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Friday, September 29, 2017

Your gain could be your family's pain

Have you ever faced a situation wherein your colleagues, friends, relatives and the world around you appreciates your work and acknowledges your achievements. However, your immediate family members are not too enthusiastic about all that you have been doing and achieving?  
It happened with me. It happened with Sachin Tendulkar. It can happen with anyone. Once you understand why it happens, it can just make your close relationships that much better...Read on..

Anjali, Sachin Tendulkar's life partner, while referring to a question on making Arjun's (their son) career in cricket says, "I am left with no energy to care for, or handle another cricketer in my family."
Why does she say this? 

When Sachin earned so much of global name, fame and wealth - why is Anjali so reluctant to see her son become an international cricketer? The answer lies in the fact that whenever you gain (name, fame or wealth), you and everyone around you just sees your gain. There is only one entity that suffers the pain. And that entity is not you. It is your family.

Sachin may not feel what Anjali feels. And that is why he is still keen on helping Arjun become a professional cricketer. 

One can always argue that Sachin must have suffered much bigger pain than what Anjali did, to achieve what he finally did. Without any doubts, he must have been practising hard - day in and day out - in heat and sweat, staying away from family for months at a stretch, being criticised for poor performances on the field, being physically hit by cricket balls, undergoing lot of stress in pressure games as well as in politics of selection and captaincy, suffering injuries and everything else. 

In spite of suffering so much, he is happy about Arjun being a future international cricketer. Then why is it that Anjali cannot just be a good support to Sachin and Arjun? Does she not want Arjun to touch the same heights as Sachin did, or even more? Does she not love her family? Does she not want Arjun to be famous? When Sachin could go through all this, and be happy about it, why can't she?

Why does this happen?
Sachin could go through all the pain because he was following his dream, his passion, his love of playing cricket for his country. What about Anjali? Did she have the same love and passion for cricket? Of course not? Yes, she loved Sachin but when Sachin spent most of his time with cricket, what could Anjali potentially look forward to, in life? When Sachin was out for months chasing his passion, when the world was supporting and cheering for him and going gaga about his performances, when the media presented headline stories about what makes him the greatest cricketer ever, when the adoring fans called him the 'God of Cricket', when Don Bradman called him the closest to himself - when all this was happening - was there someone who silently suffered the pain? 

Yes, it was Anjali. The day to day struggles of life (in spite of having good money) are big enough to test anyone - and if one is facing them alone - the stress is not just doubled - it grows exponentially. 

Any parent can tell you that raising children is not easy. And all the more challenging when one parent has to do it all alone. Not only children, she was also supposed to handle Sachin's stress when he came home after his team got defeated, or when commandos were deputed outside their home during violent protests from fans. 

Apart from handling all family responsibilities, Anjali was supposed to absorb and suck in all the pressure and ensure that Sachin's stress does not impact her or their children. This was a humongous task. She was actually raising 3 children - one being Sachin himself. She had no one to share her day to day feelings and challenges of life. She had to even leave her blossoming career in medicine to be able to effectively raise their children.

One may argue that a person can do anything if he or she wants. Yes, one can, if there is a strong reason to do so. She had to undergo all that pain for what? for Sachin and his love for cricket? For Anjali, in fact, cricket was the real villain at many stages of their life. Her thoughts, at some stage, must have pondered on the fact that if it was not cricket - both she and Sachin may have had a much more relaxed life - they may have shared the ups and downs of raising children together. 

Did Sachin ever ask her if she wants more fame and more money? No. What if he would have asked? What if Anjali would have said that we have earned enough and you should stop playing cricket now. Would Sachin have agreed? We all know the answer. It is not that Sachin was chasing money or fame after a stage but he was simply following his passion. On the other hand, Anjali might only be looking forward to simpler evenings where Sachin comes home early and spends time with her and their children - rather than going for practise. But then, she had no choice.

And this is just one example. It applies to all of us in our lives. Whenever anyone touches fame and wealth while chasing his or her dream, whenever someone goes extraordinary in one's area of love and passion, the real pain is not suffered by the person chasing his or her dream -  but by his immediate family. The person chasing the dream gets a lot of satisfaction from the journey itself. The family cannot even get that satisfaction. They only suffer in pain, though they may accommodate and adjust for you.

This could be true with you when you are chasing a position at your workplace, with a sports person chasing his passion, a politician chasing the chair and the power that it brings along, an entrepreneur striving to take his brand or company to greater heights, or someone like me who chased financial freedom and is now following the passion to plant trees, write books and spend a lot of time with my children.

Why am I telling you all this? 
I am sharing this with you so that you can understand your family better, so that you can have better relations with them, so that you can appreciate why sometimes they may not truly appreciate what you are doing, while the world around you appreciates your work.

While we chase our goals, remember that these are not the goals of our family - though you may feel that you are doing it only for your family - but that is precisely what it is - your perception - and nothing else. While we may get appreciated from everyone around us for the extraordinary work that we are doing and the achievements that we have embarked upon, it is quite natural and logical for our family to not be similarly enthusiastic about our dreams. They are the only ones who will suffer the pain as you and the world around you celebrate the gains.

They may not need all the money and fame that you are seeking. They may not enjoy the great work you are doing. They may even get annoyed with what you are chasing - because you are taking away your time from them. But they may still be supporting you because they love you. Appreciate that and acknowledge this fact. 

Be thankful of the fact that you get to bask in the glory of your gains, only because your family suffers the pain.


Manoj Arora


  1. It's difficult to find educated people for this topic, but you sound like
    you know what you're talking about! Thanks