I was travelling to True School of Music some time ago with a friend, and I was telling him how athletes a lot more than musicians always inspired me because they pushed themselves to their absolute limit. He said, “In a way, musicians push themselves to their maximum too but in a different way. You like the clean life that comes with living as an athlete, and you relate to it a lot more than the life of a musician.”
Sports has always had a special place in my life. Back in the day, summer vacations meant that my friends and I would get out of the house at 11 am to play cricket. The only break we took would be to hydrate and eat lunch, and we would go on till sunset. At this time of my life, like for many others, ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ was my hero. Cricket was my life, and I had dreams of becoming a cricketer for the country.
In 1995, I was watching the Wimbledon finals between Pete Sampras and Boris Becker in my living room with my father. He loved the sport and it very easily resonated with me. I was so amazed by Tennis and of course the immaculate performance by Pete Sampras that something inside of me changed my love for cricket and made me want to pick up a racket and take up tennis as my primary sport. I almost instantly stopped playing cricket and started training in Tennis at a Gymkhana near my house. ‘Pete Sampras’ became my Tendulkar of the Tennis world. I idolised him so much so that I would mimic his every move. From that tongue out during service to that signature serving style, to that trademark backhand, I would try and emulate his game as much as I could. Post the Sampras era; it was the age of sheer domination by Roger Federer that caught my attention. I always felt that he was an advanced version of Sampras and I immediately fell in love with his style of tennis. Of course, I picked up a bandana and started wearing it everytime I played.
As I grew older, music took over my life, and outdoor activities took a back seat. For many years, I hardly played any sport. With the life of a musician or a music lover, comes late nights, junk food and eating at odd times. I lived a very unhealthy life in this phase. Smoked a dozen or more cigarettes a day, ate a lot of junk food (back then I didn’t appreciate the luxury of getting home cooked food), stayed up most of the night either watching some show or playing some game or my guitar. I loved what I was doing at that moment, and I guess at that age you don’t think about your health as much as you do when you grow older. Some people don’t think about it even when they become older.
Over the years, I have phased out of watching cricket and tennis. But I do enjoy watching a good game once in a while. For example, the Australian Open 2017 Finals between Federer and Nadal made me very nostalgic. Currently, I religiously follow MotoGP & MMA. It’s an integral part of my life, and I always make time for a race or a fight. In the midst of all of this, I have rediscovered my love for running. After recovering from a knee injury that kept me away from physical activity for a few months, I have now started training for my first half marathon in Chennai in January 2019. Although music still plays a significant part in my life, I realised that the lifestyle that comes with it is a matter of choice.
Judging by this pattern that’s been a part of my life for almost two decades, there might be a time later on in my life that I might start liking some other type of sport and start following it. Whatever that may be, one thing is for sure, sports will always be a part of my life.