Feb 26, 2008

Vethal's Corner - 2

I have a dream...

Sandhya was an IT professional. A senior in the field, she had begun her career at time when things weren’t as rosy as they seem to be now. She had seen the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the roses and thorns. Hailing from a lower middle class family based in suburbia, sheer grit and determination had seen her through to where she stood now. Right from her education to building her career, every brick and stone was laid down by her own efforts, with parental support being restricted to the initial finances.

Sandhya’s secret desire, ever since her childhood, was to become a scientist. She did not know of Abdul Kalam, back when she was growing up, and considering her humble background often wondered if she was building a castle in the air. But her parent’s debts and her concerns about younger siblings future, forced her to make alternate choices in life. She did not enter the IT field through the traditional route of campus placements. But rather, started off with multiple odd jobs related to it, did many courses and certifications, made strategic job changes, impressed the right people, deftly moved the coins to make a quick rise to middle management.

Her career moves were mostly fuelled by her burning desire to give her family the comfort they never knew of, or didn’t dare to dream of. She was quite a satisfied human being, when she looked back at her family back in the village. She had tried to bring them to the city, but the metro bewildered them so much, that she didn’t have the heart to make them stay.

Nevertheless, her childhood dream remained unfulfilled. And often resurfaced as an occasional sigh or as a far away look in her bright eyes.

Manoj was a happy go lucky guy. With affluential parents, who were both doting as well as disciplined, Manoj had the right blend of backing and talent. He was good at almost all that he did, but was extremely moody. He did only what he liked, or rather seemed to like for the moment, but since he did it well, his random swings didn’t bother others much.

Manoj got placed into the same IT company where Sandhya was working, immediately after his graduation, and as he always liked to say “ Macha, it was pure luck da.. I didn’t even give it a try”. Manoj had a slick tongue, and the influence of a good schooling, which promptly brought him the limelight among his peers. Sandhya too was one of those, who noticed the sparkly yet spoilt youngster. Quick to spot talent, she pulled him under her wing. They shared a great rapport, and soon Manoj was Sandhya’s protégé. Sandhya liked Manoj’s never say die attitude, and Manoj couldn’t resist the challenges and recognition Sandhya showered him with.

But, as with people spoilt for choice, Manoj soon diverted his interests elsewhere. He got tired of the field, and moved out of the company to pursue his higher studies.

Few years rolled by, and their paths crossed again, in a different company where Sandhya was in the upper echelons of middle management, while Manoj joined there as a expert consultant, a couple of research degrees later.

The rapport wasn’t the same, although things weren’t altogether strained. But Manoj’s re-entry had a profound impact on Sandhya.

She began to get annoyed with her family, and their concerns. The brunt of her unfulfilled dream hit her worst, when she saw it realized by another. If only, her parents were able to afford that English medium school.. If only, her parents were educated… If only, they had had more money… If only, she didn’t have to worry about her younger sister and brother… If only she didn’t have to repay that housing loan… She began to feel small when compared to Manoj’s flamboyance. Her self assurance, which had survived many an assault in the formative years of her career, seemed to have suffered a death blow in Manoj’s presence. Life seemed unfair.

Now tell me, Vikrams of the world.. Whose achievement was greater? Was it Manoj’s ? Or Sandhya’s? Do the ends matter more than the means? Does the world see how arduous your path was? How difficult your journey was? And how far your starting point was? Or does it merely look at the heights you have scaled? Even if they are mostly consequences of a fortunate birth?

Sandhya herself couldn’t take pride in her success, and yearned for being someone else. Is that view that she has of herself, or is that a perspective that the world forces on her?

If you dream strong enough, your dreams become reality. But sometimes, reality can come in the way of your dreams, however strong they are. Has Sandhya lost her dream because she chose to be a realist?


Neethi said...

I don't think it is a matter of achievements here. Do ends matter more..that is how the world views us. Maybe the reality is the dream. As is human nature we feel the grass is always greener on the other side, we choose to ignore that the reality is the dream we worked so hard for. Its all in our mind I can say. But the mind is conditioned by what the world thinks of us.

Well written and expressed all the doubts of young,successful, educated individuals.

Btw, are congratulations in order from my side, if you know what I mean.

Rashmi Kantharaja said...

Well, according to me, the cases are beyond comparison. To be compared,the base factors should remain same,unlike here.
Sandhya needs to be appreciated for her progess despite a very poor background she came from.
But then,how can Manoj's
achievements be belittled? Not that all folks from good backgrounds have scaled greated heights. If he has capitalised on that and progressed, no doubt he needs to be commended too.

~SuCh~ said...


Yes. What Sandhya failed to realise was the dream that she gave her family was also a dream that she dreamt. But it is the unfulfilled dream that is always the most cherished.

And thanks for the wishes. :)

Wanted to add an extra line on Manoj making the best of his assets, but deleted it as an after thought.

Manoj, surely has to be appreciated. But the point you mentioned, 'that the cases are beyond comparison' is what I wanted to question. It is fine to sideline them as 'insuffient basis to compare' on paper, but life brings such cases together, and thats where the well-defined basis needs a re-look.

Rashmi Kantharaja said...

If you see, her success from the narration is very vivid,it's her personal self not quite content with where she stands,not the public. Not that Manoj is the happiest guy in the world now. He would want to be someone else at this juncture.That's life dear,ignoring what good has happened and always aspiring/dreaming to be another person.Well, not a bad option either. In fact, aspirations push us further in life.

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

sol: good case-study - are you doing a MBA or something ? :)
This is not open-and-shut as it would seem. When I interview folks, beyond strength of competencies, strength of their acquired capabilities, I also look for their strength of core (not core-strength). Thats a damn good indicator of how people handle adversity, conceptual difficulties and completely different challenges. These are people who would solve "complex problems" (as stated in Cynefin framework) rather than just complicated challenges. I bet in real life, Sandhya would figure out a way to get out and return to the strength of her core...

In anyc case...

...Congratulations for whatever the other commenter has congratulated for !!

Anonymous said...

my summary in a short overused sentence, that covers everything and is a quick no nonsense answer to everything and nothing....'life is not fair'

Besides who knows what lurks under Manoj's flamboyant exterior....what dreams and desires, yet unfulfilled.

rsubras said...

i wanted to post my comment here..but i feel Rashmi had summed it up better :)

It is not that the world belittles Sandhya's achievements, it is when Sandhya considers her achievements as paled in front of Manoj