How hard can life be?


True Story |

This is the story of a man who started out as a shopkeeper, had a small electronic store in the suburbs of a small suburban town.

He got married, had a kid and his needs multiplied. The shop couldn’t fulfill them anymore, so, he took up a job – as medical sales executive.

He worked his way up the ladder in his company, it took years, but just like most of us he was getting there too!

He bought a house and a car and put his sons into a good school.

Like most of us, he had dreams too. He wanted a happy family, status, luxury and he worked his way through the thick and thin of things to get it.

Like most of us, he was proud of the way things were going.

Since nothing lasts forever, that is when unlike most of us, he had a heart attack. His dream was now shuffling between life support, expensive pills and medical bills.

Deserted by his friends and relatives, he lost his house as he couldn’t pay the loan, sold his car because there was a need to get food for the wife and kids – burned all his life’s savings in an attempt to live!

Just when he was about done, modern medicine gave him a second chance. He was going to live a little longer than he expected.

That led to questions about sustaining his family, which he couldn’t do by being on the bed rest the doctor summoned him to. Perhaps death was easier but it wasn’t meant to be so.

He left the bed, stopped the rest and went back to work; nobody wanted to hire him as they feared he would die on them. He was either honest or foolish, but he never lied.

He did get a job at last and soon another seizure of the heart followed. This was a big one too and he was left hollowed.

They were practically on the streets and then the mother took it on her to work. His son was still in the ‘good-school’ where the fee wasn’t paid for 7 months now. They let him study out of love for a smart kid, some courtesy and a bit of pity. For us it is a small world, for them it was a big city.

The mother worked, taught tuitions to run the family.

After his medical vacation even the father stood up against the ruling of the world – to work. God knows what drove him through this, but he said, “We will celebrate your next birthday son, this time we are not doing it because the doctor wants us not to.”  It was just a lame excuse for the little kid that kept him content.

As his father started his own business, he was struggling with poor finances, health, security and his own dreams. Astonishingly, the dreams were not dead.

He worked hard for the next few years and bought back his car, paid his son’s school fee and had food on the table, regularly.

Meanwhile, he had 10 minor and one major heart attack before he passed away leaving a wife and two kids behind. He did not leave them much money but he worked till the last day of his life to achieve the RESULT he dreamt of.

He left his family with the courage to move on, the persistence to fight and the mindset to win.

Moral: Every goal needs the right mindset to ensure its achievement. It depends only on how badly you want something which decides how soon you could get it

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The Unlikely Learner


Why Learn, Why bother ?…

A 6 year old girl once went to her elder sister who was in the kitchen.

She saw her frying fish (I have every right to start with fish , I am a bengali !) and in astonishment, asked her , ‘Dee, why did you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it?’

Her sister took a while and said, ‘Why?, I dont know, but mom does it this way so I do it this way too.’

Hearing this the little girl ran to her mother and asked, ‘ Maa, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee told me’

Her mother too, took a while to think  and said, ‘Why?, I never thought about , I don’t know, but your Granny does it this way so I do it this way too.’

The little girl became more inquisitive than ever, she really wanted to find the answer to this question. In this quest, she ran towards her granny, found her and asked, ‘ Dadi, why do you cut the head and the tail of the fish off before frying it? Dee and Maa do it too , they told me’

Of her old age, her granny took a while but finally figured it out with a gleaming smile; ‘I don’t know why they cut it , but I did it because my frying pan was very small.’

…In our world of make-belief

Every time I hear this story, apart from becoming hungry, I also am forced to ask my self, ‘ Am I doing the same thing? Cutting the head and tail off the fish without knowing why?’ In fact, think about it , are you doing the same thing ?

When was the last time you decided to learn something new and actually used it with a bit of compassion?

If it wasn’t yesterday, are we doing even close to what we are capable of doing as people? If no, why not so ?

These are some questions that keep coming back to me, every time someone says something about ‘How they are forced to, supposed to,told to,taught to, made to or confined to do something?’ How in the hands of fate they are simply stuck? or in extreme cases infected by depressing movies, like ‘Ram Gopal Verma ki AAG’ , find themselves almost at the world’s end.”

People complaint about boredom, about monotony and about that ‘something’ missing from life.It is just the ignorance for what is available and what can be done in most cases.

We start treating our philosophy as facts and live in that world of make-belief. A world that says, after you are 40, you are done with most of your life and learning is not your ball game anymore. You can sprinkle some emotions by saying ‘ You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. What is to prove?’

Funny thing, it is not only a challenge with people, even organizations face this music. I’ll give  you an example, Kodak first developed the digital camera, maybe too soon and that did not gel with the business plans of the worlds No.1 film manufacturer. They put it in the cold bag and went conservative, 3 years later , they were almost out of business. And they were not, the only big fish with a million business forecasters, that went really wrong.

There is always a right way, a right strategy, right age, a right time, a right direction. Most of our actions are governed by what we are supposed to or not supposed to do based on things which are supposed to or not supposed to work. Who decides that, moreover, why is it more of a law than just a suggestion?

These suppositions spoil our freedom and cloud our judgement, crippling our ability to learn. This lack of comfort, peace and openness is called conformity.

Sometimes its with systems, sometimes with society, sometimes with values and mostly with our own mindset.

And the very few people who dare to stand out, are thrown out, mostly to be appreciated later. Look at Einstein, Jobs, Gates, Bacchan and the list is endless.

…Find your way to evolve

Those who argue, will argue that non-conformity is chaos. It’s random, unpredictable and hence not social enough to fit into our lives. But let’s look at it from the other side of the greenfield; what is not chaos is boring like our college lectures, what is not random is often to too structured like our education system, what is not unpredictable is just around average like our political reforms; and all because we are suppose to do things a certain, pre-defined way. Where is the room to breathe and experiment? Where is the room to learn?

Every invention was, is and always will be an example of non-conformity. Buddha was non-conformity, so was your special short cut to your girlfriends house, so was your signature style at college, so was your special strength area at work,so was that situation when you had no clue what to do , yet ‘Jugaad’oed’ your way through. In other words, you did things differently and experimented because that was the only way to evolve! Wise decision. P.S.( I didn’t say so, Darwin did.)

That was the real  learning that happened, the question for you to answer is, how often do you manage that kind of stuff.

That 6 year old girl I was talking to you about earlier,asked a lot of questions,  most of us don’t even dare or bother doing so. How much do we learn? How much have you evolved? Dont answer it, just find the answer, only if you feel like!

Learning is surely not necessary, its not in the rule book but neither is survival.

Here is what a non-conformist would say his philosophy of life is; Be open to listen, Be curious to learn and Be yourself to live at peace. That is true non-conformity. But, only if you like!