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To be positive, smiling, motivating, inspirational and with a solution to every problem!!! That is who a PARENT IS EXPECTED TO BE!!! And trust me we try our best.
As parents we are always under constant pressure to be all positive and motivating towards our children. Whatever frame of mind we maybe, when the child approaches us with a sour face, we are goaded to put our issues on the back burner and help the child regain its confidence and be happy.
I think it is the most difficult and scary part of being a PARENT!! Because even before we are parents, we are basically humans! We have our own - mind and heart conflict and surely the conflicts are always conflicting with the interest of the family, especially with that of the children. From the moment we have created a new life (from the time of conception) , we are required to stay positive, lest it harms the growth of the baby .
”Be happy, have beautiful thoughts, listen and read pleasing and calming stuff”, this is constantly drummed into us. So maybe once the baby is born and as they grow up and pass through different phases in life, we are able to provide the best positive approach to the children to face life and its vagaries headlong.
How our priorities and outlook to life changes the moment we beget a child, is one of Nature’s best kept secret.
Throughout the different stages in a child’s growth different people or characters become an inspiration to the child. But I believe till they enter their teenage and are actually thinking ahead to their future, the parents are always their heroes!! Enter Teenage and we take a back seat in everything!! It is at this crucial juncture , we as parents have to think up many inspiring stories of people to push the child to a fulfilling future.
But have you noticed that, very few children in this age actually relate to historical or mythological heroes. They prefer someone who they can feel one with. No amount of talks on Gandhiji or Nehru or Bose elicits the same fervour in them as it used to in US!! There is a huge gap in the happenings then and reality now. Even the textbooks are pointless now! Alas!!! I am so unable to inspire my children at present.
As a mother to a teenage son and another one just on the verge, I was riding a roller coaster every day. Even the smallest of negativity would set my child back in every thought and deed. I was at my wits end. How can my son, who has always faced adversities of all kind with enthusiasm and challenge, be so doubtful of his own self. What do I do to change the tide???As I was contemplating the right approach to this enigma, MADHU flashed into my mind!! Bang-on!! I had a great solution.
Madhu Nagaraja... a sweet , simple and common name of a not so common personality. In fact it is the name of an awesome , inspiring, daring and courageous personality, forever a LEGEND now.
Generally in our day to day life we read about many people who have made it big and are famous, but do we really relate to them? Are we able to take their life as an inspiration and create our own magic....??? We feel “they are all born a prodigy or gifted”. How can we do that ?? and we find many a excuse to NOT achieve. But here was Madhu, simple and suave, his many legendary achievements would inspire and prod anyone to dream big.
When I shared his story with my children, they were AWESTRUCK!! That Madhu, a simple cool neighbourhood boy has made it to the books of history by sheer hard work and dedication alone, brought a great change in their outlook and approach to their future.
I realised that it is when “Ordinary People attempt and achieve the impossible, not to prove a point, but just to be able to do it, they become the Hero, the inspiration for million others”.
This made me want to share this simple awe inspiring story so it can help YOU inspire your child to dream big and work towards it.
Open Water Marathon swimming and accomplished Cold Water Specialist is what Madhu is! How he managed to get there is a lovely reality.
Born into a middle class family, father –University employee and mother a school teacher in Mysore, Madhusudhan as he was named, was not regularly into swimming in his childhood. It was later as he entered his teens that Madhu (as known worldwide now) picked up swimming seriously and participated in various competitions and became an achiever.
During graduation, he won a Sports Merit Scholarship and University Swimming championship. Beside swimming and accumulating many laurels including Best Athlete award for the University of Mysore, he graduated and did his Master’s in Biochemistry.
His passion for swimming ran deep. But it was not until he moved to USA for MS in Computers that he started dreaming, planning to attempt the impossible a direct consequence to the various opportunities available there.
He took to Endurance Swimming and started training for Open Water swimming and related exploits. Training strenuously to create a strong body and a stronger mind became his anthem.
To be able to endure and succeed in any field the MIND plays the vital role of keeping the body together. The training gave him the needed confidence to attempt the crossing of the English Channel, a no mean feat at any rate.
Here I would must mention the most important fact that Madhu’s achievements are not pushed by monetary benefits or accolades. It is solely his passion to take human endurance to a level beyond the barriers of physical and mental resistance that etched his name in history of Great Achievers!!
Madhu has the ability to bring together like minded, tough and inspiring people. Ask him and he will say..” my achievements......it’s all because of the TEAM. ‘I believe in bringing people together”. And this inherent quality created the much needed support system for him. Support of professional, skilled and experienced people who till today are part of his passion. His wife Suman, a Doctorate herself, has been the greatest of support to him through all this and continues to do so.
At the age of 33, in August 2004, Madhu successfully attempted to cross the English Channel and swam from Dover to Cap Griz-Nez beach, France and created HISTORY!!
He proved that one need not be born into it, one can achieve if they set their heart and mind to the goal. 12 and half hours of beautiful relentless swimming through the cold waters and rough weather, not to mention the jelly fish and other dangers lurking around, made this possible and he became a household name making his Parents and his Nation proud.
And then he never looked back.
Marathon des Sables , an ultra marathon, regarded as the toughest one to contest was the next attempt. He again took up training for more than a year and though had to face a lot of physical strain and setback, completed it successfully.
To Endure is a Human trait and proved beautifully by Madhu. His perseverance and his ability to push himself in any extreme condition has been his trump card! He then moved to Canada, Oakville where he is a Director of a Software Firm.
Swimming the Lake Ontario was his desire since long and moving here it made it possible. Another year of bringing together passionate people and training hard and long made him ready to achieve this. Possibly the only INDIAN to do so. Distance of about 45 km from shore to shore is peak of endurance!
42 years of age, in 2012, Madhu took his passion to push and achieve the impossible by swimming all night and day in the lake to set a new record through good and a bit of extreme weather that actually made him swim for more time than contemplated and planned. 24 hours after he got into the waters, he walked into the HALL OF FAME with the Indian Tricolor. This did not stop him from getting back to work the very next day!!!
SOLO YET NOT ALONE, a beautiful book, written by Laura E. Young, has managed to capture many such awe-inspiring stories and Madhu’s escapades are prominently showcased.
A few excerpts.....I especially love what Suzanne Ruggins (herself a great achiever) had to say about him...
“Madhu is the kind of guy who can mobilize an army!! His easy going manner, calm determination and enthusiasm was evident in every stroke of his”.
Bryan Findlay(a great achiever) finds him “the most relaxed and reserved open water swimmer”.
Focus, Perseverance and dedication added with tons of passion can make anything possible. That is Madhusudhan aka Madhu for all of us.
Madhu continues to train and set bigger goals to himself and inspire others to follow. He also supports social causes like creating awareness of the importance of clean water and keeping the lakes safe. Precious Nature should be saved and cared for.
He has personally trained and coached Loren King another self achiever and marathon swimmer in recent time to cross the Lake as part of the Save Lake campaign. Madhu loves to be in the middle of action, planning , training , pushing and cheering everyone to the finish. Loren’s swim was a classic one I have closely been associated with and it was Madhu and all the support group, professionally skilled team who he brought together , from the start to finish and all along the middle.
Currently Madhu is training to swim across the Straights of Megallan, a very dauting task indeed.
NOW, The reason why I choose to share Madhu’s experiences is because I have known him personally, when he was just another boy next door!!
We have been to the same graduate college and he being my senior was of great help academically and a good friend personally.
These achievements of Madhu are a total surprise to me as it was never discussed as an ambition or a goal between us on the many opportunities we had of being together. It just happened and he has not stopped. That is why it is truly inspiring to the generation of today.
“HE ROCKS!!!!” is what my kids have to say with devotion and admiration , feel and convey about Madhu to their peers. Not a day goes without discussing, questioning and trying to understand the force of his WILL POWER.
I feel liberated from the parent pressure of providing food for thought to my kids. They have found their HERO!! MADHU NAGARAJA.....an IDOL....an ordinary person with extraordinary physical and mental strength. His positivism and quite charm are truly appealing to the soul.
My father often used to encourage me saying “ No one is born Great, One has to work to be Great”. Madhu has proved it beyond doubt.
I believe that these kind of exemplary people can help us instil confidence n motivate our children to perform in this stress filled and demanding society!!!!