Mind not the small start, flow on like a river

Subroto Bagchi | Updated on December 03, 2012



Dropping out of my Master’s course at the university one day, I started my work-life at 19. Today I am 55. As I look back at the intervening 36 years, the one thing that jumps out at me is change.

The world has changed, economies have changed, frontiers of humanities, science and technology have changed, and social mores have evolved at a progressively accelerated pace.

In the future that you will inhabit, change will be your companion. Only, the speed of that change will accelerate. Like me, you have no clue where you will be when you are my age. So, I have mixed advice: you must plan for the future but at the same time, not really plan too much ahead.

Once I went to see the source of the river Cauvery. I thought it would be a spectacular sight. It turned out to be just a glorified well. The river bore no resemblance to what it looks like at the confluence.

Your life today is like what a river looks like at the source. So, flow on. Collect the rainwater washed over land, sometimes in trickles. Receive the droplets from clouds above.

Welcome the tributaries that come from nowhere. Budget for the occasional hard fall; work around a mountain that suddenly stands in your path. Along the way, like the river, bring great benefits to life. Do so with joy and abandon, limit your fury and know that all journeys must finally merge with the vastness of the ocean.

So, do not overprocess the question, “What will I be? What will it be?” The river has control only over the next step and knows it must end where it finds the ocean. Trust life.

Now, what should you then plan for? You must plan for tomorrow and more importantly, execute on it flawlessly but do not be fixed on the day after and the day next.

Choose your goals in settling for what you want to study, what job you want to pick up, go with what seems like a reasonable, logical and at the same time, intuitive choice. If your circumstances allow you to make choices, count your blessings and return that favour to life.

But some of you will not have a choice. You will be required to accept what may come your way. You wanted to study computer science but ended up with commerce? You wanted to study in a big city but have to stay on in your small hometown?

You wanted to go overseas and take up research but now must stay back, take up a not-so-glamorous job to look after an ailing parent?

Whatever it may be, think of it this way: Cauvery did not have a choice where to start. Not in the Swiss Alps, not in the Himalayas, she was simply asked to spurt in the Nilgiris.

She accepted that fact and simply flowed on. As you think of her, do pause to listen to the many tall trees growing by her banks.

They are whispering to you, “Grow. Grow where you are planted.”

(The author is Chairman, Mindtree.)

Published on December 02, 2012

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