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.

Advertisements

Kabhi alvida na kehna-Hamesha ke liye alvida kehna

August 11, 2006

Choosing the correct spouse and the correct occupation are the two biggest decisions of one’s life. Director Karan johar said in an interview in the context of the movie “Kabhi alvida na kehna” that “What happens if you find the right person at the wrong time after meeting the wrong person at the right time?” This is equally relevant for the other big decision of one’s life l ” What if you find the right occupation at the wrong time after finding the wrong occupation at the right time” ?

Since one has to spend three to four times the amount of time on one’s career vis-a-vis one’s spouse as it involves a majority of waking hours(, there are graver emotional and fiancial consequences . In a marriage, a divorce is at least feasible but in an occupation, many people find themselves trapped in what can be best described as a “lifetime imprisonment”. )

One cannot be happy if for a majority of waking hours, one is not in an occupation of one’s liking. Osho had used the word “dare devils” for people who had the guts to change their occupation.

Osho further said that it is not possible to know thyself without being yourself but being is realized only when one starts working (In work, we have the possibility of discovering ourselves) but it is too late to change by then as in some cases described below(Views of some vocational psychologists/ experts):-:-

 “The truth is that for most people, substantial career change is a multiyear process, from the first glimmer of exploration to the nuts and bolts of making it happen”-Curt Rosengren, person behind www.passioncatalyst.com.

“There is a huge difference between doing something because you want to and doing it because you are paid to. The decision to leave the security of a job(no matter how far short that job falls of perception of a “dream” job) is never taken easily”-Morgan and Banks, HRD consultants in 28 countries.

Sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to flirt with many possibilites.We do not give up a career path in which we have invested so much of ourselves unless we have a good sense of the alternatives. It takes on an average, three years from the time a person decides to leave a company until he or she walks out the door. Those are not good or productive years.- Heminia Ibarra, author of “Working Identity”.

Another American conultant, Craig Nathanson( http://www.thevocationalcoach.com/reveals how after 25 years of suffering, he just could not take it anymore and had to suffer a divorce and  bankruptcy but he forced himself to change his career to what he enjoyed more and made it his life’s mission to help other people in a simiar predicament.

Another consultant Lance Secretan calls for a destiny, cause and calling statement for everybody followed by a career meditation. All these complications show how tough it is and hense Hamesha  ke liye alvida kehna. In the movie Amitabh Bachchan says that love and death is in the hands of god. I would second that for love of profession(calling or vocation as well)

In each of the above books/sites and Po Bronson’s “What should I do with my life”, there are examples of people who have managed the change but they clearly reveal how long and tough  it can be. Nanette Hucknall’s “Karma destiny and career” describes in detail how much the family and friends have to adjust when the work msifit has to go “back to school”. I have not come across anybody in India who has gone back to school.

What I can’t understand is that if man can reach the moon and plan go to Mars, why can’t he make better proactive attempts to both know himself and ensure much faster change in a case of maladustment on  an issue so fundamental to  Individual’s happiness and society’s productivity.

President Abdul Kalam’s views are under “Quotable Quotes” under the  Relevant links section on the right 

It would not be out of place here to mention here that in the year 2002, the movie Devdas was released.Shahrukh khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali were the actor and director respectively.  It is all about how the hero goes into a negative spiral when he does not get whom he wanted as a life partner. This movie has been made nine times but the plight of the “Career Devdas“(not getting the career of one’s liking) has not been shown even once.

Though Farhan Akhtar is an intelligent director, the movie “lakshay” barely touches the issue considering the magnitude of the problem in my view. I did try to moot the idea to Mr Shahrukh khan through his brother-in-law(childhood friend of my brother) without success. As a student, it is very difficult to understand all this until the living hell is depicted on screen.

It would not be out of place to mention here what Shahrukh said in an interview that he gave to the times of India “Men and Women”,26th July, 2002. He says, “At the end of the day, you can take away everything from me but you can’t touch that ecstasy when I stand in front of the Camera- that’s the core of everything, there I am making love to my audience”. Shahrukh may not know it but some other great artists have expressed similar sentiments about their work. If only everybody could get such ecstasy; one should at least make an attempt.

Incidentally, Mr Bhansaligave an interview to Life positive magazine in the year March’2000 where he says ,” I tried a career in chartered accountancy but my entire being revolted. You have to be grateful to let life lead you and not fight it. And once you know what you want to do, the struggle for excellence begins. It never lets you give up”. As pointed out above, what about those who don’t know what they want to do or cannot change- their future can be described in just one word the other fantastic movie that Bhansali made- “B  L  A  C  K””

————————————————————————————— 

(The movie reiview is given here- http://hirenshah.wordpress.com/2006/08/11/kabhi-alvida-na-kehna-osho-ka-alag-hai-sochna-svabhavik-hai-bahuton-ko-chaahna-sirf-ek-ke-saath-kyon-hamesha-rehna/