From muddy place of brick kiln to green turf, hockey came to him accidentally.
Till two years ago, he had never even seen hockey, but today he is a member of the Madhya Pradesh team participating in the National Sub-Junior Hockey Championship.
Story of Rishiraj Mahobiya, originally from a small village in Narsinghpur district, took a curious turn after he shifted to Narsinghpur town following death of his father to earn livelihood for himself and his mother from a brick kiln.
"After coming to Narsinghpur at my maternal uncle’s home, I had no friends, I felt lonely. I used to work as a labourer at a brick kiln after completing 14 years and I would often sit under tamarind tree to take rest. In the ground where this tree stood in the corner, a group of boys used to play hockey. Seeing me under the tree almost daily, coach of the group Rajkumar Chaubey once called me and gave a hockey stick in my hand. That was the first instance when I grabbed the hockey stick," said Mahobiya.
"The coach liked my speed. He asked me to take the ball to the goal post. I did it fast. He asked me to join other players on the ground. That night, I couldn’t sleep due to over excitement. I told my mother that I would play hockey. She smiled and said ‘beta ghar kaise chalega hockey se’ (How will hockey help us earn money?). I didn’t go to the field next day. But I couldn’t stop myself. Third day, I reached the ground. The coach gave me a hockey kit and I started practising hockey," he added.
"My mother always supports me. But it was my selection for the sub-junior national hockey championship being organised in Jammu & Kashmir when it was the first time she said she felt proud of me. It's just like a dream come true for me because I never even imagined in my wildest dreams that I can ever play hockey given my poor financial condition," said Mahobiya with a smile on his face.
Showering praises on Mahobiya, Chaubey said, "He is like an ironman. He makes a fine balance among his studies, work and hockey. He attends school in the morning. He makes bricks in the day and in the evening he practises hockey. I don't think, anyone can put in such a hard labour as he does. Hardly any player can match his speed."