"Do You?"8 mins 18K 8 mins 18K
“You will be ahead of everyone in life only if you score well, only if you are the best.” once Ananya’s mother had told her. Those words got etched in her head so much so that she always wanted to be on the top. It was a compulsion because otherwise she will not succeed in life. There was no place for emotional attachments, vulnerability and to think about others.
Ananya, a super ambitious, intelligent, beautiful and a very confident girl had become a successful engineer. I don’t know how we define success but for her parents and for her she was successful as she had got a very well paid job in a very well known MNC. Her parents were very happy. Everything was good. But, something somewhere was always lacking. She was earning well, she was doing very well in her job but she wasn't that happy. She didn’t know what was missing, until one day when her life turned upside down. She started following something which she had long forgotten. She realized what she was meant to do after a question, “Do you?”
These two words changed her outlook towards her own self and towards her life. She realized what was missing. She realized she is not doing something she loves. She went for a sabbatical, explored things, reviewed her life, introspected and found out what she was really good at. She used to love speaking in front of people since childhood. She was really good in elocution, debates and plays. She used to love stage and would feel ecstatic after she had performed. She was a very good orator. Those were the moments when she had felt completely alive in her life. She loved speaking on stage and she was appreciated a lot for the same too. But, in the race of becoming what she did not want to, everything was forgotten. She remembers fighting with her mother once when she was in 12th standard.
"Mom, I don't want to become an engineer. I want to pursue public speaking. It gives me immense happiness. Please understand." Ananya had tried explaining her mother.
"No more discussion on this Ananya." And her mother had left. She had cried a lot that day. She was the weakest that day and had never felt so vulnerable in her entire life.
We find our strengths in weakest moments of our life. Things/people we love the most, only those things/ people can make us so weak, isn't it?
She knew what she had to do. It was a struggle at home convincing her parents especially mother but she didn't want to turn back this time. She left her job and started learning and grooming herself. She gave 3 years of dedicated, consistent and planned efforts. And, today she is a worldwide popular motivational speaker who is changing millions of lives.
"If you change even the smallest detail of your or someone's life, you completely change its outcome! That's so true!" Ananya remembered Rashi and smiled in gratitude.
(4 years ago)
Ananya was on a flight to London where she saw Rashi, her classmate from school. Rashi was an average student but she loved teaching others in school. She was really good at it and sometimes she even used to score lesser than people whom she used to teach. But, it made no difference to her. Ananya always found that funny. Ananya couldn't understand her during school time. She was different.
So, Rashi was reading a book. Ananya saw a strange happiness on her face. Strange, because Ananya has not known this kind of happiness may be. That book might be so interesting. Yes! We got the answer! It’s funny as soon as we see a person with a particular emotion, we start associating it with one or more situations; mostly with our own perception and with the ideas, beliefs or experiences we have had. Well, Ananya approached her. More than the happiness of meeting an old classmate, it was more of curiosity about what has she done with her life and to know where she is.
“Oh my god! Ananya Chaturvedi! After so many years!” Rashi was surprised to see Ananya and hugged her tightly.
“How have you been? You look ravishing as always.” Rashi was still elated.
Ananya had not expected such a warm greeting.
“I am doing great. Working with a MNC and going to London for work only. How have you been?” Ananya replied.
“Oh I am good. I am a teacher in a primary school and it’s so much fun teaching these little bundles of joy.” Ananya could feel happiness in Rashi’s voice.
“She is just a primary teacher and she is so happy! I don’t understand” Ananya was intrigued.
“So, what do you teach children?” Ananya asked.
“Well, actually I don’t teach them academics much because anyone can teach that. I empower them with life skills. I know each and every child in my class as in their personality, their peculiar learning pattern, so I just support them and be with them in their journey.”
“She is actually not a teacher also.” Laughed Ananya, in her mind.
“Oh! Interesting! And what are these life skills? if I may ask.” Ananya asked sarcastically.
“Life skills are basic skills a child should have so that he/she can face the real world. Life skills like health, hygiene, cleaning, meal preps, decision making, money management, time management, etc. I also make them aware about their own emotions, how to manage them, how to manage people around them. I make them see their strengths and encourage them to excel in their strength areas. In short making them good human beings and bringing them closer to themselves so that they don’t have to compare themselves with others. I help them create their own path because from this age only you can mold them the way you want as per their personalities obviously” Rashi explained.
“Do we really need to train children in these things? I never knew and I was never trained like that, neither by my parents nor by any teacher.” Ananya thought.
“We think teaching is simple but it can make or ruin a child’s life. It’s a lot of responsibility just like parenting. You will remember a good teacher throughout your life. I wanted to make difference in some way and I am doing so by making children good human beings who are more aware and responsible about themselves, their surroundings, their country and the whole world. So, this is what I do. Nothing much.” Rashi smiled and continued.
Something was happening with Ananya. She felt crumbling inside her. Was that the ego crumbling or her belief system, she couldn’t decide. But, something was moving definitely.
“I have been called to do a workshop for parents in London. So, I will be in London for a week and then come back. For how long are you going?”Asked Rashi breaking Ananya’s train of thoughts.
“Hmm… For a month.” Answered Ananya, still deep in her own thoughts.
“What do you mean by bringing them closer to themselves?”
“Every child is unique. They have their own strengths, likes, dislikes, personalities, etc. We don’t even teach children anything related to academics for a year or two. We just let them explore what they want to do. We give them ample of opportunities to play with different toys, games; we take them to different places close to nature like beaches, jungle, water falls, mountains, lakes, etc. We teach them gardening, climbing trees, basic survival skills, music. We observe every child very closely; we observe their fears, their insecurities, we see what they like to watch on TV, videos, what do they read, what they draw, what they sing, what they play. We know our each and every child so closely. And then we start teaching them as they will enjoy and in their own learning style. You will get bored listening to this Ananya.” Laughed Rashi.
Ananya was in awe. “Really? You take such humongous efforts just to teach children?”
“Haha! Yes! What I think is, if we concentrate on creating good human beings, world will be a better place to live in. So, this is my small effort.”
“But, what difference will it make in just teaching these few kids? Our population is increasing day by day.” Ananya had a doubt.
“My actions and my efforts are based on one story I had heard few years back and a theory I had read somewhere. They changed my life forever. I knew I had to do something to make world a better place.” Rashi continued.
“So the story is called 'the star fish story' which goes like this: a young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.”
Ananya smiled. She had got her answer but she was inquisitive to listen about the other theory.
“And, the theory which changed my thinking pattern was ‘the butterfly effect'. Even the flutter of a butterfly's wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. It means that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. If you change even the smallest detail of your or someone's life, you completely change its outcome.”
“This is why I love what I am doing. I know I make a difference in someone’s life. I know, this small effort I am taking right now, will make some great change in the world ahead. I don’t know how others measure success but I remind myself of these two things every day. And, I sleep satisfactorily thinking that ‘I make a difference’.”