Sport yearns for romantic stories. Especially when the hero of those dream-come trues is a less-privileged underdog.
But dreams are not the realm of the disadvantaged alone: The protagonist of this story is the son of actors Archana Puran Singh and Parmeet Sethi. He has rarely been denied anything in life and literally lives in the lap of luxury-a bungalow with a garden and a car at his disposal. It would be easy to be indulgent and take all of this for granted. Instead, Aaryamann opts for a harder life. Football is his chosen path. “It’s not surprising given that the first word he said was ‘ball,’” says Archana.
Aaryamann, 13, is one of the more promising juniors in the country. He represented India in the Asian Football Confederation’s U-13 nine-nation football festival in Iran last May and returned as the most successful striker with nine goals. Aaryamann also now trains with Mahindra United.
“I want to be a professional footballer, because at the moment I love it,” adds the Wayne Rooney and Manchester United fan. “And, of course, it will be great if I can earn some money from it.”
He has grown up listening to his actor dad say, ‘Success is 1 per cent talent, 99 per cent hard work.’ Aaryamann is the hard worker. His day starts at 5am with football training, followed by school and by the time he’s back after a session with the Mahindra lads, it’s time for bed.
He does physical conditioning with athletics coach Ajit Kulkarni. Aaryamann has already touched 5’10’’ and has been marked out by the junior coaches for striking duties because of his physique.
Before joining films, Parmeet was an athlete, footballer and boxer. Archana played table tennis. But though his parents shifted focus, this teenager is convinced he won’t. And mum and dad have only nurtured that passion. “They are a little too supportive,” he chuckles.
“I think it is important for families like us to look at sports,” Archana says. “Because, fortunately, we have the resources that can take care of them even if they don’t make it big.”