports life. I felt demotivated and was not able to see the court for two months. My attendance in the school and on the ground became very low. One day, on reaching home, a letter which carried a warning in it claimed that being a sportsperson, your attendance should be maintained at the court.
My friends used to enjoy with their friends at the school café and at the girls school and I was left again in isolation. I used to ponder on my lifestyle very often and I would eventually comprehend that this is the life I chose for myself as I was not able to even have a discussion with my family. Besides studying, I have to maintain my attendance at the court and then I have to take rest as well.
Sometimes I used to sit alone in my room and lose myself in profound thoughts. The resentment against this life style of mine was increasing gradually. In 2012, the trials took place again and this time, being selected for the university team overcame and thwarted this resentment. It was an honour to represent AMU team on the national level and to put on those Nike shoes and jersey was really a fascinating experience.
Soon after that, I realised that merely having a good sports background would not build a good future so I took up writing and completed the mass communication entrance exam. I started with response letters for the Hindustan Times though they never got published and I worked extensively on my writing skills. My penchant for writing evoked gradually and I started reading books and listening to lectures. After a while, I got some of the write-ups published in the local newsletters of the campus. My father always encouraged me towards intellectual learning and told me to write something daily on a general topic. He asked me to get little little knowledge of all the subjects and at least master in one language and a subject. For that matter, he finally asked me to pursue my passion and I decided to take up mass communication for my Masters degree.