Behind their immaculately furnished offices, the composure and down-to-earth demeanor of the youthful duo betray the enormous success that they have achieved in the triple field of sport, education and business.
Meet the Bains Brothers, as they are popularly known. Behind that entire facade lies the fact that these brothers, Rajdeep and Hartaj have scaled the walls of success in the world of squash, which they have dominated and ruled in Kenya like the proverbial colossus ever since they learnt how to hold the squash racket.
Rajdeep, 38, popularly known as Raj and Hartaj (33), learnt their squash skills at the prestigious St Mary’s High School in Nairobi which they later honed at the equally prestigious Nairobi and Premier Academies, respectively.
They are scions of Resham Singh Bains, another sporting icon and former Olympic and World Cup player who is the current chairman of the Kenya Hockey Union.
Unlike most fathers who mostly compel their children to follow into their footsteps, the senior Bain save his sons a freehand to venture into a sport of their choice and make the best out of it.
He played the paternal part of providing the necessary financial, material and moral support.
Having traversed the world as a topflight hockey player and later on as an official of the hockey union, Resham had the confidence to place his sons into the hands of Kenyan officials whenever they made trips abroad to represent the country in junior tournaments.
“The independence we got early in life to the extent of traversing the world at tender ages gave us the confidence and drive to tackle the vagaries of life as they emerged,” Raj told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The brothers began their whirlwind tour of the world in 1990 when they represented Kenya at the World Junior Championships in Germany.
During the tournament, Raj won “the player of the day” title during one of the championship days even though he did not emerge the overall winner.
Come 1991 and the pair was in Namibia for the All Africa Championships where they emerged second overall after Zambia.
Such international duty has seen them on the national colors during the World Junior Championships in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Egypt.
However, the duo’s moments of glory came in the years 1998 and 2002 when they represented Kenya at the Kuala Lumpur and Manchester Commonwealth Games respectively. Hartaj went on to represent the country at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
At the Manchester Games, Rajdeep reached the second round where he lost to the then number three in the world David Evans of Wales. In the double the Bains lost to eventual gold medal winners Peter Nicole and Lee Beachile of England.
But does the fact that the younger brother has been ranked Kenya’s number one player ahead of him for over five years bother Raj.
“Never! Hartaj has worked his way to the top and deserves his place as Kenya’s leading player. And it is not always that one has to be a better player than his younger brother.”
The two believe that like other sports in Kenya, lack of professionalism in squash has hampered the game’s growth and development.
Hartaj gave the example of Amr Shabana whom he played in the circuit as a junior but later turned professional and at one time was the world’s number one.
And as if to add credence to his sentiments, the brothers concede that their work schedule leaves them without enough time to practice as much as they would wish.
Running the family business, Kimberly and Fay, the makers of soft tissue where Raj is the Managing Director and Hartaj the Marketing Manager saps much of their energy.
Their typical day starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 7:00 p.m., leaving them with only one hour of training at the Parklands Sports Club in Nairobi.