I have always felt that a special power runs the universe. Otherwise, why me? Many others could have reached the level I did, but I was chosen to achieve something in my life. That someone is Waheguruji or God. Someone answered the prayers and wishes of my near and dear ones, of my family and my sisters. After all, it was my father who was supposed to achieve many things in life but he could not. He passed away very early.
I hail from a religious family. Since childhood, I have seen my parents rise early and do their morning paath (recital of the scriptures). But I never actually prayed hard until my dad died. When he was there, we were never in want, so I never felt the need to ask God for anything. I remember, when he was hospitalised, I went to the gurdwara and prayed for his speedy recovery.
After he died, I prayed to God to help me take care of my mother and five sisters. That was, perhaps the first time I realised there is a special power up there. I was just 18 then. Our guruji at the Shri Bhikowal Sahib Gurdwara played a huge role in my life. He is the messenger of God for me. Whatever I asked, I got, thanks to him.
Every morning before a match or practice, I wake up and do my Jap Ji Sahib paath. I carry my gutka (a small book with chosen passages from the scriptures) with me everywhere. Every evening, I thank God for the day. I remember the time I went through a very rough phase when playing for India in 2006. I was not getting too many wickets. Greg ‘The Shark’ Chappell was coach then. We had an ODI match coming up in Delhi against England. He was ready to bite me. When in Delhi, I visited Bangla Sahib Gurdwara before the match. I begged God to take care of his child; to help me succeed. That evening I got a fiver (5/31). India won by 31 runs and I was declared man of the match.
One of the most important moments of my life was in 2006, when India was touring Pakistan and I got a chance to pay obeisance at the Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib gurdwaras. Interestingly, whatever my father dreamt of—of achieving success as a sportsperson, or visiting Nankana Sahibji—I have been lucky enough to fulfil them. He got his passport with a desire to visit these historic gurdwaras as a pilgrim, but he could not go. I told myself that I must fulfil his wish. It was a very moving experience for me. Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and I went to Nankana Sahibji. Standing in the courtyard at Guru Nanak Dev ji’s house, I went numb, and only one thought kept going through my mind: “Mere Babaji da ghar hai” (This is the house of my Baba). It is God’s blessings only that I have been able to fulfil my father’s wishes.
Singh is a World Cup-winning cricketer for India.
—As told to Neeru Bhatia