Length: 160 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A young boy who is forced to run to save his life during the Partition of India and Pakistan never stops running. He ran from the police as a young delinquent who stole to survive, he ran as an army recruit who ran to win the privilege of an extra glass of milk, and he ran to win races and hearts as he became one of the greatest athletes of India and the world.
The race of my life is the autobiography of the man who came from extremely simple beginnings to reach the pinnacle of fame and success. It is an insight into the thought and effort that remain behind his numerous victories and few defeats. And, it is a peek into the personal and professional life of a man made by sports and his view on the make up of sports in India.
A raw take on the joy and pain that turned Milkha Singh into The Flying Sikh, The race of my life is a quick and emotional read with high impact. It leaves little to the imagination as Milkha Singh unabashedly recounts the horrors of the Partition and the difficulties that followed. And then, it shows you the ability of the human mind to turn such horror into the impetus that can drive someone to achieve greatness. The book also gives you a deeper insight into the mentality of a sportsman and the manners in which performances of athletes can be affected by things seeming so mundane to others. Most importantly, the book relates how hard work and determination can help you achieve anything on which you set your heart. And it does it all effortlessly.
The best part about the autobiography is that you get to see the life of a man who came from the simplest of beginnings to achieve great success, and you get to see it from his point of view. You get to experience the wonder and amazement that he did on his first trip out of the country, the pride at bringing honor to his country, the unparalleled joy of victory, and even the bitterness of defeat. Milkha Singh has not minced his words or sugar coated the grueling dedication it takes to achieve such success. It is a blatant and open look into what makes great sportspeople great. And in being that, it evokes passion within readers to find such dedication within themselves.
Yet, it helps those people who yearn to make a name for themselves in sports become completely aware of the journey on which they’re setting forth. It isn’t only about glory and fame. Milkha Singh paints a clear picture on the drawbacks that exist in the sports infrastructure of the country and is explicit about the problems and challenges that can be expected. He even offers advice on bringing about positive change and he does all of this while calling upon his own experience as an athlete and as a sports administrator.
Emotional and direct, The race of my life is a book everyone must read, whether you are interested in sports or not and whether you’ve seen the movie or not; because the book is more than the recounts of an athlete, it is the telling of an incredible journey that can be an inspiration to everyone as it depicts that sometimes, from great adversity, comes great ambition.