‘What do you want to become when you grow up?’ a grandpa asked his grandson.
‘An auto driver’ Mike said with pride. The next minute Maria rushed to bang the 5 year old on his back.
‘How many times do you want me to repeat it? You should say that you want to become an IAS officer when you grow up. Being auto driver is not prestigious. Only poor people do that.’ She warned him and vanished into the kitchen as the cooker kept whistling.
The grandpa remained quiet for a few minutes. Mike broke the silence saying ‘I don’t want to become an I…I…’
‘IAS officer’ grandpa prompted.
‘Yes, IAS officer. I want to become auto driver…dur dur dur….’ He said under his breath accelerating his imaginary auto.
Grandpa lifted the kid, Mike, and seated him on the swing. Grandpa started narrating a story.
‘A kid named Richard was born in a well educated and ambitious family. His mom was a school teacher and dad a businessman. The parents bought Richard every possible toy right from the moment he was born. As Richard turned two he started playing with wheeled toys and his fascination for these kinds of toys grew. His parents noticed this and got him a toy of all the vehicles; cars, bikes, Ricksaws, train, bus, plane, lorry, cycle and the like. But what attracted Richard the most was the lorry. He used to enjoy playing with it.
Richard turned three. All his toys were replaced with better ones but he never let anyone touch his favourite lorry toy. When he travelled to places in highways he always admired the lorry that always over took their car. “Dad over take that lorry.” He would always say. A strange fascination for lorry, driving it, seeing it, travelling in it grew strong in him.
When people asked him what he wanted to become, he always said “A Lorry driver”. His parents never liked it. His mom wanted him to become a businessman like his dad. He was beaten up, he was said that being a lorry driver is no pride and it was a menial job. Over a period of time he got convinced that being a lorry driver can’t be an ambition. Eventually he forgot about his lorry toy and his dream of being a lorry driver.’
“What happened after that grandpa?” Mike asked.
‘Years passed. Richard graduated from India’s top business school. He took over his dad’s business and made his company India’s best. He was so successful. He had two kids who wanted to become doctors. He helped them become doctors. His family grew with the addition of grandchildren. He finally decided to retire and pass on the business to his son-in-law.’ he passed with tears flooding his eyes.
‘It sounds a lot like you grandpa. Aren’t you the Richard from the story?’ Mike asked.
‘Yes’ he couldn’t control his tears.
‘Why are you crying now?’ Mike asked wiping the tears that wetting his grandfather’s cheek.
‘Even today it hurts me. I am retired but even now when I see a lorry my heart aches. I wanted to become a lorry driver but I never became one.’ He said.
‘Aren’t you successful and rich now? Why are you unhappy for not becoming a lorry driver?’ the kid asked.
‘A strong desire to become something in life and not becoming what you dream of is painful.’ He said.
‘Listen Mike, no job is menial. No job is prestigious. Its people who take up the profession define its pride. If you want to become a lorry driver become one, do it differently, make it big, dream of it, work for it and become successful in it. Your success will redefine the pride of lorry drivers.’ He said.
‘So I can become an auto driver?’ Mike asked.
‘You can. I will make you one. But it is in your hands how you become successful in it.’ Richard said.
This post is dedicated to RJ BALAJI who is my inspiration for various reasons. RJing was not such a prestigious job before. It was always Cinema, Television and then Radio in the hierarchy of pride. RJ BALAJI made all the difference. He stands as a live example for how you can add pride to your job and your job has nothing to do with you.