The Inspiring Family Tendulkar

A loving, understanding and compassionate family is the greatest wealth anyone can have.
The Family Tendulkar (minus Savita): Clockwise from Top Left:
Ajit, Nitin, Ramesh, Sachin and Rajni
As Sachin Tendulkar bid an emotional adieu to his cricketing career yesterday, what struck me most was how his family had backed him all these past 29 (including his pre-international playing days) years. Sachin graciously acknowledged their role too in his farewell speech. Sachin’s father Ramesh Tendulkar married twice. From his first wife, Ramesh had three children – Nitin, Savita and Ajit. Sachin was born to Rajni, Ramesh’s second wife, and he is the couple’s only child. While Ramesh’s role in raising and inspiring Sachin, to be the champion that he eventually turned out to be, is well-known, I really admire how well his two half-brothers and his half-sister have nurtured him. Often in India, members of families where one parent has remarried, end up growing distant, if not always estranged. But Ramesh managed to keep the flock together. And his first three children have set a glorious example in the manner in which they helped their step-mother Rajni raise their precocious and precious half-brother. Sachin did talk eloquently yesterday about how Nitin has quietly contributed to his career and how Savita gifted him his first cricket bat. He also spoke about how Ajit, all through Sachin’s cricketing career, has stood by him – right from taking his prodigal brother to coach Ramakant Achrekar for the first time in 1984 to discussing Sachin’s dismissal at 74, in-depth, in his final, 200th, Test at the Wankhede. Yet whether it was his half-siblings, or his wife Anjali or his late father or his mother Rajni, the Tendulkar family has stayed out of the limelight – preferring to do only what came to them naturally and what they were best at: which is, to totally back Sachin! That attitude is inspiring and speaks volumes about the family’s value systems – humility, mutual respect and togetherness.
I come from a fractured family that continues to confound me. My siblings and I live in the same city but fail to even speak with each other. We have always found, over the years, reasons and issues to remain divided and distant. With the passage of time, I realize, we don’t even perhaps relate to each other. Surely, I too have contributed to this situation in the past and have since apologized to my family for my actions. But mistrust and the urge to interpret__than understand__each other are so rampant amongst us that any effort we have made in the past to come together has always failed. To compound matters, when my wife, children and I encountered a Life-changing, near-death crisis, a bankruptcy, some years ago, my family felt we were “faking” the crisis. They had helped us financially and when we could not repay the money we owed them, we were not trusted for our word. The crisis did not hit me as hard as my family not trusting me did. But for my wife, who supported me, helping me anchor emotionally and brave that painful phase of my Life, I would have crumbled.
From my experience, I have discovered that love, understanding and compassion are the bonding glue in any family. These traits blossom and thrive only when the family thinks as one unit – like a cohesive, understanding team – and not as diverse individuals who are merely connected with each other by blood and birth (which is what defines a family!). Merely being related to each other does not a family make. Respect for each other’s opinions, actions and decisions, trust and companionship are critical for making a family come alive and stay together. Families cannot be built by possessing or controlling each other. They evolve only when space and time are given to its members – to experience Life in their own ways, to go out into the world, to try, to make mistakes, to fail and to still feel “welcome” at home. Members in a family cannot be separate from each other and expect the relationships in the family to grow stronger. It is simply not possible for separateness and bonding to co-exist! A family will stand up for its name only when each of its members stands up for each other. When people stop saying “I told you so” and instead say, irrespective of what has happened, “How can we make things better”.
Sachin is blessed to have been born into a family where they value and respect each other. The Family Tendulkar is surely an inspiration for all of us. We may not quite be able to raise another Sachin in our families without some cosmic benevolence perhaps, but we sure can create an environment in our families, on our own, where we trust, cherish and celebrate each other!

To the MAESTRO called YOU…

Sachin Tendulkar has finally announced his retirement from the game that made him God! While there are people who are still awestruck by his legend, there are others, his admirers-turned-critics, who opine that he should have quit the game at his peak – which was a few years ago. Sachin himself explains his rationale for continuing to play well past his prime in his statement, issued by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), yesterday. He says: It’s hard for me to imagine a Life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old.
I would like to share what I have learned, so far, from Sachin’s Life. Each of us has three questions to answer and three circles to fill in Life:
  •      What can you be best at in the world? – What’s your innate talent?
  •      What are you deeply passionate about? – What keeps you excited about living?
  •    What drives your economic engine? – What earns you money?

When you answer these questions and fill the circles with your answers, the one vocation – or answer – that leads to the convergence of these three circles is your inner core of joy, your bliss. When you follow your bliss, you too will become a world-leader and world-beater, and consequentially wealthy too, in your chosen field. Of course, the time it takes to reach that pinnacle of greatness varies from individual to individual – it is often a direct correlation between effort, the time the individual is passing through, and the larger, unfathomable, cosmic design. But one thing is for sure: if you have identified that one vocation, which led to the convergence of these three circles in your Life, your bliss that is, you will always be happy doing what you have chosen to do – even though your financial success make take time coming. They key is to keep following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell (1904~1987), the American thinker and writer, famously said, knowing that doors will soon open where only walls existed. The difference between people who have identified their bliss and those who go on to become Gods, legends in their chosen fields, lies in the following. When you follow your heart, your  bliss, no matter what, you will arrive where you truly must and deserve to be! Important, focus only on your bliss, while following it, and not on becoming great! Greatness follows when you truly follow your bliss! (Just to clarify: the concept of these three circles was first presented by Management Guru Jim Collins in the context of helping organizations derive their Core Purpose. But I have found it extremely relevant in the case of individuals too – after all, people make organizations tick!)
Osho, the Master, has explained following your bliss beautifully. He says when you do what you love doing, when the doer becomes the deed, for instance, when the dancer becomes the dance or when the player becomes the game, magic happens. That’s when the Universal, cosmic, energy is flowing through you. The actor and the action are in unison then. That’s what the world calls genius, greatness. That’s how ordinary people become maestros. Did you not see that magic in Sachin – then, and don’t you not see it even now, when he is on a song? Sunil Gavaskar, the legend himself, said this of Sachin Tendulkar when talking to India Today, a couple of years ago: “The secret of Sachin’s longevity in the game lies in his joy. His mind, body, soul – all three are in a state of perpetual joy when he’s playing!”
To reach your own state of perpetual joy, you need to only shift your attention from your economic engine circle to the other two circles – concerning your talent and passion – in your Life. Then you too will be soaked in bliss and will be able to uncork the magic within you! Here’s then, cheers, to the MAESTRO called YOU!

Move on in Life and move into perpetual bliss!

If there’s only one lesson in Life that you want to internalize, then learn to simply move on!


Many unwelcome, painful, unexpected things happen to us. Failure. Death. Separation. Job loss. Health crisis. Socked by the impact of such events, we are numbed. Clueless on how to cope with them. It seems almost impossible to continue to live at such times. We sulk, grieve and mourn. But living in sorrow only makes us feel more miserable.

There’s hardly any value in grieving. Yes, of course, grief makes you feel special __ temporarily. Because people will come to you and bemoan your fate alongside you. You feel important, like the star of your own tragedy show. But over time, people have their own lives to catch up with. So, they will disperse. And then your grief will only multiply, keeping your feet nailed to the ground. The best way to deal with the unexpected when it happens is to allow yourself to be shocked, allow the first wave of grief to arise, let it soak you in its depressive energy, but quickly, very quickly, DECIDE to move on. This decision is crucial. And it comes from awareness. Remind yourself that you came alone and with nothing. And you have to go alone, again taking nothing with you. So, what’s all the fuss about losing__someone or something? This realization will give your aching heart and mourning soul, a much needed, awakening perspective. You may take a few weeks, or a few months, a year, or maybe longer, but whenever you awaken to the truth that Life goes on, and that you must too move on, you will find that feeling beautiful. It will liberate you instantaneously from the throes of pain, grief and suffering!

Carnatic music lovers, and in fact the entire Indian music fraternity, was shocked when popular Carnatic vocalist Nithyashree Mahadevan, 40, lost her husband less than two months ago. He committed suicide jumping off the Kotturpuram bridge, into the Adyar river, in Chennai. The famous Chennai music season was on and Nithyashree was booked to sing various concerts through most of December 2012.This sudden development shocked everyone and most definitely Nithyashree. The pictures that appeared in the media made everyone’s heart go out to her. They showed a forlorn, distraught Nithyashree and most people, while sympathizing with her, wondered how she would cope. But just this past weekend, Nithyashree was back on the concert circuit. She was singing better than she had ever been. And, most importantly, she was not in grief. She presented a picture of complete acceptance and inner peace. The Times of India carried a picture of her singing at her latest concert. The picture was captioned ‘Like A Song’. Indeed Life’s like a song. It has to be sung, and sung well, no matter what’s going on! What she has done is truly inspiring. She has shown all of us the way that we must continue to live our lives, doing what we love doing, irrespective of what happens to us.

Each of us has a way to feeling joyous, forgetting ourselves, our worries, our problems, our grief, when we engage in doing something. It could be anything. For Nithyashree it is music and so she plunged right back into it. For Chitra Visweswaran, it is dance. For Sachin Tendulkar, it is cricket, which is why he got back to the World Cup schedule in England a few years back, soon after cremating his dad in India. Karambir Kang, the former GM of the Taj Hotel, who lost his wife and two kids to the terror attack on his hotel on 26/11 (2008), immersed himself to rebuilding the hotel and restored it to normalcy within a year of the attack. It’s not always that we have to deal with death. Many kinds of setbacks happen and await us. Irrespective of what happens, after the initial bout of depression, sorrow and grief is gone through, take Life by its horns. Face it. Find something, anything, that you love doing and just do it. Watch your feelings change. Remember, what you feel, you become.

Simply, stop asking why things happen the way they do in Life! Don’t ask why you were born and why death, or for that matter anything, happens? Simply live the Life that’s coming your way. If you don’t like what you see or get, don’t grieve endlessly. Conquer your grief with awareness. Know that the truth about Life is that everything changes over time. And that includes how you meet Life and live it! Learn to move on in Life. You will then move into a state of perpetual bliss!