Saturday, August 4, 2012


How passionate one can be in what one does?

I look around and feel awed by some –friends, business associates and just some others we know in public life. And I find myself lagging far behind. I do not want to hide behind the apron of excuses and frivolous reasons. I have been less severe in what I do. Has it not been a less than cent percent of energy, effort and dedication? Yes it has been. I do not know if I could not grab or latch on to what I love doing most. Nevertheless I have been less devout. I can recall the same story from my days as a student – school goer and later at the university. Am I made up so? Alibis as I mentioned are not what I intend to seek.

I have been watching the thirteen part episode of Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”. A faithful exercise I indulged in every Sunday morning in the 1980’s when the insipid Doordarshan quite astonishingly aired it as soon as it was released worldwide. Later the book “cosmos” was added into my prized possessions. I was inundated by the personality, passion, knowledge and sheer eminence of Carl Sagan the astrophysicist. He wrote and narrated the episodes and each word he uttered overflowed with emotion and sincerity .Though he succumbed to a strange variant of  leukemia at a relatively young age into his sixties, I gather that his was a life lived to the brim relishing in doing what he loved most-“ gazing at the stars”. 

A friend I admire and respect is among the top rung officers in the Indian Army. And I still am dumbstruck by his sheer will and dedication. His maniacal aim and purpose of getting into the army saw him dedicate himself solely for the rigours of the Indian Military Academy. Though from a Spartan family he was unnerved by perhaps a less understanding folks and succeeded in his aim. He has been exemplary in the service and I do not think there is many such one in his breed who are honest, upright and dedicated to one’s profession. He loves being in his boots. And he has I’m sure a couple of more notches to traverse in the hierarchy of the armed forces. He is now a Brigadier.

A business associate and friend I have known since almost two decades, his wife confided in me when I met her in Blore a few weeks ago that she feels utter ennui during his long absence from home on work but she feels happy that he enjoys what he loves most .He himself asserted that he will unstring his boots the moment he feels alien to what he does. An honest, sincere and no push over, he brims with absolute knowledge and mastery over his arena.  A person who can articulate with admirable powers! And, as appreciation of his caliber and dedication, have come to him the unquestioned faith and approval of his boss who seldom stretched his neck into his domain. I have not come across many others who brim with confidence as he.

These examples are just a few that came to my thought. It is tiresome to see people needing a reason to do things in life they love. Come on do it because you want to, it is fun , it makes you happy.

And there are others who crave and long to do what they love most. But the sheer guts to plunge into seem absent. The result is frustration and unpleasantness of the mind. The beckoning may not visit from outside, it has to come from within. It is the fear of the future that restrains. The commitments that are supposedly put forth as alibis and lame reasons are mere aprons to hide behind. They quibble when confronted. And with such people, I feel the misery is accentuated and life is sulking.


dr.antony said...

We often look at the lives of others and decide they were perfect and fruitful. Useful,could be.But only the person who lived it knows how well he lived it and how contented he was,with it..And then,what is the purpose of life?

anilkurup said...

@ Doc Antony,

Your comment takes me to think in a much higher plain.I do agree with you.Only one can tell about one's life and its contentment.
However I was been only exampling a few personalities who have shown much passion and commitment in their venture with zealous and single minded purpose.
As for Carl Sagan I infer from his writings, biography and his works on science and that I happened to see on TV.And for the other two, I have been associated with them for more than twenty and five years.

The discontentment and disillusionment often trumps from ones personal life and that can overshadow the success and fun of the love of one's life and perhaps vice versa too.

Your observations makes me think and perhaps I can put my thoughts down one day.

sujata said...

This post comes at a very right time. The Olympic medal winners make me think on these lines. The sheer passion and tenacity that sees a gold is worth of every praise that one can gather.

Insignia said...

Yeah, I admire those folks who dont lets their passion wither. To find happiness in what we do is the best way to win and succeed

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil, passion and commitment is something that we take for granted until it suddenly dries out...Sometimes others point it out to us . I did a post on this some time long ago - Here is the link

Balachandran V said...

The thought is best summed up in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, don't you think?

I have been reading Ruskin Bond's autobiography recently, wherein he quotes Shakespeare:
'This above all,to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou can'st not be then false to any man'.

Sometime in his early youth, Ruskin, who had made up his mind to become a writer, wrote the following lines;

'Hold on to your dreams,
Do not let them die.
We are lame without them-
Birds that cannot fly'.

One has to have the vision to dream; and then courage to realize the dream. You know me as a dreamer and - a coward to venture forth to realize my dreams.

But that doesn't mean that my life is miserable. I have to set my priorities ( what you called alibis) - but this dilemma is typical of such cowards like me. We keep on seeing both the sides and then unhappily chooses the 'safer' option, because in the final count,we decide that is a better option. But it doesn't mean my life is in total darkness. One can lead only one's life, not another's.

Those like Carl Sagan or the Brigadier or - I can name many - are fortunate. But like Doc said, their lives need not be as full as it seems to us. They could have their own unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. Carl Sagan might have looked at the stars all the time, but he might not have seen the soil beneath his feet...

anilkurup said...

@ Sujatha,@ Insignia,

I guess you both got it right,as to what I tried to say. It is the passion that people put into what they love to do most that makes th@

meera Sundarajan,

Passion dries out? Yes it may, and again it depends upon ones being that makes life richer.

@ Balachandran,

I did anticipate a good reply from you and as lengthy as you have commented.

Firstly again, let me emphasise that it is the passion that some people put into their cherished dreams that make them a vast distance above some of us. Dreams may not always sprout wings, but as you said dreaming itself is a rich feeling.

As for the priorities, indeed that is an excuse as we have chosen to be confirming than be different and chase our dreams. You may fret about, but I may not honestly as you would and that does not mean that we are miserable lot. Yes in a way we are because the unfulfilled dreams as in your case the yearning to be a voyager, a traveller, to be one with the mountains will stay as pangs. And you cannot deny it. That is the misery I mentioned not literally a downtrodden life.

Well there are many factors that make a life content, but seldom do all things fall in place. A life lived to its full need not be measured with bench marks that you alluded.

I met the Brigadier friend in Delhi and though his career and love for his profession may have made him fly latched to his dream, the mundane matters of life seemed to be bothering him. This was my inference.

And Carl Sagan had seen the soil beneath his feet and the trees and birds that are around as the stars he gazed at. Perhaps his melancholia may have been the premature death that cut short a life that would have taken him farther beyond and into the cosmos..

Happy Kitten said...

Yet, you did not mention what is that you yearn to achieve, your passion. Is it a secret? Hope you shall write one day that you finally fulfilled it.

anilkurup said...

@ Happy Kitte,

Well I said that I identify myself with the lot that generally put in less than the maximum effort that is possible. Not having the zeal and singular passion may have been a bane. Looking back there are a bit of ifs and buts.