1/12/2008

Ten on Ten for Aamir Khan

Taare Zameen Par was one of the best movies seen in recent times. The movie connected me with my childhood days and it was like going through a time machine.When the movie starts, the teacher spells out marks and when Darsheel Safary's marks come out, It was a surreal experience travelling back a few years to my life. It wasnt a long time back, that my report card had not so great marks, and my parents wondered why was that I never managed to excel in subjects of logic like Maths Physics Chemistry while I weathered the storm of Biology(slowly getting better), and rode like a colossus in language based subjects like Hindi and English at School. Single digit marks out of 25, seems like rewinding 10 years back.

TAARE ZAMEEN PAR when advertised, looks like a kiddo film, but as the story unfolds, you realize that the story peeps into the mind and heart of a kid, his interests, his hobbies, his strengths and weaknesses. If you have ever been like that before, It makes an ever bigger impact on you as the movie unfolds. I will give a detailed review in the next post, but for now am delving into a bit of the connect I saw between my life and the movie. Dont expect anything great below, just a few ruminations from my side, on my life so far.

As a kid till class 12, I had been a latch key kid, and being alone most of the while, I experimented with a lot of naughty things in the house, from innocent things like wanting to feel how an electric shock looks like, to pointing a topless picture in a magazine to my mother and asking " why is she puppy shame" ? My world was always a make believe world that was either playing book cricket, playing cricket with a plastic scale and a miniature rubber ball, or immersing myself in THE SPORTSTAR. I never cared for what others thought of me, as my hobbies and needs were different. Folks in school found me funny and an object of laughter as I innocently seemed the first guy to get involved in any kind of comic trouble. Why did I never care? Probably it was the impact that make believe world had on me. I would feel itchy, if I didnt play my dose of vernadah cricket, and those were the days when India woke up to flood lit cricket and third umpires, and I switched on 5 of the neighbours 60 watt bulbs to make the light for night cricket with Green and Red cardboard cut outs for third umpire. People thought I was a mad kid, with misplaced priorities.

My parents would be most worried that their son, was not going anywhere towards being a top ranker or someone who even seemed studious. They had their reasons for being cross, as I never seemed to put efforts towards studying for Maths or science, as I dreaded them. As soon as I started studying I would see crazy dreams of theorems and axioms coming and asking me to chase them around my apartment. The problem started to happen when I realised that my interest in cricket was also taking me nowhere as I didnt get selected in the under 13 Tamil Nadu Trials. I was a decent pace bowler, who was just too innocent for the hard competitive game of cricket, and some of my cricket team mates took advantage of this, by taking most of the oppurtunities leaving me little laurels except a honest love for the game, but that doesnt take you anywhere, so I decided to opt out of cricket and concentrate on studies.

I was in this huge fix, on what to do, and when I made a trek to the Himalayas in 1997(Kangra Valley) with my classmates, I found that even though I was skinny, I had more energy to trek through the mountains day long, and when I saw that I was better than a few of my classmates on that trip, I asked myself how could this be possible...that I was better than them in any field, and it was then that we had a guide who spoke about mental attitudes and toughness required to climb mountains. I dont clearly remember what got into my head, but I decided that I will work harder on the dreaded MCP trio, and with concious efforts in class 10, I managed decent marks in the trio, and suprised quite a few people. That was my moral first victory in life, and as life moved on, I realised that quizzing was also my forte, winning many quizzes in 11th and 12th and that added a lot of confidence to life, and also discovered that public speaking was also an area of strength. Life just needs one instance of "confidence boosters" to try and enthusiastically start looking for more such instances. One led to another and life changed over the next 7 years, until I landed in Infosys as a Software engineer.

My greatest respects for the company, but as time moved on I realised that I couldnt code for nuts and when coding assignments were given, I usually finished last in completing my work. I was willing to put efforts to get past this barrier in life, but the stress factor of doing something against the will of the heart was too much for me. Every day while travelling in the Infy bus, I was staring bleakly outside the window, feeling guilty that I was in the best Indian company, but couldnt code for nuts. Every Tom Dick and Harry seemed to code, and I could hardly do that. This led to a phase where it started eating into my confidence, and with an absolutely selfish team that I landed with, they made sure my mental state went from bad to worse, when they tried playing politics at work. Life probably was not so rosy, in a software company unless you enjoyed the work. Comparing it to Taare Zameen Par, it looked I had coding dyslexia and could never figure out how to get around the problem. I distanced myself from most friends, as they would talk about their coding adventures at lunch, and thats the last ting you want to hear when your confidence is like a weak flag about to be uprooted in a storm.

Was there something wrong with me? Hmm possibly yes and no.. I had won a few intra BU events and that seemed to convince me that I was still normal, and not mentally unstable as my team lead pointed out :-). Add to that the pressures of competing for CAT, I had virtually no time for spending a few minutes with myself. Somehow over a cup of tea, by accident, I met the CEO of Sulekha.com and got a job at Sulekha as a Channel Manager, and did things that I had only dreamt of in the last few years. I was back to my creative best, and enjoyed working long nights as work was more about enjoying the moments there. I lived every moment until further roadblocks came...but that changed my life for ever. After that quite a few things have happened that in some small way have given me fame and respect, and I am fully aware of my strengths and weaknesses today and thanks to the MBA program, you start realising the power of attitude in taking where you want,as you nose your way through the maze of ego's and networking to the top. Life is good, and feels even better when I see Taare Zameen Par, which seems in a small way, a reflection into my troubled past :-) and I keep reminding myself, however ordinary I am, I must believe that doing the extraordinary is possible. Life is looking good :-)

5 comments:

Surya said...

Good post dude...

Kartik Kannan said...

Thanks Surya

theunkindmonk said...

You are special buddy......dont get bugged by the rat race around.As they say, even if u win a rat race........u still would be a rat!!!! Have faith pal and keep rocking.......

Rahul Anand said...

Hi karthik,

Came across your blog while googling for something I dont remember, and found this post.I could relate to many things that you went through from my own experiences with growing up and being a s/w developer. Great post, and good writing skills. Wish I could write like you.

Cheers Mate!

Kartik Kannan said...

Thanks a lot for your comments Rahul!

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