Different STROKES

Femina|July 2020

Different STROKES
Young and dynamic, ARYAMAN BIRLA is not one to rest on his family’s laurels. He has paved his own way, and is now helping with a mental health helpline that aids people during the lockdown, finds Radhika Sathe-Patwardhan
Radhika Sathe-Patwardhan

It’s not about what you do; how you do it is what matters. This was what cricketer and entrepreneur Aryaman Birla was taught from a young age. When everyone assumed he’d take up the mantle of his family business, he decided to try his hand at sports, and become a professional cricketer. The scion of the Birla family informs, “I’ve always wanted to go off the beaten track, find my own path, and create my own little niche.”

This dynamic 23-year-old has played for Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Royals as an allrounder. In 2017-18, he was the highest under-23 run-scorer across India, and notched up one double century and three centuries and took 10 wickets in that season. Debuting in first-class cricket with Madhya Pradesh in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, he went on to play for Rajasthan Royals in 2018 where he scored his maiden century in first-class cricket.

In December 2019, Birla announced that he’s taking an indefinite sabbatical from cricket after he revealed that he’s been coping with severe anxiety that was a result of the sport. That’s not saying he paused in his endeavor to strive ahead. Drawing from his own experiences, Brila is now helping people with the #LetsTalk1on1 initiative during the lockdown to provide some comfort to those finding it hard to cope.

In a tête-à-tête with Femina, Birla opened up about his anxiety with the game, and his efforts to help people through their mental health issues. Excerpts from the interview:

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July 2020