Ta Ra Rum pum- Taxi Drivers and Dreams

May 18, 2007

In the context of choosing one’s career it is often said “Choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are” . Motivation speakers often exhort to “Follow your heart/dream”. I read in a book how artists live a lifetime of penury , actors take rejection after rejection, animal lovers put up with apalling work conditions- all for the love of their professions

In that context, in the movie Ta Ra Rum Pum, actor Javed Jaffrey mentions in the beginning how people follow their heart, their dreams but when they get broken, they become taxi-drivers to support themselves (in New York as mentioned in the movie). The lead actor, Saif Ali Khan when reduced to penury from being a car racer also has to turn to the taxi to support himself.

This reminded me of an article that appeared in the Times of India two three years ago which stated how a child psychologist whose passion was driving, actually turned to the taxi to support his dream instead of the broken dream as stated in the movie. It sounds quite unbelievable but is true:-

“Driven by Passion” by lov Verma

“Kenny was his name. A genial six footer, African American. He was invariably dressed in a black overcoat and a black and white patterned muffler. A rich and resonant southern drawl which could give the Big B a run for his money, completed the picture. He looked like a kindly college professor but I was in for a shock when he introduced himself. “Hi! I am your driver around Washington DC” he grinned. His eyes twinkled, “I shall be your friend, philosopher and guide”.

Unwittingly, Kenny was of great help to me one evening. The wife with a knowing gleam in her eye, suggested a shopping expedition. This was going to burn a nice deep hole in the pocket. In the interest of marital peace, I put on a brave face and summoned Kenny. The man , blessed his soul, drove us down to the true value chain of shops, owned and managed by –you guessed it- blacks. The prices suited my pocket and I came away beaming. The wife, meanwhile is still wondering why people rave about Washington’s shopping malls.

It took an ankle sprain for me to get to know Kenny more intimately. While my friends hit the Washington Museum trail, I hobbled back to the car where Kenny was snoring. He awoke soon enough and seemed ready to chat. “Tell me something about your life ,Kenny”, I urged.

Well, he responded,” You may find it somewhat difficult to believe but I was a professor of child psychology for ten years, then I got kind of bored with it. So I thought “Why not give my childhood passion, driving, a try and now here I am, doing what I love, for the last fifteen years.”

I gaped “ Was it not a huge climb-down in terms of status and all?”

“Of, course it was, “Kenny grinned. “Lots of raised eyebrows but I have always felt that one must do what one must do, what one enjoys and believes in. The world can go to blazes for all I care. “

By the time Kenny drove us to New York and finally left, I could not but reflect that he had taught me some great lessons about life. “

_______________

I personally feel that the lesson learnt is that no work is superior or inferior but it is the spirit with which you carry it out that matters. There is a saying “It is a man who dignifies a job and not a job that dignifies a man” which is amply proved by the story. It reminded me of a chance meeting with a bus conductor in my conducted tour on my trip to Singapore last year. He was speaking very good English and his presentation was too good to be true. I was prompted to query his background. He replied that he was a retired bureaucrat but did the job because he liked it and was proud to be from Singapore.

Since the writer has referred to the Big B or our super dignified superstar, Mr Amitabh Bachchan who himself left the corporate world to pursue his passion, acting the result is there for all to see. In an interview he mentioned the secret of his success” I was able to decide correctly early in life that I wanted to become an actor. I have come across several people in my life who do not know what to do with themselves”. Everybody cannot be a mega success like him but being able to spend a majority of your waking hours in the right occupation is a dream by itself:-

“The person who has found his vocation in life is a blessed human being. Let him ask for no other blessedness”- Thomas Carlyle.


Even Mahatma Gandhi believed in it

February 6, 2006

These are some excerpts from Gandhi’s Autobiography “The story of my experiments with truth”:-

“Finally, it is better that one do

His own task as he may, even though he fail

Then take tasks not his own, though they seem good

To die performing duty is no ill

But who seeks other roads shall wander still”

“My aptitude for nursing gradually developed into a passion, so much so that it often led me to neglect my work and on occasions I engaged not only my wife but the whole household in such service. Such service has no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it. When it it done for show or fear of public opinion, it turns the man and crushes his spirit. Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant not the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”

In the context of the Zulu war in South Africa, Gandhi ” At any rate my heart was with the Zulus, and I was delighted on reaching headquarters, to hear that our main work was to be on the nursing of the wounded Zulus”

At the kumbh mela in Hardwar, when Gandhi was not left alone by the people even during meals and baths, he concluded.  “Thus it was in Hardwar that I realized what a deep impression my services in South Africa had made throughout the whole of India.”

It can be concluded from all this that it was his passion for nursing and public service that queered the pitch for his being the Mahatma. Even fifty years after India’s independence, there has not been an encore because some of the powers that be have made politics a profession and put the cart before the horse.


Inspiring career stories of famous people for students

October 18, 2005

Some of us think that one is lucky if one is born in a business family so that after graduating one can straightaway take over the family business. That is not always the case as the following examples show:-:

One of the most interesting vocation stories are with respect to Henri Ford. Ford’s father was a farmer who wanted his son to follow him in his own footsteps. However young Hernri’s heart was with the motor engine and similar things with which he tinkered. After furious arguments with his father, he left to chart his own course to create history by becoming one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs. The lesson to learn here is that one has to see where one’s spontaneous inclination lies and then have the courage and conviction to back is up.

Much later in life, Henri Ford brought into ford a person who could concentrate on all other areas except for manufacturing which was Henri’s forte. Henri ford was regarded as a business genius in his time. This shows that even geniuses have to indulge in complimentary synergies- supplement their own strength and complement their weaknesses.
The other example is that of Akio Morita who became Sony’s Chairman. Though he did not have any arguments with his father, being the eldest in the family, he was expected to take over the family business of brewing sake, a Japensese drink. However, Morita’s interest lay in electronics which is where he went. He created one of the world’s biggest companies in partnership with another person.

In one of Dale Carnegie’s books there is the example of one person whose father has a laundry business. His father was ashamed of his son because he had no interest in work and was lazy and indifferent. However the son wanted to become a mechanic and used to do that work endlessly. He pursued his heart and went on to become chairman of Boeing.

Thomas Edison had no father’s business but he used to work 18 hours a day and yet say that he didn’t work in his life as it was all fun.

The best example in recent times is the richest man in the world, Mr Bill Gates who left his Harvard studies midway to follow his heart and that is what made him the richest man in the world. This would obviously not happen with everyone but what one has to learn is to know exactly what one wants to do. Sometime back, Bill Gates made Steve Ballamer CEO and designated himself chief software Architect to focus on his real love, software design. This is similar to what Henri ford did.

Another example is Michael Dell who had a passion for selling computers and competing with IBM which led to the formation of Dell corporation while he was only 19.

It would not be out of place to mention an Indian story. Alyque Padamsee, the former chairman of Lintas has written a book called “The double life”. In that he describes how he used to do advertisements for money which used to fund his real passion which was theatre. He had to sacrifice a lot of social life for this “double life” but this story clearly shows that one has to follow one’s heart more than one’s head for the choice of one’s career.

It can be concluded that passion alone determines what one should or should not be doing because it enables one to overcome all obstacles.


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