Inspiring Story Of A National Level Skier TO A Drug Addict And To A Hero
SalamatRaho presents to you the inspiring story of a national level skier whose life turned into drug addiction and now a true hero. His life has become an example for others to follow. We are talking about Mr. Chander Paul from the beautiful state of Himachal- Lahaul.
Life is very unpredictable, we all know this. Each day is a new beginning. Past is gone, the future we don’t know, what we have with us is ‘Today’.
To move ahead in life, we need to take risks. Taking risks has its own outcomes. You may succeed or fail. People who learn how to deal with failure are successful. Unfortunately, many people stop trying after a large failure comes their way. They lose their confidence, determination, and will. However, success usually follows quickly behind these huge failures because you’ve inevitably learned what not to do.
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A person who overcomes this fear of failure, fights the negative emotions and walks on a positive path, is a success story.
At the end of your life, what do you think you’ll feel worst about, failing or never trying?
It is easy to get inspired by success stories and achievers. But at times, it is difficult to follow their path. What appeals to us most, is a story about a simple person, who failed, stood up, fought back and today is successful in his/her own way.
Chander Paul’s story is a living example of this.
We all make mistakes and learn, but learning doesn’t happen when things are easy. It happens when things get tough and you have to find a way through challenges. So it was never easy for Chander, yet he floated through!
The Mountain Boy
Chander was born in a regular family near Lahaul Spiti, close to Manali.
He went to school like all happy children. His parents used to operate a guest house. He had two sisters and he was the apple of their eyes. Through his school, he started taking part in sky activities at age 6. He took a one week course and immediately, his Principal saw the spark in this young child. Chander did not have any ski gear but he borrowed them to participate.
This was when the seeds were sown of this enthralling sport.
His father supported his interest and by age 7, he took the elementary course of two weeks and his coaches saw the potential and pushed him further. His father would always take time out from his work and take Chander to participate in competitions and events. His trainer Mr Jagdish lal ji, put in all efforts to see that Chander reached the top. Year by year, his confidence and expertise improved. Soon he was selected in the National team. He was amongst the youngest skiers at the games and came in third place. The winning streak continued and the sound of applause became familiar.
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Turning Point As A Skier
A huge turning point came into his life when he was introduced by Jagdish Lalji to a Japanese gentleman, Mr Kazu Sato, who invited him to Japan to train for three months under experts. All his expenses were covered and he got an exposure he had never seen before. M.Kazu invited him several times to train in Japan and that gave him a great impetus to achieve higher goals. The more he won, the more he wanted to enter the Olympic league. It was a dream he had started nurturing when he entered his teens. Every accolade pushed him to dream bigger.
Dream Of Olympics
But, entering the Olympics is not an easy feat. His ranks and achievements permitted him to register, yet, this was just the first step. That is when he actually got introduced to various hurdles he had to cross. Highly competitive arena and all the political pull that one needs to harness, is not something Chander or his father were prepared for.
Each year he tried, he failed. Age was catching up. He was inching closer to his twenties. And failure seemed to have overshadowed all his previous accolades.
Financial burdens added extra pressures. His family could not go on supporting his expensive dream. Other responsibilities increased in his home front and this was pushing Chander further down in the dumps.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” —Paulo Coelho.
Was He Equipped For Big Events
Asian games gave him another opportunity to display his skills. But competing with other international talent, made him more aware of how far we Indians were lagging behind in training, technique and having proper gear to compete at that level. Chander faced extreme embarrassment for not being properly equipped with international level gear and up to date with the latest techniques. Even though he had the skills, because of constant ridicule, ragging, low self-esteem and no support from his sports federation or from the Sports ministry, he faced his downfall.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill.
He went to Iran to participate in a tournament. Due to not having required gear, he was disqualified. It was like slow poisoning, to face this humiliation due to lack of financial support from his home ground. Finally, a Pakistani participant lent him his helmet and he did participate, but with a heavy heart. In spite of knowing about his desperate need of support, no government body came forward to help him out.
This is the plight of thousands of sports enthusiasts in India, who fail to come ahead because of no support or sponsorships at the right time.
We have watched recently of crores being given to winners and achievers in these Olympic games. But this happens after they win. What about those decades they spend just to reach this level? It is usually the parents who land up spending every bit of savings they have, just to see their child at least enter these national or International games.
By the time he was 15/16, he had already played in South Korea, Japan, Iran, Lebanon, list goes on..yet, he could not qualify for the Olympics and this heartbreak, year after year, took its toll. Chander went into severe depression and his game went from bad to worse. He stopped participating and from days of galore and accolades, now all he could wake up to was gloom and darkness.
And this darkness led him towards negative temptations, to help him face the brunt. He started depending on various drugs to help him forget the failures and humiliation, not finally reaching the Olympics.
Life Drifted From Skiing To Drugs And Depression
He started moving away from skiing and drowning himself into drugs, living a life where he didn’t remember where he was heading. He was disillusioned and addicted to drugs by then. Hit rock bottom. He was a failure, his friends moved away from him, his family condemned him, his personal life was a disaster which literally pushed him towards ending his life, at times.
Early twenties, his parents finally put him in a rehabilitation centre. No parent wants to see his child suffer. Even though they did criticise him for giving up the sport or not achieving his goal, yet, they helped him through this phase too. He was in rehab for a year. And once a sportsman, always a sportsman, he fought back. Each day was a struggle. It was like climbing Everest, but Chander did not give up, for the sake of his family and his sport, he crossed the bridge, step by step.
During his rehab, he met many people with similar experiences who motivated him. They made him realise that the first person who should be there to catch you when you fall is ‘you’. You have to be your own best advocate. The others in your support system are just icing on the cake. But this support system helped him fight his low days at the rehab. Watching them sail through, gave him hope.
Today’s society is obsessed with success and achievement, and failure is definitely NOT part of the equation. Out of fear of failure, if one avoids making mistakes in life and tries only to prove himself as a success story, an achiever, then living and experiencing peace and contentment is going to be impossible. One must embrace one’s failures, whether it is one failure or many failures, because with the right attitude and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you are guaranteed a lifetime of success.
Chander Paul Fights Back
Chander made a huge turn around and came out clean from the rehab centre. That was a huge sense of achievement he felt after ages. He was nearly touching his thirties by then. He was aware that precious time had been wasted just finding his passion to live, once again. He now woke up looking forward to facing each day with hope and the zest to start something new.
That is when he took up motorsport as a hobby at first. Then he took it up seriously as a business and started biking tours for tourists. He invested in more bikes and slowly, he became a known name in Manali in the bikers’ fraternity.
It is said that determination is one of the best antidotes to failure. Even if you take two steps forward and one step back, you’re still moving forward with grit and passion. And this is what Chander did. He got married and settled down with responsibility and stability. Now it has been 15 years that Chander has been sober and leading a life of stability and progress.
Many people get impatient with failure and give up. They feel that it’s a dead end, road blocked. However, the patience to take that new road is exactly what’s necessary to find success. Chander searched for the alternative road where the sun was still shining.
Dreams Of Starting A Academy
Somewhere inside, he missed skiing and wanted to get back, but now past his mid-thirties, he knew that with all the experience behind him, he could be a good trainer. After being advised and encouraged by well-wishers and supporters, Chander now has a new dream. A dream of starting an academy where young children can be trained as amateurs and then led into serious sport and enter competitive skiing. He himself has witnessed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows so he knows what it takes to be a sportsman. Since 2020, he has started slowly encouraging young tourists and local children to enjoy skiing as a hobby first.
Hopefully, he is looking forward to getting some sponsorship for this academy where children with dreams of reaching the Olympic level and making their country proud, can gain the highest level of training and opportunities. Apart from all the technical training, he wants to provide all the emotional and psychological support and help them get the required sponsorships and government aid, which was lacking during his growth period. He is now moving ahead with full enthusiasm to give many others what he could not get and with such a positive spirit, we are sure he will shine through.
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” —Richard Branson.
Chander proved just that. Such fighters are true heroes who become an example for others to follow.
Contact – Mr, Chander Paul – 9805962288
Email – [email protected]
NomadLawyer salutes Chander Paul who fought every adversary in his life specially when chips were down and now leading a life of dignity showing the path to the young generation. May you succeed in all the future endeavors.
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Team NomadLawyer’s ambition is to positively impact the world through the stories of HumanKind. We believe in the art of storytelling. Through “Salamat Raho ”, we are creating a database for social good in the form of “Impact Stories”, which will help us achieve our goal and reach out to the world at large. By contributing through your stories and experience you create a significant impact on the community and an exceptional experience for yourself. Visit the NomadLawyer portal at nomadlawyer.org and you can also get in touch with us at [email protected]
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