WOULD YOU PLAY A RIGGED GAME?
Honest to god, will you?
Would you play a rigged game?
It was as if the world was against Venkat.
He kept fighting.
He kept losing at times.
Yet he kept smiling.
Much to everyone’s wonder and irritation.
Whatever Venkat wanted to do, there was always some stiff opposition.
Always a villain or two wanting to thwart his growth.
Venkat persevered. And participated in all the competitions where he knew his skills would be tested.
What happens when someone is good and knows he is good…..?
That person is branded a know-it-all, a show-off, arrogant and snobbish.
Venkat’s close circle knew otherwise. How helpful, warm, and caring he was. I was inside the circle, able to observe him at close quarters. We had been classmates for a long time and through all the trials and setups.
This was the final year and the time of the annual debate. The premier event in a block-and-tackle format. You go for a topic, then when the bell rings, you speak against it. You take questions from the judge and also from the fellow students/audience. The audience had a vote as well in selecting the winner.
All through the debate journey, Venkat was on the verge of elimination at every round. The judges were all invited, more handpicked by the cultural secretary, who had several axes to grind with Venkat.
Rule changes were arbitrary, and the time to respond reduced in comparison to other participants. Yet Venkat participated with full vigour, wit, and tenacity. His points were valid, based on logic.
When it was his turn to riposte, his satire shined through. Some aimed directly at the jury, which left them bristling. It did get the crowd up and running, the claps resounding like thunder.
The jury tried to bring him down at every point. The crowd booed and hissed.
When it was clear that Venkat was about to be eliminated on the jury count, the crowd went wild with anger.
The principal had to walk over to the jury and ask them to fall in line and use the same yardstick for all.
Well, here was Venkat, in the finals. We were part of his team, strategizing and preparing. I had to ask him how he could maintain his composure and humour.
How could Venkat get into the competition knowing that the jury is out to get him?
His response was a lightbulb moment.
Venkat: Here’s my view.
A rigged game is fun to play.
When I win, I gain fans.
When I lose, I gain a bigger following.
It is such a challenge to continue playing, fully knowing the cards are stacked against you. The judge and jury are against me, and the rules will keep changing.
Yet, one must persevere. And keep chipping away.
The jeers will turn to claps. Slowly at first, but surely. My sincerity will shine through.
You must definitely have noticed the transition. A slow single clap building into a crescendo as the crowd becomes a part of my debating. Every step of the remaining way.
When stuck with a difficult question or situation, I smile at the Opponent or the jury; there are reactions and expressions! That eggs me on even more.
I do the dance; with gay abandon.
I have fun. It may be a debate for the rest of the folks. For me, it is a platform, and I have the right skills to showcase.
And if I do have to lose, my philosophy is to fail big.
If I succeed, good.
If I fail, VERY GOOD!
With that approach, wouldn’t you agree that I win either way!
A rigged game is even more fun and interesting to play.
- All stories in this “52” series:
1. The Cycle Wheel
2. The strong polish their fangs and the weak….
5. What happens to nice guys?
7. Growth: How did she do it?
9. When would you fire yourself?
11. What happened to soft-spoken Radha?
12. Simplicity needs common sense, not education!
14. Rushing to Conclu….
17. The importance of competition
21. A division with minimal acrimony?
22. The Everest sighting that turned out to be…
25. What does it take to win? RAHUL PART 1
26. Vagabonding as a way of life RAHUL PART 2
27. Which past experiences are you mixing up? RAHUL PART3
31. A squishy squeezy state of affairs. SRIDHAR Part 1
32. I want that job. What am I ready to do for it? SRIDHAR Part 2
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
Connect with me at Outlier @PravinShekar.com
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Pravin is the author of multiple books: http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks
Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from The Art of War, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell, a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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