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Dipa Karmakar

Dipa Karmakar And The 2016 Olympics

Dipa Karmakar told us, when I was a child, I loved to watch Olympic Games on T.V.  She was inspired by the achievements of so many athletes and the effort required to be the best and be successful.

Nadia Comaneci was one of the most loved gymnast whose name and achievements were mentioned during every gymnastic competition.  This was despite the fact that she was a champion in the 1976 & 1980 Olympics.

She scored an unprecedented 10 in gymnastics at 1976 Olympics game at an age of 14. With a sudden rise of Dipa Karmakar in India, we have become charmed with words like Produnova and gymnastics.

Gymnastics has found a special mention in our dinner table conversations and it will perhaps hold some importance for us till Olympics 2016 are over.

Nadia achieved success with a lot of effort but ease because her country Romania had a culture for this sport.  Nadia Comaneci was fourteen when she nailed the perfect score.

There was no pressure on her to perform in 1976 and a girl that age in that time didn’t acknowledge the pressure even if it existed.

She agreed in a recent interview that performing at 1980 Olympics was far more challenging than 1976 as she understood far more then.

Nadia Comaneci

Gymnastics and Dipa Karmakar

Closer to home, the situation is different. Gymnastics in its western avatar doesn’t come easy to us like cricket or chess.

Dipa Karmakar has already fought against many odds to achieve her dreams with extreme focus and discipline.  We cannot forget that she is twenty two with a newly found fame at a critical professional juncture.

Let us leave her alone as parents, leaders and as a nation. We need to support her by letting her be. As a nation and peolpe we should not burden her with our wishes guised in expectations.

As parents, we are guilty of wishing the best for our children while giving them the message of “being the best among the lot.”

Our leaders are guilty of appreciating and acknowledging the final ten or a successful Produnova act.  All while conveniently discarding the long journey of focussed effort which could have gone awry.

Success obsessed leadership styles have very limited definitions, cause a lot of stress and unwanted expectations. This futile stress clutters our minds and life.

Society’s Pressure To Succeed

  • A twenty two year old engineering student from Mumbai had suddenly disappeared from her home just before her exams.
  • Though she had supportive parents, a good academic record and a placement, she still felt a disenchantment and disappointment with her achievements.
  • Fortunately, Mumbai Police and the family found her in Kochi and brought her back safe.
  • The normal chatter among friends about dream jobs and dream lifestyles made her feel inadequate and left behind.

Let’s get to the root of this pressure which secretly builds up during all our conversations with children, students, friends and colleagues.  I am sure Dipa Karmakar is feeling this pressure.

Society emphasises that “great package at work equals great life”. We appreciate all those who top classes and competitions when our experience tell us that toppers do not essentially top in life.

Let me put it more blatantly – How many of us were toppers in schools/college/theatre/sports or any other interest.

As Parents and Leaders We Need to be More Objective 

 To motivate our children and teams we mention our hard work.  Our achievements are stated as a by-product of success.

“Let us share the truth – filled with mistakes, laced with disappointments, sprinkled with accomplishments – with our children and our followers”.

Dipa Karmakar, there is a tougher task ahead for your parents and mentor-coach. I am proud of you for your sheer grit and discipline focus.

The only difference your successful Produnova makes to me is that I suddenly know you.

Honestly does that matter to you? I know, it doesn’t and it should not.

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