The Race of My Life: An Autobiography

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Conversation with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra


It is really difficult to be objective when you have a father as decorated as mine. His legendary deeds on the track have inspired a nation, and I surely have benefited the most because of my proximity to him.

By the time I grew up and became aware of things, he was done with his athletics career. That will always be a regret because I have never seen him run in an event. But I have felt his influence as an amazing human being every moment of my life.

Things are a lot easier for kids in our country who want to take up sports as a profession now, but when I was in my teenage years, not many parents would have taken kindly to their child’s dream of becoming a professional sportsman. But not my father. I think the greatest gift he has given me, apart from his genes, is not knowing the meaning of the word ‘impossible’, and his never-say-die attitude, evident in the wonderful support and guidance in helping me chart my own life and career.

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He had dreams of me becoming an Indian Administrative Services officer. But when I professed that I wanted to pursue a career in golf, the only thing he told me was that I have to be the very best in business. I do have to thank my dad for the life that I have. If not for his love for golf after giving up running, I would never have followed him to the Chandigarh Gold Club and subsequently fallen in love with the sport.

I don’t think he expects perfection from me, but what he surely insists on is the pursuit of perfection. From very early on, he instilled some life-changing values in me, including total dedication, discipline and determination. Those have helped me achieve whatever I have managed so far in my career.

We have shared a beautiful relationship. I must mention a couple of things about him. Given his involvement with sports, he had a very busy life when we were growing up, but Dad always made sure he had time for my mother and us kids.

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I think the pain of losing most of his family very early on in his life made him cherish what he had even more. And thanks to him and my mother, we are a very close-knit family.

Also, even though he was a strict disciplinarian, he always treated me like a friend. He has always been there to listen to me, and pass me nuggets of great wisdom that he acquired throughout his life. In fact, I have had the first drink of my life with my father and not with my teenage friends. That was the kind of freedom he gave me.

I am glad that Rupa Publications India are publishing his autobiography. His journey has been truly amazing and I hope it will motivate the readers as much as it has motivated me.

Let me leave with you with one thing that my dad always says: you can achieve anything in life. It just depends how desperate you are to achieve it.

Jeev Milkha Singh

May 2013


When I reflect upon my life, I can clearly see how my passion for running has dominated my life. The images that flash through my mind are those of me running…running…running…

· Sprinting from one shady patch to another to escape the blistering heat of the sun on my journey to school· Fleeing the massacre on that fearsome night when most of my family was slaughtered

· Racing trains for fun· Outrunning the police when I was caught stealing in Shahdara· Leaving everyone behind in my first race as an army jawan so that I could get an extra glass of milk

· Surging past my competitors in Tokyo when I was declared Asia’s Best Athlete

· Running in Pakistan and being hailed as ‘The Flying Sikh’

Each of these moments bring back bittersweet memories as they represent the different stages of my life, a life that has been kept afloat by my intense determination to triumph in my chosen vocation.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Rupa Publications India (28 July 2013)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 8129129108
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-8129129109
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 150 g
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.1 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ India

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