Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We the People

Recently CNN-IBN gave the 'Indian of the year' award. There were debates for about a month leading up to the actual award. In one of the debates, Ramachandra Guha made a point that India has such a variation of people and cultures, that it would be unfair to give any ONE person this award. In one of my recent training programs, I was working with the sales managers from a agro company. Sitting around a bonfire in bone chilling cold on the banks of Ganga, I heard intently to stories from their lives. I was amazed to hear one of them talk about the one instance in his life when he felt extraordinary. During college he used to go to an orphanage near his home and do whatever little work he could do with the volunteers there. The book fair in Kolkata was round the corner and this gave him an idea. He had about 25 painting ready. He gathered some friends and sat on the footpath all day trying to sell the painting. By the end of day, he had made Rs.450/- by selling all his paintings. He then proceeded to give this money to the orphanage. Over the years, now he has risen in his career to be a successful manager, and currently manages to donate several thousand rupees to the orphanage from his paycheque. But he still considers his first effort as the one which gave him the most satisfaction. I have withheld his name on his request. I am sure there are thousands of others who are similar selfless work across the length and breadth of our country. The CNN-IBN award for lifetime achievement award was given to RK Laxman, the legendary cartoonist who created the common man. Peeping from his glasses out of the pages of TOI, this character has brought a smile to our face every day for the last several decades. Maybe the Indian of the Year award could also be given to the 'common man of India', like my painter friend. This common man has loved his country and its people. When he is walking into a multiplex carrying a packet of popcorn for his little daughter who is following him, he stops to stands in attention as the tricolour comes on the screen to the tune of Jana Gana Mana.

There was another interesting thought that this painter turned sales manager spoke about. He wondered whether old age homes could be combined with orphanages in some way, whereby the children would have so many grandparents to tell them stories about the world, and the old people will have the next generation bringing some cheer to them in the twilight of their lives. Any takers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pushkaraj,

Times come and go when one does heroic deeds in his life. Some cherish them some just walk past them. Time takes them back to those memories in the state of hurt, loneliness, turnarounds. May be those memories are meant to hold oneself to balance emotions and prevent thouself from going over the edge.
Some with lesser of those fulfilled feelings and more with lost feelings choose to terminate and give up the chance to enjoy the ice cream before it melts down.
I will acknowledge both the painter turned successful businessman and the deseased hurt souls.