Welcoming the YI team warmly into his humble abode, Sangram Singh speaks to Nancy Varghese about his sparkling wrestling career and how he made his way into the Indian reality TV show scenario, keeping his physique just as commendable as ever while making a difference in the lives of many aspiring professional wrestlers out there
You contracted rheumatic arthritis at a very young age, what inspired you to become a professional wrestler then?
In Haryana, you’ll find a wrestler in every home. My brother was a state level wrestler. I was born a very weak child and I contracted rheumatic arthritis. If you’re lying down and your bones shift even a little with your body, you will scream out in pain. It used to take me an hour to get out of bed after I wake up every morning. Doctors say that 99.9% of the time, the disease cannot be cured. There was a wrestling tournament in the village once. I asked a friend of mine to take me along. I saw that the wrestlers were getting milk, even money. The mentor who trained wrestlers asked me what I was doing there and I told him that I want to be a wrestler as well. He said “You should be born a wrestler. For you to be able to walk is probably the biggest achievement right now.” That’s what made me wish I was a wrestler as well. Since then, I used to dream everyday of becoming one.
How did you prepare for the legendary match against Joe Legend?
If you take out the tag of a wrestler from my name, I cease to be anything else. So this was a comeback match for me. There was a lot of happiness, but just as much pressure. I used to be jolted awake every time I managed to fall asleep. In spite of having nothing but juice and fruits, I couldn’t keep myself from throwing up. I was a nervous wreck for the whole night. No matter how big or small the match, there is always pressure that you will face and the higher you climb in your ladder of success, the more intense the pressure gets. On the day of the match, I saw the stadium jam packed with people. When they played our national anthem, I took a look at the belt and it had our tricolour on it. That’s when it struck me: this is for us. Let’s do this.
You have already made your TV debut. Do you plan to do a lot more shows or even consider Bollywood as a prospective career option?
I like working in TV shows. Bigg Boss, Survivor, Nach Baliye are some of the shows that I had a lot of fun doing. I believe that one should keep stay connected with television and entertainment in general. Sport is a very niche category that not more than 12 to 15 percent people take avid interest in or follow. Most of the general audience is more attuned to content that is generated for the masses. People are aware that I am a wrestler but even children that play below my building know me from TV shows that I have been a part of. I will definitely consider movies that I am interested in. I actually do have a couple of shows coming up, some of them still being in the process of being written and directed. You will definitely come to know when it’s out.
What advice would you give to our readers?
Don’t give up, ever. Keep at it. Sometimes it’s the very last stage of your effort that success lies hidden. 10 rupees, 50 rupees, 100 and even 1000 rupees are printed on the same piece of paper, but they’re all placed at different levels because of the value that you attach to that one piece of paper. Like the piece of paper, it’s up to you to decide the kind of value you want to attach to yourself in this world.
The first thing you do as soon as you wake up
The most important thing on your to- do list before a match
Give myself a pep talk, tell myself that I can definitely do this and seek blessings of my parents
Your 3 top fitness tips
Drink lots of water, eat home cooked meals, and work out just as much as you eat.
If you were to describe Indian reality shows in a phrase?
Ek aisi sabzi jismein 100 rupay ki paneer hai, 100 rupay ke tamatar hain, 100 rupay ke pyaaz hain, lekin 2 rupay ka namak nahi hai! (A dish which has rupees 100 worth of cottage cheese, tomatoes and onions each but doesn’t even consist of two rupees worth of salt in it!)
Volume 5 Issue 3