A 12-year-old Aditya Arora spent most of his summer vacations practising tennis every day at the club. One day after practice, his friends dragged him to a room where professionals played snooker. That could only be said to be the beginning of Arora’s three-decade experience as a snooker player, including at the national level. “Snooker is a mind game and I have always been a fast learner. Snooker is a fancy game; back then not many people knew about it,” says the managing director of Intelenet Global Services.
A very surprised Arora observed the way the players held the cue. He remembers thinking, “You just have to strike the ball in a manner it falls in the pocket. What could be so difficult about it?” After that, it became routine to watch them play every day. He started to look for someone who would teach him the skills too. However, snooker being a costly game, any enthusiast would have to find a club to practice the game. But Arora was fortunate to get the required permission from a sports club. Being a schoolgoing kid, he had little time to play, yet for four years, he played snooker for two hours, twice a week. When he turned 16, Arora was the youngest person in the lot to win the state level championship. “It was unbelievable that I had beaten the guys who had been defeating me for years. They were all elder to me in age and game,” he recalls. A year later, he went on to win the championship in billiard and snooker. Billiard, he adds, is a part of snooker and at that age, it required good mental strength to master both parts of the game. Arora explains that he achieved success with the support of his family, seeing how his father and grandfather had been national level hockey players. Of course, priorities changed after he completed school. “When I was 22, I gave snooker a break because I had to focus on my career,” he says. But his break did not mean that he abandoned the game completely. Arora continued watching snooker on YouTube to always stay connected.
A year-and-a-half later, Arora was back playing again. He says, “The first time was very awkward because I was playing after so long. I felt the need to brush up my skills.” Fast forward to now and even with a lot on his plate, Arora plays once in a week for two hours, although he feels he should be practising for at least six hours instead. “Managing time for work and snooker is tough, but I will certainly participate in snooker championships again,” he signs off.