Life is too short for regrets

Life is too short for regrets - Interviewing India

Giving up on a dream of 16 years, of playing cricket professionally, wouldn’t have been easy for Venkatesh. But, instead of a man full of regrets you meet someone who is content and passionate in life. Our interviewer, Arun, met Venkatesh at a city-based cafe to find out how sports made him, as he puts it, a better person.

Venkatesh Ravishanker, 28, City Lead for an NGO, Bangalore

Interviewed By Arun Maharajan

Why did you decide to give us an interview on sports?
You become a better person when there’s sports in your life. As a kid, I always wanted to make it big in cricket. And I was quite good at it too. Even the college that I chose to do my engineering from had a good sports program that would encourage students. Ninety-five percent of what I’ve learned in life is because of my structured cricket background. I feel sports is the most important thing for kids.

Why didn’t you pursue cricket professionally?
In my third year of college I got injured while playing cricket. I didn’t want to give up the 16 years I had devoted to cricket just like that. I was depressed and wanted to get back to the game. During those seven months of rehab I realized I was just 22 and there’s so much more to life. I decided to apply for my master’s degree abroad. I moved to the US for further studies. At that moment I realized nothing is permanent in life. When things are not working out, one should be flexible and move on.

Life is too short for regrets - Interviewing India

You make it sound easy. Wasn’t it hard to abandon your passion?
In Tamil Nadu, a lot of people have ‘godfathers’ in cricket, and the people who don’t have any, have a need to put in extra efforts to overcome this disadvantage. After the injury, seeing all the internal politics and unfairness, I realized I had dealt with it for far too long. Life is too short for someone to have a say in how far I go.

Do you ever regret giving up on your dream of playing cricket for the country?
I’d be lying if I say I never looked back. I meet people I knew back then who are still playing cricket, and I feel I could’ve continued too. But it’s just a momentary feeling. I’m doing so much better now.

Life quotes - Interviewing India

How did sports help you become a better person?
For 16 years, I woke up early, went for practice, came back and had breakfast – cricket introduced discipline in my life. Nobody sat and taught me that. Focus, hard work, and everything else is imbibed in you automatically. For instance, in a team sport like cricket, you learn to work in an environment where things might not always fall into place as per your wishes. The whole team is involved in every decision. Today, if there are issues at work, the colleagues have to unite and solve the problems together. Cricket taught me that it is the ‘we’ and not the ‘I’ that matters.

What would be your mantra of happiness?
Find and do what you really like, and everything will fall into place. I found it over a conversation with a friend and her husband. Maybe it was luck but I just love what I do.
The first day at work we went to seven low-income schools in Whitefield. As we entered the first school, I was amazed at the kind of welcome we got from the kids on knowing we were going to teach them football. These kids who did not have shoes on their feet, with torn shirts, who have no bias against anyone, validated my decision.

Life is too short for regrets - Interviewing India

What about the people who live with conflicts in their mind or probably don’t have the faith or confidence to go for it?
There’s a Bollywood movie that left a huge impact on me. It’s called Tamasha. It captured perfectly the dilemma that most Indians face today. Which is, either to join the race without knowing what it’s about or follow your dreams. It’s very hard to take stock and go for something you love. But I would still suggest to fight for that one thing you want to do for the rest of your life.

The last question has nothing to do with the topic of the interview. But we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Love is something that you should express to everyone in the world. We’re evolved in such a way that there are biases in the way we treat people. It may sound as a cliché but expressing love without any prejudice against anyone makes the world a better place. For instance, I was driving around Triplicane-Royapettah area in Chennai with two of my besties from the US. As we turned towards Triplicane, where there are mosques and temples and people going about their business without noticing how one looks, where one comes from or whether one is a Brahmin or a Muslim. And my friend said, “Why can’t everyone in the world be like this?”

Categories: Career Childhood Sports

Meet the interviewer

Arun finds it harder and harder to describe himself. It makes him uneasy. So the easier thing to do would be to mention some of the stuff he does and likes. So here goes. He has traveled to 50+ countries, finished the Mongol rally, almost hitchhiked from Germany to India, plays the bass guitar in a rock band, is bloody serious about fitness and loves creative expression especially writing and visual art. He is curious, likes to experiment, reflects deeply, loves people and wishes for all to fulfill their potential. His deepest desire is to attain a state of oneness with the creation.

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6 responses to “Life is too short for regrets”

  1. RAVI SHANKER says:

    Very well said, we have groomed him, so have always seen the spark in him for sports, and passion towards excellence in each and every field he takes up. No wonder his sekf belief has taken him FWD. Great achievement, miles to go, God bless him, his wife and their love firxspirts

  2. Abhilash.M says:

    An eye opener for all parents and a perfect booster for all individuals. The quote ” Life is too short for someone to have a say in how far I go” will surely work as a catalyst for all the passionate ones. All the best to Venkatesh, keep growing, keep grooming the needies.

  3. SURESH KOTTA - GMR RAIPUR says:

    Venkatesh ,
    Great …Your Positive Attitude will make you reach heights…Wish You all the Best for your golden Career.

  4. Giriraj R Uttarwar says:

    That’s truly inspiring Mr Venkatesh Ravishanker, you as a son and as an individual both having such a passion in sports that too for the one who really need it and the most ignored one. I wish you all the best in this world for your foresighted dreams and wishes. And congratulations even for the marriage..
    Giriraj R Uttarwar

  5. G C Arora says:

    A pragmatic approach towards life – liked it! In fact, this quality came from his dad who incidentally had been my boss, mentor & friend. Delighted to know Dear Venky’s beautiful thoughts (whom I had met whn he was a kid). I aspire to meet him to know more about his journey thus far! God bless him.

  6. Gladwin Masih says:

    You are an inspiration for many youngsters who because of some reason may not continue with sports as professionals but still can contribute like wise. It also showcase the upbringing by the parents and support given to take such bold steps. All the very best for your personal & professional journey.

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