An Indian Sport Shooter
a beautiful Journey
I started shooting when I was 16 years old. As a child I loved guns, but never thought of taking up shooting as a sport. At that time, it was my dream to be a Neurologist. My uncle has a business in guns, so because of him I was exposed to pistols from my childhood. I used to love shooting pistols, just for the thrill of it. It was in 2006, when I was studying for my pre-medical exams, that I thought of shooting, just as a hobby. At that time it was only meant as a distraction from a hectic schedule including hours of studying. I never thought that this is what I would eventually end up doing for the rest of my life. But when I took up shooting my father and uncle not only supported me, but also helped me in every step of the way, and the rest is History. Though it was supposed to be only a hobby, but I started winning medals at the matches that I used to participate in. My victories motivated me to keep going on in Shooting. Even though I got selected in a reputed Dental college and later on went on to be a doctor, I could never give up Shooting. I felt that there may be thousands of doctors like me or even better than me in India, but I am the best woman Pistol shooter in this country, so I can serve my country better by being a Shooter than being a dentist.
Today, it has been more than a decade that I have been Shooting. I may have won a number of medals, or lost even more, but it’s the journey that has been amazing. It’s full of sacrifices, joy, agony, hard-work, criticism, laughter, tears, pain, injuries and so many indescribable emotions, but it’s beautiful. I am also lucky to have found the love of my life, Ronak, on the Shooting Range. But the journey is far from over yet, and I can’t wait for new chapters to unravel.
WHAT DOES SHOOTING
MEAN TO ME?
For me Shooting is a quest that helps me explore myself. Shooting takes me to unexplored territories of my own mind and body. For me the process of shooting itself is beautiful. Even though I end up doing the same thing for every shot and every day, yet every shot and every second is so different but I strive for consistency, within and without. The most important quality as a shooter is to be an observant…to observe changes, improvements and even failures. One has to observe even minute nuances to find answers. One should stick with the facts and if they lead to questioning even the most basic aspect of one’s technique or mindset then a shooter should not be scared to make changes. Being open to self-criticism and self-improvement can be the biggest weapons of a Shooter.
Great part of shooting comes from a Shooter’s mind. Every Shooter approaches a match in a different way. Shooters have to perform under high levels of pressure. For me I have always found that getting ‘connected’ with myself in pressure situations is crucial. Under pressure usually the situation seems much bigger than us, we forget ourselves and get fixated with the situation or in most the outcome of that situation. One has to remember that Outcome is the result of the Process. My job is to do the Process right and not be fixated with the Outcome. I consider myself a Winner when I follow my Process not when I win a medal.
My Strengths and Weaknesses
I think my biggest strength is my willingness to work hard and I can sustain high levels of concentration for a long period of time. If there is some problem I have identified than I will leave no stone unturned to solve it, no matter what it demands from me.
My biggest weakness is that sometimes I can get too critical of myself. I always push myself to try and get better every day, but sometimes I feel I should enjoy the good moments too. It’s important to always remember and acknowledge the Present and not get too caught up in our race to make our Future better.
I believe in dreams
not role models
I credit my success to my will, and my dreams that have constantly pushed me. I have always worked hard, even as a child. I have never shied away from making sacrifices to realize my dreams. And most importantly, I not only saw these dreams, I always believed that I could achieve them. I have always admired people that show strong will power and never-say-die attitude, but I have never had any role models. I believe one must find their path and try to realize their own potential, rather than trying to be like someone else. No two people can be the same; everybody faces different problems or challenges in their lives. Although we may find inspiration from other people who have faced similar or even tougher challenges, but I believe having Vision for oneself is better than having a Role Model.
Winning Gold doesn’t mean I Won,
not winning it doesn’t mean I Lost…
It was difficult to accept these highs and lows as a budding shooter, but over the years I eventually realized that winning and losing is not my job. My job is to follow my process better than anybody else, or better than what I did yesterday. For me that is winning. Shooters that win the Olympic Gold may not be best shooters on the planet, but they were the best shooters on that day because they followed the process without fear or attachment to losing or winning. Our constant endeavor to be better than ourselves and everybody else starts defining us, not the medals or lack of them.
Proudest moment so far
Being world No. 1 was a proud moment for me because I was the first Indian Pistol shooter to have achieved that and that made me feel that I have served my country well.
When I won the Gold medal at the World Cup Finals in 2013 that was also a proud moment for me because I had won the medal with a Finals World Record which remained unbeaten. It was one of those moments which I did not appreciate then as I was being too critical of myself even after getting the Gold but I cherish it today. As a child when I started shooting it was my dream to make a World Record. I never thought that I’ll be able to live my dream one day.
I like to read a lot. I like reading books on Sports, Psychology, Medicine, Anatomy, Fiction or even books on Interior Designing which is something I am studying now and am quite passionate about it. You may also find me Drawing, Sketching or Painting. I also love to travel and explore new places and new cuisines. I love travelling because going to unknown places helps me connect with myself. We get too comfortable in our own little Worlds. I feel when I go to an unknown, new place I discover myself and it acts like food for my mind. You can know more about my journeys from my Blog.
My future goal is of course the Olympics. As you can see from the Olympic Clock on this website, the Olympics does not take four years to come. Every second is bringing it closer, and we have to work hard every second.