Life Is A Balancing Act


Lalchand RAJPUT responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire:

Your view on beauty?

“The best part of beauty,” as philosopher Francis Bacon said, “is that which no picture can express.” This is what I’d like to relate to, not merely physical beauty. Agreed that a person with a good-looking, handsome face captures our attention, but what stays eternal is their inner beauty — kindness, compassion, empathy, good values, and so on. Not everyone is gifted by god with a good-looking face. This is not what god wanted us to believe in. He might have well visualised that there is a sense of beauty in everything — fair or not fair, in the physical sense. I’d like also to emphasise, or re-emphasise, that it is grossly offensive to judge a person by the colour of their skin. Remember: a person with an ordinary appearance could be a better human being than a good looking guy, or lady. How well do we all know that this is so true in our world that is going increasingly mad, also insane?

Your ‘take’ on fitness? 

Fitness, for me, is being energetic, and keeping fit. Just anyone can indulge in some type of activity, like walking, climbing the stairs, and getting up from their work desk to move around a bit, every now and then. It all adds up to keeping oneself active. You’ve to be active to be considered healthy, because you’re burning the calories you’ve put into your body. I’ve always laid emphasis on my workout at the gym — in today’s highly competitive sports world, there is nothing you can do without being supremely fit. In simple terms, fitness to me is staying healthy and staying fit too — in mind, body, and soul. It’s not that everyone should aspire for rippling biceps, 6-pack abs, a physique of a bodybuilder, and so on. Fitness does not come with muscle alone, and vice versa. Fitness is being fit in your mind and body, the ability to keep illness and injury at bay, and take stresses and pressures like a cushion.

Your view of health and wellness?

I’d like to go by the WHO definition — wellness is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. The delineation isn’t new. It is an age-old concept — a concept that Ayurveda espoused over 2,500 years ago, and so did ancient Chinese and Greek medicine. They stressed upon the idea of holistic health, well-being, and harmony in mind and body. Modern medicine is increasingly appreciating the wisdom of ancient thought, while emphasising on the fact that a balance ought to exist among manifold life dimensions, viz., emotional, physical, spiritual, social, environmental, financial, intellectual and work-related contexts. Everyone today is underlining the fact that such dimensions of wellness are interconnected and fundamental to fulfilling a healthy, active, vibrant, and long life. Agreed that the idea of optimal wellness may differ for each of us — but, it is overall just one thing. The ability to fulfil our responsibilities and achieve our dreams — one that equips us with the wherewithal to manage physical illnesses, or injuries, and psychological challenges well.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance? 

Work-life balance is not an equation that upholds equal balance. When you ‘programme’ an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities, it becomes unmanageable. It also leads to stress. This is, in effect, fruitless and impractical. Life, or career, can’t run on auto-pilot. The equation to work-life balance is subject to change. What you may think as being balanced today may be totally different tomorrow. There is no perfect, ‘one-size fits all’ balance, because we all have different priorities, also goals. Keeping it simple is your best bet. So, figure out what works best for you in your situation, not what others tell you. You’ll find your best roadmap — a life of balance. 

Your mantra to beat stress? 

All of us experience stress. Cricketers are no exception. They not only think of career, or performance stress, they may also worry about lifestyle stresses, or injury, that may come from nowhere during a training session, or on the field. The pressure to doing well, with so much at stake, is as imposing as Mount Everest. You literally carry an elephant’s load on your head and shoulders. Well, at the other end of the spectrum, it is a proven fact that a certain amount of stress is advantageous for a cricketer, also coach. It helps us to do better, also focus, and it often allows us to perform with that extra gush of energy. While we all can handle stress better because we are obviously trained to handle pressure, the problem is too much of a good, or bad, thing, including too much training, too many matches, or competing too much, may, at times, impair years of toil.

The best thing to do is to achieve good, calm balance by maintaining a high level of fitness without putting undue pressure on the system. What’s more, if we engage in enjoyable activities, like listening to music, doing meditation, getting good, real-time rest, maintaining a positive attitude, laughing our stresses out, and spending quality time with family, and friends, and keeping social relationships in good stead, stress becomes all the more manageable and we’ll be able to do better on the cricket field and also in life — whatever one’s profession, or occupation is.

LALCHAND RAJPUT had a distinguished career as opening batsman for Bombay [now Mumbai] and West Zone; at one time, he was considered one of the best openers in the country after Sunil Gavaskar. An able administrator, mentor, strategist and manager, Rajput, who played in just two Tests and four one-day games for India — call it a quirk of fate, or what you may — was the coach of a largely unfancied Indian cricket team that won the first Twenty20 World Championship [2007] in South Africa. He was also head coach of the Afghan cricket team and guided them to Test status. He is, at present, head coach of Zimbabwe national team.

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