An encounter on a train

July 5, 2006

About a week and a half ago, I was coming back to Delhi from Bombay. The gentleman sitting in the adloining seat went on talking for almost half an hour on mutual funds with his friend. He really seemed to have a depth and wide knowledge on the subject. After he finished, I could not help asking him ,” Are you working for some mutual fund?” He said “No, I am a Mechanical Engineer by training but I want to work for a mutual fund. That is where my real interest lies. I have tried several times to get into that field without success. What is the point in earning money working for something you don’t like and then spending the same money in case any health problem arises. Its not easy to switch professions”. It is a pity that training and education are given more importance than natural talent.

In real life, we have untraied actors like Amitabh Bachchan, untrained lateral thinkers like Dhirubhai Ambani,untrained geniuses like mathematician Ramanujan and even some nobel prize winners (DNA and Micro chip) who frankly admitted that their success was because of lack of formal training on the subjects which enabled them to do out of the box thinking.

Besides, Subhash Ghai trained as an actor but became a director, Ravi shastri trained as a bowler but became a batsman,Salim Khan trained as an actor but became a writer( In the book the making of Sholay, he admits that he had the gift of conception but not the gift of projection). If these people could be successful, why should other people who find their vocations late in life, not be a given an opportunity. Should thier whole lives be ruined because of one wrong decision?.   

This more or less echoes what has been written earlier on this blog. A few days back I heard a religious discourse where the speaker said that somebody asked Swami Vivekanand, ” How wise are you?” He said that I am more a fool and less a wise man because I am wise in only one thing and a fool in all the rest. Imagine a man of the stature of Swami Vivekanand sayng a thing like that.

Though Swamiji said that and the literal meaning of the word education is to draw out what is already in, it does not happen in real life as a result of which there is lifelong misery like the one mentioned above. Do not people who made a wrong decision once deserve a new chance? Should not more proactive attempts be made to know early in life where one is wise and where one is a fool to enable you to prosper emotionally and financially.

If a country like the United States has such a big problem( links on the right), one wonders what kind of problem India faces with its huge population and lack of the kind of expertise the US has.