Hailing from Patna, Muskan, all of 13, comes from a place where the notion of a girl playing basketball is as distant as Florida is from Bihar.
Therefore, ever since she picked up the ball at the age of six, Muskan has been subjected to taunts ranging from her wearing a sleeveless jersey while playing to mixing with boys in her vicinity.
Even her coaches who introduced her to the nuances of the sport, did not stop short from demotivating her at an early age, which pushed her to the point of depression, barely at the age of 11.
"It's like people will say a lot of things. They will demotivate you so much, even if it's your coach," Muskan told on the sidelines of the U-14 meet where 10 boys and 10 girls are representing India.
"Since I used to wear sleeveless clothes and play, people were like we can see your inner and this is no way for a girl to dress," said the pocket-sized point guard blessed with blistering pace.
"It was so depressing, I almost slipped into depression. It affected my game and studies. During this time, I had the backing of my parents and that kept me going.
"It was so bad that I stopped going to the court and instead travelled 10 kms to go to another court."
Muskan practised for almost six years at the Mata Rani Mandir B.m.p. 1 Gorkha Battalion Campus where her father, Ghanshyam Singh, is a police constable.
"The coach who works at B.m.p. used to stay near our place. I was six years old when I first picked up a basketball. I used to trouble everyone at home by playing with that ball.
"Then my parents spoke to the coach who then invited me to play at the campus just like that for time-pass. I did not want to go at all.
"I had three coaches Niranjan Kumar, Bhopal Singh Rana, Krishna Mishra. They are all policemen and friends to my father."
Muskan took part in the junior NBA skills challenge in 2017 and got selected, but the call-up for the East Zone team selection in Kolkata never came.
"I got to know about it (skills challenge) from friends. My coaches (Abhijit Yadav, Dheeraj Ranjan) told me about it too. I got selected in the tryouts but the call for East Zone team to be made in Kolkata did not come that year.
"In 2018 I again appeared for the skills challenge and again for months I had to wait for a call-up in the East Zone team. Finally I got a call from them and I thought it was a prank," she said, chuckling.
Muskan was then picked for the nationals where she represented East Zone and caught the eye of the selectors who picked her for the final list of 40 boys and girls for the second edition of the basketball tourney.
Muskan, who top-scored in the girls' first game against Latin America with 13 points and played in the other two outings as well, then made the final cut from the two-day selection camp at the NBA Academy India in Delhi NCR.
"I cannot forget those days where I would talk to myself, saying don't give up. Only my family and friends supported me. I have proved a lot of people wrong to come here. I have to make the most of this opportunity," she said.
Muskan was part of the 36th youth national basketball championship this year in Coimbatore and now dreams of representing India on a regular basis.
"I want to play for India going forward. I want to play the Asia Cup. I went for U-16 nationals in Coimbatore. I hope I get selected," concluded the P.V. Sindhu fan.
( With inputs from IANS )