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Life is 90% - how you react to it!
Story of role-model Sunil Srivastava
I was good at Badminton and played competitively in school and college. I reached the national level.
Sports shaped me.
When I hire today, other things being equal, I prefer a sports person or a NCC cadet.
From sports - You learn to compete and stay friends.
You learn the beauty of equality.
I had privileged friends, who could easily travel in luxury, while going to competitions. Yet we all slummed together in 3rd class train compartments and small lodges.
I think, sports also teaches you to bounce back quickly after a setback.
During the Asian games, I was one of the probables for the national badminton team and then - my appendix decided to assert its independence.
The appendix had to be removed pronto.
The good thing was the new color TV at home. I could watch the missed event in vivid splendor.
While all this was happening, I had finished my B.Sc. and then my Engineering in Electrical from Osmania University.
My wiring was different. I wanted to work with people, not machines.
I found myself a sales job and enjoyed the travel and interactions.
A couple of years later, I persuaded my brother to let me join his advertising agency of a startup.
I would travel with my customers' sales teams to exhibitions and trade fairs to pitch in. It taught me listen, apply common sense and persuade.
I loved the problem solving adventure.
Few years earlier, my father had retired and started a rail consultancy after a life time in railways.
His partners were his retired buddies. They were now all ready to shut it down and take it easy.
I thought it was a shame. When I said so, one of them said, 'Why don't you take this over and build it?'.
I mulled over it. I said I would do it, if they gave me a free hand. They said Yes.
So started my Barsyl adventure.
Over the next 20 years I would help build Balaji Railroad Systems as an international consultancy firm, competing with the world's best in 15 countries.
We built ourselves on the values that sports had taught me. I cherish most, my global network built out of this.
Four years ago, I found, I had lymphoma. I fought back, as any sportsman would.
On the day I heard the diagnosis, I was clear that I will conquer my cancer, come what may. I never let any fear sink in.
I managed to surprise my doctor, when I walked out smiling. She was a bit perplexed. She asked me why was I not worried?
I said, I had passed on my problem to her. It was hers to worry. To treat me to maintain her reputation.
I trusted, only good would come out of this.
The way I looked at it - if you cannot avoid it then just bear it. There is really no point whining about it. This does not reduce the pain.
I felt sad, I missed out on the Annual Hyderabad Freedom Run 2018.
Thanks to treatment and my attitude, I got better. The cancer did not bring me to my knees. It brought me to my feet.
In 2019, I walked the 5k freedom run. My steps were a walk back to normalcy.
I learnt, life is 10% what happens to you. And 90% how you react to it.
PS : This Sunday, 18th Dec - I again ran the Freedom 5K Run!