When did you start playing Squash?

I guess I was in my third grade when I started. I had a lot of energy which I used only to get myself into trouble (those were the days). My parents wanted me to channel it more productively and so they enrolled me into a squash camp that was being held by coach Sunil Varma and from there, I never looked back.

Are you a Predator or a Buddha on field?

I am at my best when I am a predator because I have an aggressive style of playing, that involves going for the finish at the slightest opening.

Any superstitious belief

Pre-match I like listening to EDM music. I warm up in a quiet place and just before the match, I tend to talk to friends to calm my nerves.

Nothing post-match as such.

One win/loss that you are very proud of

Indian junior Open U15 semi-finals. I was playing Ho Ka Wing of Hong Kong. I was 1-0 up but 9-2 down in the second set. From there I unearthed some of my best squash to take the second game 11-9. I won that match 3-0 and I am very proud of the fact that I was able to keep my cool and go for my shots even from a 7 point deficit.

Lamest excuse

I lost the match because I put on my right sock before the left one (a superstition I’ve outgrown now).

Your ultimate achievement

Being a part of the Indian team that finishes top 3 in the world Junior championship.

Your first match for India

Asian juniors in Jordan. I wore the India t-shirt 5 hours before the match and I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest once I get on court. It was not a very difficult match but definitely a memory I cherish.

Who is your favorite opponent?

I like playing foreigners because their game style is very different from mine. I have to give it my all to win those matches we aren’t acquainted with the each other’s tactics in the game.

Who had the greatest influence in your life?

Without a doubt, I would say that my parents have influenced me a great deal. My father played cricket for his university and therefore has been very understanding and very supportive of my sport. We have countless arguments, but I can always depend on him for a firm, unbiased opinion. My mother is one of the most selfless people I know and she is always around with whatever I need, in terms of a pep talk/food/ time. They have played a huge role in my career.

Secret skills

I read incredibly fast; I can finish two novels in a day. Also, I can get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time- as I’ve discovered before EVERY exam I’ve ever given.

One friend you want to accompany in a deserted island

Akanksha Salunkhe. We have a great rapport on and off court. We have known each other for a long time and been roommates as well. I think we would safely joke around and survive with our sanity intact.

Idea of getting inked

It would be a Harry Potter quote or ‘work-in-progress’ tattooed just below my collar bone.

Goals

Short term goals would be to make it to the World Junior women’s team and my long term goal would be to play at no.1 for Yale.

Favorite club

Golden State warriors because I am a huge fan of Stephen Curry and basketball.

Funniest childhood memory

There was a retired Army general who liked to relax in the garden below our flat in Jalandhar. I would scream ‘Sabak sikhaungi’ ( I will teach you a lesson) from my balcony because I watched a lot of Powerpuff girls and he resembled Mojo (the bad guy).

Also, in 7th standard, we made an art teacher resign after we played Holi in her class- with watercolors of course. I was grounded for a month and received the scolding of my life but it was worth every moment.

Most embarrassing moment

I took part in an elocution competition and misheard the prompt as the dangers of ‘terrorism’ instead of ‘television’. Chaos ensued after I talked about it for over a minute.

Describe one moment that you won’t forget

Going on stage to receive the trophy for the first time. I was a runner-up in the Bombay Gymkhana open.

One thing you used to do as a child that you wish you could still do

Play without the pressure of winning or losing- just for the fun and sheer joy of the game.

Your first encounter with a celebrity athlete

Probably Joshna Chinappa. I asked her to give me her headband because I was 11 and I worshiped her.

Your biggest achievements so far

Represented India at Indian Junior Squash Open and won Bronze (2013), Runner-up (2012), Runner-up (2011).

Played Indian Junior National Squash Tournament and was placed Runner-up (2010), Runner-up (2011), 4th (2012), 5th (2013), Bronze (2014).

Won titles in 32 Domestic Squash Tournaments and Runner-up in 13.

Represented India at Asian Junior Individual Squash tournament and was placed 6th (2013), 6th (2014), Quarter-finalist (2011).

Represented India at the Asian Junior Team event 2017.

Records you hold

Probably for the maximum ice cream consumed at one sitting

Your World Ranking and National Ranking

National ranking – currently 5 in GU-19

Asian ranking – 22

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