Do you think Saina Nehwal’s parents put her into Badminton so that one day they could become rich through her? Or Steve Jobs invented Apple because he could be a billionaire one day? Or do you think the sweeper cleaning your locality every day is made of some other human substance and cannot make more money elsewhere?
I tell you why these questions popped in my head and why am now finding company in thinking aloud and putting it out to all of you.
Few days back I met my relatives and they all were keenly asking me about my Kerala Blog Express times. As I narrated my experience to them, they all looked at me with a blank face. My entire energy seemed to be falling in no man’s land. I just stopped after a while and pop came a question – “What’s the benefit now?” What they were trying to ask was how this so-called achievement is going to help me in my future. Even if it’s an add-on to my profile, what are the tangible prospects now…would it help me in getting a job or something…
For the briefest of a moment I was confused whether I should make a face on that, go silent or actually explain them the “benefit”. I explained a bit and kept rest to myself, not out of arrogance but I just knew where the question was coming from and the answer will not be understood deep enough to shake its roots.
And I don’t blame them for a thinking that starts and ends at “benefit” of things. In India, in most of the “middle-class” households, this mentality comes attached with their birth (I don’t believe in this class shit, but just to explain here using it, I think class is what you are not a manmade stamp).
One of the best examples that oppose this sort of thinking is of my childhood friend who, during his school/college days, used to play guitar. His father was supportive of it as much as he was for his studies. Today he plays with Parikrama 🙂 – yup, the famous rock band from New Delhi, playing since 1991.
The children born in “middle-class” households are usually pressurized to take up jobs that would yield them a good position, status and of course, money (thankfully, my parents never shoved their choices down my throat too). If there’s a course they want to take up, they have to explain the “benefits” of it. Wanting or feeling to do it is no good reason. The want must have a reciprocal in terms of money since their hard-earned money is being invested into it. And I am not saying they are wrong! They have their own way of doing things and building a life out of whatever they have been able to all their lives. But the fact of the matter is, since they have never experimented and continue to live on with rigid mindsets, that’s all they have to pass on to their kids as well.
These thinking patterns are centuries old and can’t be changed easily. Again, am not saying they don’t know how to live their lives but we, the new-age thinkers, do. No amount of arguments can justify their way of living as not okay because there’s always a happy co-existence of ideas and mindsets and they, like any other human being, have the right to live the way they want to.
But just think. What if a sweeper wants to be a sweeper and be best at it? Why have I taken an example of a sweeper here? Not because I want to give a “lower-class” example but simply because he’s a human too who has taken birth like everyone else but has grown up to become a sweeper. May be because he surrendered to become one or it was his background and he was happy becoming one. He could have also challenged it and strived to become something else, may be a clerk at a Govt. office or just anything but may be it was his CALLING.
Likewise, it was Saina Nehwal’s “middle-class” parents’ calling to make her a Badminton star. She was put onto the court at a very tender age and soon it became her calling as well and today her family can waive off the loans easily through her calling-turned-career. We all know the story of Steve Jobs and his passion for machines till he breathed his last, money just followed. Let’s talk about the one people love to troll – Rahul Gandhi – by now it’s pretty evident that politics doesn’t seem to be his calling yet he’s doing it because factually, if he won’t handle the Gandhi dynasty, who else will? You know, Kavin Mittal, son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, decided to launch ‘Hike’ (a messenger app) and build a company from the scratch much like his father, who created Airtel.
And I think we all somewhere in our lives know of people who are hanging on to the top positions at MNCs, media organisations, Government offices, because they know they won’t enjoy the same status anywhere else. Call them cheeky, opportunists, or sensible, they don’t want to let go of the goose-laying-golden-eggs structure. May be that’s their calling.
And I also know many of you are still fighting to take this vicious decision – whether to choose money over talent or simply continue using your talent for money, even if your talent belongs to an industry that doesn’t pay well presently.
What all I have written here is just an extension of the saying “We all are here for a reason” Money as a necessity, as a tool of survival, as something that’s irreplaceable, cannot change it but it’s ironical how everything starts and ends at it. You can’t move even an inch closer to your calling with empty pockets. However, if we keep looking at things from the perspective of deriving monetary advantages, we won’t be fair to our plain wishes of feeling happy in doing things for the heck of doing them.
So, what should be chosen – Talent or Money? May be the answer is not to “benefit” it out but balance it. I believe, a good portion of both the worlds sounds promising for a long-lasting happiness! And it only doubles up when you know your calling…