He is a man who needs no introductions, his work having put India on the global map, The Great Khali's journey has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride. Today, when pausing to applaud his remarkable journey, one cannot help but cringe while hearing the heart-wrenching tale of when his penury-struck parents were unable to even afford his fees of Rs 2.50. Khali, aka Dalip Singh Rana, had to drop out of school and take up a plantation job in the village to earn Rs 5 a day at the tender age of eight.
He was often the subject of ridicule due to his extraordinary size. However, a determined Dalip relentlessly pursued his goal of wrestling, and such was his passion that he did what no Indian had done before: enter the internationally acclaimed WWE arena.
"The Man Who Became Khali", written by the wrestler along with Vinit K. Bansal, is a no-holds-barred account of the man who not only went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship, but also conquered his inner demons and physical anomalies. It is the story of how Dalip Singh Rana became The Great Khali.
According to PTI reports, the Great Khali had a difficult time in school. His friends laughed at him, he could not understand what his teachers taught, and on top of it all, his parents could not even pay his fees.
It was the summer of 1979; the monsoon was awaited and there wasn't any money left for the fees since the crops had dried out. Almost a month had passed since I moved to class II, and the principal was accosting me on a daily basis for not paying the school fees. Then one day, my class teacher abused me in front of the entire class. The other students sneered at me and made fun of me,
writes Khali in the book published by Penguin Random House. He had made up his mind to quit the school, and he says,
My schooling ended forever, and so did my education. My mind was inclined to work - to work for my family and to support my parents.
The pain of poverty had by then reached its highest level. He writes,
One day, when I was with my father, the mat (account keeper) came to him and informed him about a plantation job available in the village. He said that every worker would be paid a sum of Rs 5 per day. As soon as I heard that, my eyes gleamed with excitement. For me, a sum of Rs 5 per day was a huge amount. It struck me that not long ago, we didn't even have Rs 2.50 for my school fees. Compared to that, Rs 5 seemed like a jackpot! I was motivated to work hard for it.
The eight-year-old Khali was initially judged to be physically unsuited to the work. His father was also strictly against it and refused to listen, but later, Khali's determination to help with the family's situation made him talk to the mat, who finally relented. The work was with the forest department for its new campaign to plant some trees in the village. The wrestler recalls,
I had to work at the plant nursery, which was situated some four km down the hill. I had to collect the plants, carry them on my back, travel uphill to the village for another four km and plant them. Once all the trees were planted, I had to go back again and get more seedlings.
On his day in the field, he planted three rounds, which made the account keeper so happy that he took out a small bag from his pocket and took out a five rupee note and gave it to Khali. The international star fondly recalls the moment,
That moment is still fresh in my mind, as if it was only yesterday. It was an inexplicable feeling, something that till date counts as one of my happiest memories. My first earning! I was on cloud nine.
According to Khali, his first real job was, however, as a bodyguard of a businessman who owned a number of restaurants in Shimla. He was paid Rs 1,500 a month, and his food and lodging expenses were also taken care of.
Khali is slated to wrestle in the US again. This will be the first time he will be seen in action after quitting the WWE, confirms Sportskeeda.