Gandhi would, often, advice his over-zealous Western followers: “You do not have to convert yourself into a Hindu to lead a virtuous life; all that you have to do is: be a good Christian.”

I remembered this advice when Ramesh, an ex-student of mine, had come to seek my advice, this morning.

Sankat mein Venkat!” That’s how Ramesh thinks I am for him. Once in six months, at least, he has to see this ‘Venkat’! Well, though this may sound a  little embarrassing and self-glorifying – I wish to admit that even I , too, go to many such ‘Venkats’ whenever I am in my own ‘sankats’!

What was Ramesh’s sankat, today?

Ramesh did his graduation some fifteen years ago, and, simultaneously did a Software course from NIIT. He comes from a very simple, hand-to-mouth, Maharashtrian joint-family. He has a complex that he can not speak in English… and, he, often, gets intimidated by his colleagues and bosses. He goofs up and gets criticized and then sulks, broods… comes home and reacts with his family members. He is married and has a four-year-old son.

So, every time, sankat comes in Ramesh’s life, a visit to this Venkat is foretold!

Today, Ramesh wanted me to advice him if quitting his job and becoming a self-employed was a good idea or not…

“A bad idea,” I advised Ramesh on his face… even before he had finished asking me!

Rs. 25,000/- p.m. is the gross salary. After some deductions (No PF, but) Rs. 22,000/- is net take home. Five to six thousand he is able to save every month through LIC etc. He had a loan taken from his relative, which he has already repaid. Once in a while, he is called by a local Computer Class to take classes; whenever that happens, he earns about five thousand (Once in three months roughly). Similarly, he gets to develop software from some consulting firm, where he is able to make another five-six thousand. Again, once in three months or so, that is. What is to be noted is that, these assignments are not his own achievements… they come to him through some classes or firms. It is just like another job-work.

So, is Ramesh ready for the plunge?

Certainly, not.

The grass has been always greener 

on the other side of the fence… 

Not to Ramesh alone, 

but for all of us, 

all through the ages!

The other side appeals… 

The other side holds the promise…

“Why can’t you work with all your love and passion… go the extra-mile here, right here in your present firm?” I asked Ramesh. “Have you thought what happens if you work here more than what is paid for… show extra initiative… bring more enthusiasm and creativity in your work… The bosses want smart, good hands… Why can’t you put in such work, that your boss cannot do without you…? Then, a day will come, you quote, he pays… In fact, you will be surprised, you may not have to quote even!”

An impractical advice?

Okay, let’s assume, it is outright naive, impractical. So, I advice our Ramesh to chuck his aadhi-rotiwala-job and seek teaching and software-development assignments. 

First thing first: Ramesh, as of now, is not confident enough to build his own clientele…  He still depends on others. To start something on your own, you need to build your own clientele. 

Second: What is expected of Ramesh, here, by his boss will be expected, there, by his clients, too. Who will give him free lunch… and why?

I told Ramesh this: “Sweet heart, assess your strengths and limitations. Keep your job… improve your efficiency… Bring joy in your workplace… Slowly and steadily, the increase in your pay, as well.” I added, “Simultaneously, build your network outside… Learn to speak well, promote yourself well… But, no, don’t expect to see magic or miracles ‘there’ – on the other side of the fence… If you fail to see the magic and miracles, here, forget it ‘there’… You will only chase a mirage, an illusion.”

It must be Ramesh’s hundredth pilgrimage to his Venkat, this morning… Though, this Venkat doesn’t mince words and tells things on face… it must be helping.

In Life, you neither have to change your religion… nor your job… to find what you seek… It is all there right here – right on this side of the fence!


Pics.: Raj Dhage Wai


Jaanvi said…
Very nicely told... Ramesh will be out of his 'sankat', for sure- Jaanvi
Reeba Ravindran said…
Happiness is always here and now. Rest is all illusion> Great post.

Anonymous said…
Lovely!!!! Ashok Jain
Shubha Dayal said…
One more masterpiece!!! Shubha

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