Pradeep Ramesh: ‘How would I like to be remembered? As a motivational figure who proved that anything is possible’

 

 

 

Born in Chennai, Pradeep Ramesh, 27, is a professional freestyle footballer who also happens to have broken two Guinness World Records in the past eight months. As a matter of fact, his second official Guinness World Records certificate arrived just last week – he broke the previous record for most football touches with the shin in a minute by achieving it 238 times in the allotted time. When he’s not busy shattering world records at whim (he is gearing up for his third Guinness Record attempt as you are reading this), Pradeep can either be seen teaching budding freestylers this evolving art/sport or mesmerising audiences all over India with his brand of kick-ass freestyling.

When were you happiest? I can’t pinpoint one particular instance but if I’ve given my best for the day, I’m really happy that particular day.

What is your greatest fear? Whenever I see a grey strand in my beard, I get scared.

Which living person do you most admire, and why? I admire both my mum and wife and for the same reason – I don’t think there is anybody in this world who works harder than a mother especially Indian mothers. They have so much work and yet maintain a positive attitude every single day. The house will be in shambles without them.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Let’s say I wake up feeling low tomorrow, I’d just shut myself off and end up doing nothing the whole day.

What was your most embarrassing moment? When I’m visiting my relatives or meeting someone new, explaining what I do for a living is downright embarrassing. This occurs at least once every week.  

What is your most treasured possession? My wife.

What would your super power be? The ability to read others’ minds.

What makes you unhappy? If I’ve not given my all in an endeavour, then I get unhappy.

What is your most unappealing habit? I’m addicted to coffee. 

What is your least favourite word? Extra cheese.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to join the Army. I took the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam in tenth but didn’t make the cut as I flunked the maths paper by 10 marks.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you? This one guy on social media commented – ‘Is this record official [referring to my first Guinness World Records attempt video I put up on my Youtube channel]?’ I didn’t respond. After a while, he’s like, ‘Show me your certificate.’ He was getting on my nerves so I blocked him but that didn’t stop him from going on an epic rant on FB dissing me and my claim of being a world record holder.

What is on top of your bucket list? Winning the World Freestyle Football Championship.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Filter coffee.

What is the greatest love of your life? Football.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Ready, rolling.” (A phrase Pradeep often says when shooting videos for his vlog.)

What is the worst job you’ve done? A wedding gig in Agra where I had to freestyle in front of the bride and groom entourage as they were being led up to the dais.

If you could edit your past, what would you change? Nothing.

How do you relax? With a cup of coffee or just chilling at the beach.

What keeps you awake at night? Hopelessness.

How would you like to be remembered? As a motivational figure who proved that anything is possible.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Sometimes, hard work doesn’t pay dividends. 

Tell us a secret. My wife snubbed me in high school when I proposed to her.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? Money.

 

See more of Pradeep Ramesh here: Youtube, Instagram

 

*Inspired by The Guardian’s The Q&A
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Citizen(s) of December

kandasamy, IAS, chennai floods, portrait, chennai, tamil nadu, 2016

 “Although the floods has helped us broaden our horizons with regards to preparation for such occurrences in the future, nevertheless, we end up giving thought to disaster mitigation only after we are hit by a disaster.”  

K S Kandasamy, IAS

Deputy Commissioner (Works), Greater Chennai Corporation

It was a tense few days for K S Kandasamy the first week of Dec. 2105 as he had to be on his toes what with monitoring rescue and rehabilitation operations from the control room in Rippon Building; delegating tasks to corporation field officers; visiting the affected localities for assessment; and overseeing the relief management and distribution at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. Simultaneously, help was pouring in from all quarters – donors from all the 31 districts of Tamil Nadu as well as public and private enterprises including the Indian Armed Forces donated around 1,700 tonnes worth of supplies to the Chennai Corporation. Earlier last year, all the insight and hands-on experience gathered during those arduous days was collated into an exhaustive handbook – the City Disaster Management Plan 2016. This 750-page guide contains all pertinent information concerning city layout and infrastructure, disaster-prone areas, emergency phone numbers, the “first line of defence” during a disaster situation, etc. All of this data was painstakingly compiled over a period of six months to ensure an effective management plan is in place to tackle future calamities. This handy guide will be made available for public perusal in the near future.   

Please visit BBC to read the rest of the story.

*A joint effort with Karthik Subramanian      

Carpe Diem

Had five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion Mary Kom been present at Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium earlier this month, I bet a strong proponent of the sport such as herself would have shed tears of joy—and by the buckets.

The turnout at the Tamil Nadu State Sub Junior Boxing Championships was so immense that the small room that housed the ring resembled the Chennai Central to a T; incidentally, located just a stone’s throw away.

There, the usual noise that follows children wherever they gather was not to be. During the bouts, a certain silence ruled the atmosphere—only to be suspended by the heckles of a worked up coach and occasional bursts of cheers.

Some still accompanied by their moms, the budding combatants put on their game face, and looked their menacing best in their shimmering boxing gear. Albeit little, these feisty pugilists left no stone unturned in making their presence felt inside the twenty square foot modern-era Coliseum. But at the end of the day, there could be only one winner.

When the final bell is rung, heartbreak was written on the faces of many a child who had failed in their bid for glory. This, while a resolve to bounce back even stronger rumbles deep inside.

Walking towards Hope

You have to give Sriram props for his indomitable spirit. For someone who could barely stand, walking was a distant dream. But the presence of a great support system has worked wonders for this 22-year-old…

For the last 20-plus years, Dr Paul Devasagayam has been championing the development of disabled sports in Tamil Nadu. His efforts have brought about a sea change in parental attitudes towards sports and transformed many a life in the process.

Find out more about the two of them here

 

Kasimedu

Kasimedu fishing harbour, Chennai by Naveen P M

Right before Chennai sees in its earliest light, hawkers hasten to secure a spot at the aisles with their ragbag of wares of all shapes and sizes. Hauling in the day’s catch, droves of tricycles swerve across the packed arena, passing the baton to deft auctioneers who will put on a show with skilful yodelling.

Over at the only fishing harbour in the city, Kasimedu is bizarre and magnificent in equal measure. Anybody new to this place can instantly get overwhelmed by the dizzying load of sights and sounds, not to mention the unmistakable pungent smell of fish. Yet, the place is indefinitely plagued by an influx of customers who throng the fish market by the thousands. Equally many are the number of trawlers that dock at the wharf at any given time, serviced by hundreds of kattumarams that ply between the trawlers and the shore fetching fishes and crustaceans in plastic baskets.

Even during the recent deluge that literally sank most of the city, things carried on like clockwork here. And we can see why: A microcosm of India, really, Kasimedu is an ecosystem of sorts where various subsets of people mutually depend on one another. Be it the fishermen in the docked trawlers who pile the never-ending stream of baskets with fish to pass on to fellow fisherfolk who help in getting those baskets to the shore using rented kattumarams, the daily wage labourers who then work in tandem to deliver the commodities to the wholesale dealers, or the hawkers who complete the cycle by disposing of the items to seafood lovers, no group can function without the other.

This unassuming bond is what makes the harbour and its environs tick. It ticked my box too.

Here’s a visual ode to a place that I love as much as I hate the smell of it.



 

When Passion Calls

In this day and age where a person’s success is measured by his bank balance, one can’t help but admire Giridhar’s resolve to invest all his time and energy into his lifelong passion: distance running. Giridhar “Giri” Balasubramanian, who’s been running full-time for more than a year now, broke his 10K PR recently. He is all set to take on bigger athletes at one of India’s biggest races, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, in November.

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