If At First You Fail…

Thanks to the blaring headlines and news segments on TV that have been coming our way in the past week, we’re all aware of Dipa Karmakar, the 22 year old gymnastic fireball from the Tripura who has vaulted her way into the hearts of so many Indians by nabbing one of the coveted spots at the Rio Olympics this year.

Personally, this week was the first time I’d heard of her and I found the mere fact that she’s qualified for the gasp-eliciting OLYMPICS as a gymnast [my once-dream career, before I realised that being one meant having to actually get out of bed] remarkable, so I decided to do some reading…

…And realised that her story is not as peaches-and-cream as you would expect the story of a talented, young athlete’s to be, apart from the all the intense, bone-crunching practise, years of sacrifice and relentless dedication.

Even so, I only started to understand the extent of what she’d gone through emotionally after reading an interview she’d given a couple of years ago where she talked of how crushed she felt about not bagging a medal at the 2014 Asian Games. And then at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Although they probably seemed unbearable at the time, in hindsight, these losses do nothing but make her legacy gleam just a little bit brighter because it helps us understand that this isn’t a girl who has gone through life with a silver spoon shoved down her throat. She didn’t just wake up one day, think “hmm… I think I’m going to try out gymnastics today” and then nonchalantly proceed to do so.

Rather, here’s a girl who has come up the hard way. Brought up in Tripura, she’s struggled for years to become the globally acclaimed athlete she is today, universally lauded as India’s number one female gymnast.

But most importantly, she’s failed in the past. She’s under performed, she’s missed the medal, she’s lost.

But she didn’t let it get to her, didn’t let it make her believe that she’s “not good enough”. All she did was quietly stand up without a fuss, dust off her glittery leotard and perform a flawless routine that forced all of us to sit up and take notice.

How is this relevant to us students, just trying to weasel out of the next Chemistry quiz? I was getting to that.

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of us aren’t going to grow up to be Olympians, and while that’s –unfortunately- true, I’m sure that all of us can be tremendously successful at our respective future careers.

However, the only way that’s possible is if we take a leaf from Dipa’s book and realise that it’s not all smooth sailing. We ARE going to fall, maybe even multiple tims, and it is going to hurt.

But what you do after those falls is what’s going to determine if you’re going to make it big or content yourself with being second best.

We’ve got a lot to learn from this flexible little glitter bomb and the faster we do, the better it is for us.


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