His sense of adventure has enabled him enjoy life outside the sport

A secret sorrow or two could have prompted Gagan Narang’s shift of base from Hyderabad, where he has lived since early childhood, to Pune. 

His father B.S. Narang’s footwear would have worn thin, doing the rounds of offices of bureaucrats and sports officialdom, seeking support for his son. Although his folks are originally from Panipat, pivotal to India’s history, the Andhra Pradesh government’s affections have been showered more on another sportsperson, also hailing from Haryana but now settled in Hyderabad.

A leading German weapon-maker found the magnificent marksman worthy to grace their calendar, but nearer home in Andhra Pradesh, a skeet shooter who never made the top 50 in international competition was preferred over Gagan as the State’s brand ambassador!

Study in contrast

His physique, forever in a battle of the bulge, (his weakness for Hyderabadi biriyani only too well-known!), is a study in contrast to the priming of precision his sport demands. Similarly surprising is the skill with which he drives vehicles of various sizes through terrible traffic in Hyderabad, the worst in the world perhaps. 

If shooting jackets are stitched to fit in his burgeoning build, so do his ever-alert eyes flit between the car’s mirrors to weave a way through the maze, not a scratch marring the automobile’s sheen.

Sense of adventure

From the heights of holding the 10m air rifle world record, he has plumbed the depths of despair too.

While shooting is without doubt his passion, a sense of adventure finds him exploring everything ranging from photography to the latest gizmos in the market, imparting a certain freshness to his craft and enabling him enjoy life outside the sport.

Gagan’s collection of photographs should have crossed a lakh, his prints adorning a book he co-authored and earning the respect of the professional paparazzi too! If his stint with Affalterbach in the German Bundesliga has seen him grow as a crackshot, so have his forays into baking borne fruit in the form of Christmas cookies, rich in almonds and coated in marzipan!

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