Tag Archives: autobiography

A Turbulent Mind

A Turbulent Mind is written from heart. Written by my good friend Swetha Amit, whom i know for a good many years. She has chronicled her journey from an unsure, turbulent, self conscious individual to a confident, determined, dedicated woman going on to conquer Ironman 70.3. Many of us are runners, marathoners, mountaineers, tennis players, footballers etc. We have seen pictures and images of multi sport people on our television, sportspersons like Daley Thompson, Swapna Barman, decathletes and heptathles, those sportspersons who compete in 10 sports and 7 sports respectively. That is for professional sportspersons. The closest that amateur individual can come close to achieving that kind of super stardom status is by taking part in a sport called triathlon, which comprises of three sports, i.e. swimming in open waters, cycling and running all done back to back with cut offs at each sport. To do that and also carry on with your normal daily life routines takes some miraculous will power and determination. Swetha did all that within a few months of reaching US on a work assignment which took her hubby there. Having to juggle sports times for 3 sports, plus strength training, stretching and then your family time, household work, shopping, etc. all in a day in the US where you don’t get household help unlike in India and also to ensure that one gets adequate sleep takes some kind of planning and clockwork precision. Luckily the sport has many advantages in US where you get good open water swimming facilities and cycling lanes unlike in India. Along the way Swetha has conquered her fear of open water swimming, and hill cycling and conquered her inner demons on the way to her Ironman 70.3 medal.  Swetha has written her journey very well, very meticulously detailing all her thoughts, fears, aspirations, in a very simple language. She has written from her heart. Highly recommended for all sports persons and those planning to take up triathlon shortly.  Goodreads 5/5

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Guitar Man

Guitar Man by Will Hodgkinson is an autobiographical journey of a 30s Britisher to learn guitar having virtually no musical brain at all since his birth. But it turns out to be delightful journey of the guitar itself. Will delves into the history of the guitar taking us to its roots. Enroute he takes us through some of the musical greats who have played guitar and he interviews a few of them and travels to US to delve into the Nashville blues, Memphis rock & roll, Mississippi delta blues all the way taking some lessons or two from the guitar masters, many of them reclusive ones. First up is an intro to Davey Graham who seems to be an iconical guitar player and his composition “Anji” is certainly one up at the top. Davey influenced guitarists like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton among others. When i listened to Anji it certainly inspired me, it is apparently a difficult piece of composition and many seasoned guitarists have tried to play it without any success.  Being a lifelong music fan especially of the blues, this book resonates very much with me. Blues is one genre i love very much and it is one genre that has not died down the ages. Will’s narrative is fluid, easy going laced with humour, having to navigate learning guitar and form a band of sorts, take care of his wife and kids as well. Highly likeable book for those who like music and the blues. Goodreads 5/5

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Unbreakable – MC Mary Kom

mary kom

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant autobiography of one of India’s most famous sports MC Mary Kom. Written in an endearingly simple narrative, the autobiography talks to you so beautifully. Her struggles in a poor family, lack of resources, lack of training facilities, unknown sport, language troubles, food troubles, Mary takes it all in her chin and fights her way to glory. Mary’s life is that of a simple unknown athlete who rose to her fame through sheer grit, determination and hard work. “Look at me. I am a nobody who became a sporting icon only because of my consistent hard work”

Mary Kom is the only champion to win the World Championships a record 6 times and has a medal in all the 7 World Championships.  She is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 at Incheon, South Korea and is the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Probably the best sports autobiography that i have read in a long time after that of Bill Rogers’ “Marathon Man” and “Letters to a young Gymnast” by Nadia Comaneci.

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My Autobiography by Dickie Bird

Just finished reading an absorbing, engaging and enthralling autobiography of Dickie Bird, the most loved and most famous cricket umpire in the world, well, at least in my living memory. It is a first time that i am reading an autobiography of an umpire and obviously he is the most loved one. Therefore it was a completely different perspective to look at cricket from the point of view of an umpire. The narrative is brilliant and flowing and he talks of his early childhood playing cricket in Barnsley in Yorkshire and thereafter his progression to a cricket umpire. There are little anecdotes of match situations thrown in liberally throughout the book. He talks of rain hit matches, sun hit matches (yes, there was one match which was stopped momentarily because the sun’s rays were being reflected upon the eyes of the fielders through the glass box of corporate boxes) crowd booing, state of the pitches, use of technology in cricket, decisions etc. The man virtually lives and breathes cricket and therefore it was an entirely refreshing book. That he has umpired some of the most famous matches in the 24 years that he was an umpire and stood when some of the most famous bowlers of the time were bowling, such as Holding, Roberts, Garner, Marshall, Lillee, Thompson, Kapil Dev, Hadlee, Botham, Underwood, etc. is by itself a sheer tribute to the man’s greatness. Highly recommended for reading for all cricket fans. 

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