Taking the road less traveled

"I stared at dimly lit screen in my chair.. The lights in the office reminded me of a Hospital lobby and the work was just as grim as an Operation Theater.. I closed my eyes and the thought "Why am I here" crossed my mind for 1,50,000th time "

Sounds familiar?

Well, yeah... It's the story of almost every single white collared graduate who decides to enter the corporate world..

Mine was just a little different. For starters, I had a "life". And no, I don't mean social life ( on the contrary people don't even invite me to parties)

Every morning I wake up at 5 AM, a little weary but happy. I'll lace up my shoes or pick up my bike or just wear my swimming costume and get in a good workout. 1 hour, maybe 2, even 3 on Weekdays and longer on the weekends.

I end my workout, eat, sleep, wake up and then head out to my 2-10 dungeon, aka My Office. (and yes, it is a total of 3.5-4 hour commute along with the 8 hour shift)

Corporate life is sad. Well, mine surely was.(as of writing this I'm about to resign, yay!, more on that ahead).

There was a time when I was reaching work at 10 AM, which means leaving home at 8 and then coming back home at 11:30 PM. No extra pay. No thank you. But if you don't show up then a big "F*ck you".
Saturdays didn't exist. And I had begun to count the hours in the week.
"27 hours to go for the week to end".
It had gone to point where I put myself in a mental state where I had blocked the existence of everyone around me.

Yes, the job was paying me, I got to buy fancy stuff, gear for triathlon(and in a country like India where sponsors are worse than corporate masters, you can't just afford to quit).
But what was the price exactly?
I hated every moment of it.

Till 27th June 2014. When a girl I had just met(and who later became my girlfriend) told me "Have you heard of Masters in Sports Administration?"

It was like Mozart found his dream tune.
Me : "Is that course even for real?"
She : "Yes, my brother has done it"
Me  : "How do I sign up?" (At that point if I had to sell my soul to Satan I would have done it)
She : "You need to give TOEFL, other than that you need to be actively involved in Sports"

Over the course of next 2 years, till I applied, I had done 1 Ironman 70.3, 1 Ironman, qualified to participate in Ultraman Australia (1st Indian Male to be invited in Ultraman and youngest ever in Ultraman Australia).
Even with my B.Tech, I had been a Protocol Liaison Officer for Gibraltar in the Commonwealth Games 2010. I was working as an Assitant Coach to Mr. Deepak Raj of Trianewlife Coaching.
I was working and had worked with Brands like Garmin, Fast & Up, Adidas, Nike, Puma and Unived as an sponsored athlete. I had been part of Nike Ad Campaigns, Nike Running Club as a pacer.
And had done a ton of Half Marathons, Marathons, Ultramarathons, Brevets and become the only Indian to do 7 back to back Self Supported Half Iron Distance Triathlons. (Yes I busted my ass off, no hacks, no shortcuts)

I applied to AISTS in March of 2016.
For the uninitiated, AISTS is the premier college for Sports Management located in Lausanne, Switzerland. 9 of their Alumini are responsible for Rio Olympics 2016 and 1 of their Alumini is former 800 meter World Record Holder and World Champion. (Info here : http://aists.org/)
It takes 40 students out of an approximate 400 applicants which include Ex-professional athletes, people with Sports Businesses (Head of Star Sports India was a student here) and our very own IITians. Average age of admitted students is 28.

So did Mr. IPU graduate, 25 years od, IT worker with 4 years of experience and decent sports background have a shot?
Well, initially they put me on hold. From March to May, I began to rue this decision. Why did I try, why can't I push through the pain and become a desk drone like the rest of my colleagues? Why should I be the "outsider?" everywhere? Why should I be unconventional?

And then I did the Ultraman. And I became the 1st Indian Male to do it. And I ran on an Australian beach, with the Indian flag on my shoulders as the whole world saw OUR FLAG.
And that's when I realized, why did I even question myself?

I made my country proud and showed to the world that despite horrible training conditions, despite being a corporate slave, despite a million excuses surrounding me, I can live my dream.

And a month later, I got the admit.

Yes, all stories are exactly fun. Mine surely wasn't. It was sad. And tough. And difficult.

At 1 point 1 had Zero friends and I sat in the lobby on a freezing night in Leh to talk to someone who was kind enough to spare her time for me because that place had internet.

I've sat through performance reviews and informal meetings with people who had done nothing but sucked up to officials and stayed in decaying rut, drinking their life away, telling themselves that it's all good and heard myself being abused for not being "focused at work".

I was injured, unable to run or bike and in immense pain. Depressed, sad and unwilling to believe that life can go this far south.

Through all this, I know the kind of person I am. I give my 200% to things I feel about. Ask my 6 friends in this whole world.
Look at my sporting career and look at my schedule.

And I never believed sitting in a chair, staring at the screen was something I wanted to wind up doing.
I wanted to be someone who can make the country proud.

Being one of the millions of Engineers and IT workers and corporate slaves wouldn't help me achieve that.

I did what I had to, endured the pain, sucked it up and never quit. And I never will.

Not ever. Till I leave this world and it has changed for the better, I'll leave this world a satisfied person.

And that's what I hope for everyone of you.

Go out.Go find something you love. Go do it, no matter how hard the path is.

And NEVER GIVE UP. Yes it will be very tough. But it is a part of your journey and you know what?
5 years from now when you look back at it, you'll be proud of yourself for being tough and pulling it through.

"To invent your life's meaning is never easy, but it is allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble" - Bill Watterson.

PS : My story is here if you want to check it out : https://vimeo.com/173994986


  1. Well done bro - never met you but proud of you! 😊💪

  2. Hai!!!!!
    Good on yeah mate,,
    All the best........

  3. Champions are not born, champions are made by hard work and dedication 👍


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