14.

My brother Mantu was so fond of my athletics. At the competition time, he used to get all the anxieties and worries on my behalf. And whenever I won the race, his chest used to become so much larger! When I was participating, he was so one-pointed for me to become first in everything. Then the funniest thing happened. We had quite a few harmoniums. One year somebody happened to score more than I did in the decathlon event. So Mantu gave my harmonium to him. Mantu said he deserved it because he was a good singer and he did not have a harmonium. So he gave away my harmonium. The same brother, can you imagine!

Over the years, my disciples have given me many pairs of running shoes. Ongkar has given many, Unnatishil has given many. But it was too late. They should have given me shoes while I was in India. At that time I needed shoes desperately. When I was a champion runner, I had to run barefoot, barefoot, barefoot. Poor me, I did not have shoes. Here is the proof that my hour and God's Hour do not have to be the same.

But when I became the decathlon champion for the second time, I got a gold medallion plus a pair of shoes. Alas, the shoes were too big for me. They did not fit. Bad luck!

For 16 years uninterrupted, I stood first in sprinting. Long jump I won many, many times. Shot put also I won for 14 or 15 years and 400 metres for about 14 years. In javelin I was quite good.

Of all the items, my worst was 1500 metres. I used to practise once a year from the day of the competition until the day of the next competition. Why? Because we had a wonderful theory that if you practise long distance running, your 100-metre sprint will suffer; you will not be able to run on your toes. It was such a stupid idea! Up to 400 metres I practised, but 1500 metres only once per year. In other distances —- 3,000m, 5,000m — I was worse than the worst.

The Mother could not believe how bad I was at those distances. She said, "How is it that in 100 metres he is the fastest, but in long distance he is so bad?"

Her attendant said, "Mother, these are two different things. Usually, sprinters cannot do middle distance or long distance." It is so true!

There were some other sprinters in my boat. When we completed one round in those long races, some other runners had completed three rounds! After one round, we used to get thunderous applause. We thought that the audience was clapping for us because we were running so badly. Who knows whether they were clapping for us or for those who were defeating us by so much? But we sincerely felt they were clapping for us.

In the decathlon, my worst event was the 1500 metres. But in all the other events I did very well.