Breaking Barriers: Defying the Norm

There is no greater honour than representing your nation at the top most level. However, society dictates that we tread within its conservative boundaries. Enter Indian pacer Shikha Pandey. Her journey from an electrical engineer to becoming a speedster is truly remarkable. It is never easy to leave the comfort of a secure job and embark on a perilous journey full of uncertainty. The 28-year-old is now playing at the biggest event in any major sport – the World Cup. Her story will hopefully be etched in the history books.

The world of sport is entrenched with such stories of individuals defying societal roles, becoming trendsetters in the process. Yet, there are so many examples which, unfortunately, get swept under the rug. In a country where a vast majority of people still believe cricket is the national sport, the tale of Indian hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr has been reduced to mere whispers. India’s first Olympic flag-bearer and three time gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr’s achievements should have been celebrated long ago. This legend defined what was considered the golden era of Indian hockey. Now, the sad reality is that the nonagenarian’s incomparable contribution to Indian Hockey remains unknown to most Indians.

This begs the question: Is getting into seemingly antiquated professions, devoid of media recognition, really worth it? One such argument that people bring up is the viability of poker as an occupation. Poker came into existence in the early 1800’s, yet its popularity didn’t surface until the late twentieth century. Far from being considered a profession, poker was, and still is, considered a recreational activity by the majority.  But the people who are exposed to the game and enjoy exercising their brain through gaming, play and treat Poker as a profession. A more informed society and media is definitely to give a boost to the game and increase its following.

The general consensus is: You’d have to be a fool to think playing poker full-time could sustain you for life. This is where so many people are wrong. Successful individuals in any field, be it chartered accountants, bankers and even engineers, have bid adieu to their jobs, and are instead pursuing poker professionally. One such example is that of Aditya Agarwal, an engineer turned marketer, who has set the World Series of Poker stage on fire. Agarwal, often regarded as the face of poker in India, has made countless impressive runs at the Mecca of Poker. His success story has inspired a plethora of people to rethink their approach towards the game.

Giving up the luxury of steady, reliable job in favour of an occupation that is inherently filled with risk might seem to be a slippery slope that many might not venture down. However, knowing that there are people who have safely made it to the other side might spur the adventurous individual roll the dice. What would be your approach? To play it safe or make the wager? Have your say!