Dangal – an eye opener

I watched Dangal yesterday.

As you might know if you happen to visit this blog often, I have taken up shooting professionally in 2016. Seeing the Phogat sisters slog at 5 AM in the morning, I was considerably moved. This is what hard work looks like.

When Geeta Phogat went on thrashing one after another contender in the National Championships – with no other worthy challenger, my mind went back to the National Shooting Championship Competitions (NSCC) that I had just been a part of. There was a vast difference between entry-level athletes, regular athletes and the world class athletes.

Was the difference only in skill? No. The primary difference is ‘how seriously do you take your sport?’

The difference is truly revealed when a National level Champion moves to the International circles. It’s like climbing the highest local peak (in a plateau area) and immediately having to climb Mount Everest in all its harshest climatic glory without any necessary training. It is a rude shock – for those who let their focus slip after becoming a known name in the Nationals.

Every scene in the movie, coupled with the memory of every shot I took at the NSCC has given me a much needed rude awakening. Let’s face it – shooting 40-60 pellets a day after some limbering exercises, feigned meditation and 30 mins of holding doesn’t a world class shooter make.

Geeta and Babita’s Dad quit his job to devote his 100% to coaching them. I have quit my job to devote my 100% to becoming a good shooter. Not having a working day creates an illusion of having ample time on your hands. You do every little household chore that you think needs to be done, you make time to accommodate almost all requests of friends and family, and with the time that remains – you make hay while the sun shines – you goof off! (Reading every other ’10 things…’ article, scanning FB feeds with no agenda in mind, etc. I can think of a million things that I don’t want to or shouldn’t do and I am doing.)

I need to become ‘hanikarak’ for myself and start working towards the goal that I have set for myself. It ain’t easy, but it ain’t hard too. I was one of the ‘mediocre’ athletes in NSCC (who are labelled aspiring along with all the real aspiring deals out there. I might add, there are even ‘renowned shots’ who are mediocre, but let’s not get into that.)

Abhinav Bindra laments the increasing number of wildcards, which render the NSCC less reputable, and make it tough for the seasoned athletes to concentrate on their game. I might not completely agree, but I get where he’s coming from. If there is no serious competition, it can be disheartening for the International-level athletes to compete with little or no serious competition. (Then there is also the lack of glamour that they deserve at the medal distribution. There is hardly any crowd to see and snap them at the podium, but I digress.) The bottomline is most Indians – players, coaches, sports officials and bystanders alike – take our sports too lightly.

I had gone easy on myself since I knew I got into the Nationals. I just wanted the ‘feel’ of the games. There’s nothing wrong in it, but going easy should not mean not living up to your everyday potential. The week before the Nationals, we had a family event, and I kinda ignored my training. Probably I would not have, if I were younger, and did not have any other responsibilities. Is this true? I ask myself, and the answer is a resounding NO.

I have always found a way to not give enough and justify it. At times it is the lack of guidance, lack of confidence, lack of energy, lack of time and above all – the unwarranted sense of contentment that I use as blinds to stop the reality glaring me in the eyes. The reality is – I ain’t doing enough!

I need to take a leaf out of Dangal, and start prepping with a willing heart. My eyes have been opened. Let’s do this!

Resolutions 2017

2017 will be the year of achievements and learning.

I am quitting my side job to focus on shooting. It will also give me time to look after my blog, and learn coding again.

Here are the resolutions :

  1. Win a medal.
  2. Earn money blogging.
  3. Code using SWIFT and also develop an end-to-end iOS app with cloud hosting and web services.
  4. Write a tech blog.
  5. Write a shooting blog.
  6. Write actively on thedamsel.in.
  7. Read 100 books.
  8. Write short stories and creative pieces.
  9. Complete April A-Z Challenge and February Ramblings.
  10. Eat right, exercise and get a fit body. Participate in at least one marathon.

I am going easy on me this year, and setting fairly achievable goals.


A photo posted by Ruchi Moré (@thedamselin) on

Most of my resolutions this year are related to writing. This is conscious, because I feel writing has taken a backseat since I left my day job in 2015. I had taken a break to write and I took up shooting instead. It has been close to 6 years that I have a blog and 4 years since I have this domain.

The initial settling in has been done. Now I need to go to the next level and start implementing SEO and monetisation. (For that I need to write too 😛 )

So here’s to the second innings of blogging!

2017 – The year of achievable goals!


2016 – The year in review


The year I turned 30.

2016 has indeed been the year of preparation.

Here’s my report card :

1. Pursue a sport.

I started shooting on June 1,2016. I continued from where I left in 2015. Then I had completed level 3 – the level where one is supposed to play states. However, since I was to go to Dubai, I requested my coach to let me work on my technique rather than appearing for the matches half-prepared.

There was no stopping after I rejoined. I qualified for the states, then played the pre-nationals. I appeared for the nationals through a wildcard (3 points less than the qualification score). I could not qualify in the nationals, but am heading towards a successful next year.

Here’s to hard work!

2. Start coding again.

This ain’t happening. I took up work by the side in August which kept me busy. Let’s see if I can code in 2017.
3. Write without the fear of your inner editor.

I wrote a lot of gibberish this year. I started NaBloPoMo November and wrote a few odd posts. I almost completed the February ramblings! April’s A-Z Challenge was a disaster.

The positive here is – I am not shying from writing.

Oh, and here is something sensible I heard and wrote.
4. Learn baking.

This will take another decade. It has dropped from my priority list.
5. Prepare a virtual travelogue.

I started travel posts on thedamsel.in, but I did not have enough time.
6. Read 100 books.

I completed 33% of my Goodreads Challenge. (That’s a lot for me, who reads about 10 books a year.) Though it may not have gone as I planned at the outset, this year I have made good use of Kindle Unlimited.  I also exchanged my copy of Undue Influence from Sharjah Book Fair in Pune International Literature Festival.

  1. I finished ALL of Jane Austen’s work barring Lady Susan.
  2. I read George Orwell, whom I was planning to read since 2013.
  3. I read White Shark instead of the planned Jaws reading.

All in all, a good reading year.
7. Draw the fashion designs in your head. Learn to draw, if need be.

I subscribed to an online drawing course which cost me 1250 Rs per month. I continued till 2 months and then quit. There is a fashion design course offered by MITCON Pune, which I was considering taking up, but have decided against it for the moment.
8. Start video blogging/podcasting.

9. Love your blog(s). Let it show.

I monetised my blog today. I gave it a makeover. It has been getting makeovers ‘trial and error’ style for the whole year. So I guess my love is showing.
10. Be your own mentor in all walks of life.

This is what I said mid-year >> Failing terribly. Need to take myself seriously. 

I have improved since. I have kept myself motivated and charged, to be consistent where needed and to be flexible and revise priorities where needed. I am gaining control.


2016 – The year of preparation. 2017 – Off to climb mountains!





Day 1 : How’s life?

NaBloPoMo November 2016
Hello there! How’s life?

I and my friends have a routine. One of us asks How’s life? and the other answers ‘Kat rahi hai’ like the popular ad that was.

I am writing for NaBloPoMo this November. For me, months since October fly by as if the year is over. For me, it’s ‘Wake me up, when January comes…’ Does it happen to you too?

How many months of the year do you spend consciously aware of the time passing by? How many days of the month do you spend consciously aware of the same?

Now Facebook has brought a feature called Memories – each day it feels like the year or years have just flown by. Is that really so?

Enough of the ‘no time to smell roses’ stuff that I seem to always do. My plans for November include playing the pre-national for 10m pistol shooting at Worli (The G V Mavlankar Championship). What are you doing this month?

As far as reading goes, I have finished around 27 books out of the 100 I have pledged to read, for the Goodreads challenge this year. God knows how many I have missed logging. I have been reading consistently though. Right now, I am reading The Peshwa by Ram Sivasankaran.

Wise people have always told me to write regularly – however crappy it seems. So I post this. Do tell me how’s life for you – I am curious, as always.

Erm, and here’s a song that I am addicted to these days :

This might aptly describe my blog’s feelings towards me… 🙂

My first shooting match – MAWC

I played my first MAWC (in 10m Air Pistol) organised by the Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA) this Saturday.

I learned shooting for 3 months last year. This June, I continued from where I had left.

As a novice, it was very difficult to find information about how to go about the match on the internet. Hence, I log my takeaways here for any shooter to find.

  1. The match is total 1.30 hrs, with sighting time. Make sure you reach at least an hour and a half beforehand.
  2. Take permissions for the smallest of things like changing cylinders. The range officers are very cooperative and will guide you throughout. However, this means that they will be strict too if you disobey the range/safety rules.
  3. Take care of hydration and make sure you eat before the match.
  4. It is totally easy to hit straight 10s if you calibrate your pistol right.
  5. Try to fill cylinders beforehand from the range you practice on, because there may or may not be availability of air pressure in the cylinders at the MRA.

If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. Happy shooting!