The world is full of wonders and miracles. Milkha Singh was one of them. I had heard about the 'Flying Sikh' since my childhood. A village boy who ran barefoot rising from the scratch to make India proud at the Olympic stage; he was a miracle that would happen only once.
Running alongside him is a dreamlike opportunity. I have nothing to do with athletics. Like any other child, I had taken part in sports events at school and that was my only association with athletics. However, I was incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to run with the great man once; something that even our iconic sportspersons could not even dream about!
I had a feeling of indescribable joy while shooting an ad film with Milkha for the Kochi half-marathon some years ago. I knew that the man standing next to me was not just an athlete, but a slice of Indian sports history. A flood of emotions rushed into me as I thought about running with him. It turned out to be a warm and friendly meeting. I stood listening to him with childlike curiosity as he talked about his family and the biopic made on him. He also spoke with pride of his son, golfer Jeev Milkha Singh. Being an army man, he behaved and conducted himself in an orderly way. He made everyone around him comfortable with his polite and cordial demeanour.
The shoot was over in a day. I really wanted to spend some more time with him as he was a treasure trove of inspiring stories. I wished to hear from him about his historic performance at the 1960 Rome Olympics. However, due to his busy schedule, he had to fly back immediately. Before bidding goodbye, he invited me to his home. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet him and I will always cherish the moments we spent together.