On Starting from Scratch – III

Taking the Plunge

Perhaps it IS important to live well – have enough resources to feed the family.

What is more important in my opinion, however, is to teach the family and others around you to live proud lives. That pride should stem from the stature of the value it can provide to the society in return for all the conveniences the society provides them.

Fortunately for me, I did not need to teach my family anything at all. They are all so well-versed in the best ways to live, I discovered they were invaluable sources of inspiration, encouragement, and support of every kind to me.

I am guessing you have a family like that as well.

My family were far less addicted to my salary than I was myself. They genuinely wanted me back home. I had travelled all over the country in my quest for that perfect job, when all I needed to do was find it within.

If I had started out on my own when I was 30, I may well have been a proud owner of an industry-leading business today. I would also have been earning significantly more than any business could ever afford to pay me. But the best thing about it is being in charge of my own destiny. And that is what it feels like now that I have given up my job.

It’s your choices that make you, so it is important to choose wisely and well. I think I have done exactly that, for now, but only time can tell. I am confident that I will not be having any regrets, at the very least.

I earn next to nothing at this time. I believe I have maybe another 15-20 odd years before I am done with the whole business of earning.

In India, my country, we have regularly had people who gave up their jobs, life’s savings, and even ancestral property to be able to serve their nation – its ethos, people, and future:

  • A certain Rajput royal maid sacrificed her own child’s life to save the baby crown prince. As assassins murdered the king,they searched for the king’s son. The nurse in charge of the prince bundled him off to safety and put her own son on the royal bed. When the assassins came and asked for the prince, she pointed at the bed. You know what happened next. She is popularly known by the name Panna Dai.
  • Gandhi dedicated a lucrative law practice and life’s savings to the service of the nation. Even after independence, he did not crave a position in the government – perhaps because he had become too big to be a part of the government, by then.
  • One of my teachers spent all his savings to promote the cause of the tribals in my country. He was a professor at the university and probably made a tidy sum. But his thinking and feeling for the underprivileged and uneducated tribals led him to initiate several educational and reformative steps for their upliftment. I am referring to Dr. Ganesh Devy.

This background is indeed a great source of inspiration for achieving great things. Every other person makes a certain amount of money one way or the other. What is important, however, is how he or she lives.

If you are going to break free of the 9-to-8 schedule, go ahead and do it. Choose to live free, independent lives in the truest senses possible.

Doing your own thing and doing it well is more important than anything else.

I have started a business called Webwrit, a website content writing, editing, and translation service. I intend to provide the best possible service to business and other organizations. I will be helping them articulate their messages to their audiences. I will be helping them create their own identity on the Internet.

I will be scripting authority for them.

Have a look at my website: www.webwrit.com. On the other hand, I also have my other website, http://khandekarsacademy.in to look after.

Khandekar’s Academy is a coaching center for students in grades 8, 9, and 10. We provide coaching in all subjects to students from both the state and the central boards of education in India. We aim to provide the very best coaching possible, nothing less.

The content writing and coaching businesses are complementary to each other in a way. The one keeps us on our toes to do justice to the other.

I have already worked with some of the best minds in India, as my LinkedIn profile will tell you. I have a national award, a few publications, and a couple decades of experience under my belt.

I am all set to take on the future.

Are you?

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On Starting from Scratch – II

Dreaming Big

It does help to have a large vision for the future.

True, you may not become the next Google, Twitter, Starbucks, or Apple. Chances are, you’ll be nothing more than just another entrepreneur. And yes, the world is teeming with them. Competition will likely be tough.

Things can and probably will get really bad once you embark.

History is witness to the fact, however, that those who once embarked on downright crazy voyages and put themselves in clear and present danger have often discovered new lands, expanded the vistas of human thinking, and generally done what wasn’t even conceivably possible before.

This thought alone should give you enough firepower to steer your way through the choppiest of waters.

entrepreneur, spirit, taking risk, starting your own business,

What’s Life Without its Odds?

Do remember that your own reluctance to venture out into the open is the most difficult of challenges you will ever come across. Once that is done and out of the way, you are well and truly on your own. Still, however, there will be other daunting challenges.

Face them square on and every little victory, even defeat, will power your way to a most complete independence.

One of the chief attractions for me when I made up my mind to go it alone was the sheer prospect of becoming independent – financially yes, but also in countless other joyous ways. That in itself was such a big deal, I didn’t have to think twice about taking the plunge.

Think about it – people without anything significant to offer to the world have exploited its loop holes and made a living, even a name for themselves, out of it. There’s hardly a doubt about it – if you have something good to offer to the world, there will be takers for it.

I feel for every brother and sister in the world who is caught up in the dreary, time-consuming, and life-sapping schedule of the 9-to-8 monster and cannot do or think any better for the want of the courage to break free.

Well, Nature did not intend any one of us to slave for any other of us. It gave us spirit, gumption, and capability not so that we could just smile agreeably at the office, then curse it all at home. We were not intended to live double standards.

We were meant to live exemplary lives that would instill hope, courage, and confidence into everyone around as well as our future generations.

But most of all, we were intended to live happy, satisfactory, and meaningful lives. The society contributed to our education, all-round growth, and sense of fulfillment. We owed it back.

Instead, we chose to fill our purses and coffers, willingly rendering hollow our conscience, intellect, and free will. We succumbed to the pressures that drove us to our 9-to-8 schedules. When overseas competition drove us to the wall, we started acting like crybabies, over spilt milk.

Why did we not have the gumption to take the opportunity when it was available for the taking? Why could we not bring ourselves to outdo the competition in every way possible? Why did we not have the courage to take the reigns of our destiny in our own hands and personally supervise the directions we took ourselves in?

I am saying just this: for making a great, new start, you need to make a great, new start. It sounds daunting, but what’s a few challenges to a spirited entrepreneur?

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The Things to Do When the Going Gets Tough

Sometimes, the going does get tough. We all know the pithy saying, “ImageWhen the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But then, to get yourself going is not all that easy to manage, especially when everyone around you is acting suspicious and you have absolutely no clue as to why that is that case. You have seen one of those scenarios, you say? I know we all do, don’t we? It just happens to happen to every one of us.

It is at those times that you need to put every last bit of pluck in you on red alert. You return home late in the evening after a harrowing day at the office. You are aware that you just do not have the strength to go back the next day. And yet, that critical report needs to be sent on time. Or you have something equally important to do that has to be done the very next day, on account of the deadline.

What do you do with your current state in such circumstances?

While it would be most interesting to find out what exactly you personally prefer to do to gather the gumption to go back to the office the next day, let me relate what I prefer to do.

I am taxing my body and mind all the time, whether at the office or away from it. I am careful about the food I eat, for sure. I am not always careful, however, about getting myself that bit of exercise that I must find time for on a daily basis. When my nerves are frayed and I feel utterly depressed, the first thing I know is that I must not let it get any further.

So what do I do about it? Here are a few things I do:

  • I get some light exercise. As a kid, I was hooked to basketball for some years. I even attended special training for it. That training introduced me to some light, warm-up exercises that I haven’t forgotten to this day. I use those exercises in difficult times.
  • I like a place with plenty of fresh air. Those are usually places with plenty of trees and greenery all around. University campuses and large townships near the city can be safely expected to still retain a good number of trees. I just go to such places for whatever reason and spend there anything from 15 minutes to an hour or so.
  • I clean up my place really well. The utensils, floor, shelves, and even the porch outside get a complete scrubbing when I do it with a purpose. I have observed my wife do such cleaning many times, so I know what exactly I must do to clean it up so that I really like being at home. A home is the best place to relieve frayed nerves. Once I start cleaning it up, I don’t stop until it is thoroughly cleaned up or I am dog tired. Either way, it helps me obtain much needed relief. Believe it or not, you are a transformed person at the end of it.
  • I cook for myself, sometimes. You see, I stay away from home for work-related reasons. Staying all alone isn’t fun, to be sure. But cooking all alone, with full license to cook like a chef or completely botch up everything, is a pleasure in a class of its own. Plus, whatever the result, I get to enjoy and internalize a work of art all my own!
  • As a matter of course, I have come to enjoy solitude very much. But I also enjoy select company, whether online or in person, though I do much prefer the latter option. I just go meet someone I’d enjoy being with; it could be a child I know or even the neighbor! I go and talk to this person thinking to myself that it is essentially me I am talking to. Try it.

In addition to these, I would recommend anything and everything that makes for a welcome change for your body and spirit. Sometimes, just leaving the back door open to let the fresh air in can work wonders. At other times, nothing ever seems to work, so it makes sense to be stubborn and persist any way. And it does help to keep trying.

Over the years, I have made some recordings and videos of my little one, since those times when she was a cute little bundle of joy. That bundle of joy has now transformed into a very young princess now! It also throws some awesome tantrums sometimes!! In those recordings and videos, she’s so terribly cute; I regret she had to grow up. But those clips mean much more than the world to me.  They are a great source of courage, inspiration, faith, and raw will power.

Some of my music and those clips together make a very powerful cathartic agent. And I use my agent to exceedingly good effect. They make me laugh or cry, dance for joy, and get all worked up! It’s such a simple thing to just recall those times when I made those recordings; it gets me in chirpy mood alright.

I hope and pray for you, my reader, that you have some such formidable companions yourself. When you feel utterly down and out, make good use of what you have. Life is short, and we haven’t the time to waste on petty things.

Get your fancy boots on or whatever else that invokes your gusto the next time you are ‘UN-well’. Suffering and joy, crying and laughing out loud, and even simply going for a walk can cure you. Whatever it is you do, make sure you are doing it very, very deliberately. Sing out loud in the bath, jump all around your pad, work yourself into a frenzy just watching a ball game on TV, or just holler for help.

I think you’ll manage quite well!

Another thing you can do is just type away furiously to comment here to tell me about the thing you do. If you do one of the things mentioned here, or if you have one your very own, please do tell me about it! That will help too!! My response is, of course, guaranteed.

And then, of course, go write your own piece on the things you do!

Godspeed…

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Dr. Ganesh Devy – A Fount of Perennial Inspiration

A man who teaches in better ways than experience can, writes seminally, speaks with democratic authority, and feels profoundly for the downtrodden and underprivileged, comes once in a few centuries. A man who is capable of maintaining perfect poise while balancing all these – and still has room left in his schedule for lesser mortals – is rarer still.

The Value of a Teacher

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It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. — Albert Einstein

My teacher, mentor, guide, and literary guru, Dr. Ganesh Devy, is all of that and more. To me, he is a man of the rarest substance ever, period.

One of the many best things he has bestowed on me is easy access to him!

I couldn’t sing paeans to him for want of the authority to do as much; this post is meant only to introduce my friends, online followers, and students to the most eminent constituent of my being.

His influence and parallel reluctance to exert such influence have gone a long way toward making most of what I am. My beloved parents are responsible for the rest.

When I studied there, Dr. Devy was the only professor at the English department, M.S. University, Baroda, whose lectures were full house – each time, every time. His lectures went way beyond any attempts at emulation by employees of the department.

The Master’s Voice

I retain and treasure fond memories of his lectures on W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, the Renaissance, and the rest of the history of English literature. At a later time, he would speak so vividly on issues concerning the de-notified tribal populations of India, the listener could have been watching a movie on the subject, though such a movie would not quite be the same thing.

A linguist with a more precise understanding of the dynamics of language and its society never taught a course in India.

This sage among teachers gave to his life and his noble profession the best that anyone possibly could. To speak of his generosity at it would be akin to talking of the light that the Sun showers.

His visitors could easily listen to him for hours, spellbound, and yet leave his presence in a euphoria of the kind the Buddha would have experienced on discovering Nirvana.

But even when I went to his office at the department of English, or later to his office at the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, it was always an indescribable pleasure. I have always experienced breathtaking elation and anticipation at the prospect of meeting Dr. Ganesh Devy.

A Living Ganesh

In an era of dire poverty in comprehension of the dynamics of the English language and perpetual indifference toward all matters pertaining to culture and education, Dr. Devy provided unprecedented insight into language, Literature, society, and their collective fabric. That, I believe, is a very elementary description of the man and his work.

I am a man of humble means and neither deserve nor desire any better. But for sending Dr. Devy my way, I shall remain eternally grateful – to the One responsible. Such gratitude may not repay in the smallest measure my debt to this teacher of teachers.

As George Carlin has famously said:

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. … life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by those moments that take our breath away.

Suffice it to say that Dr. G.N. Devy gave me a treasure trove of those moments.

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Meeting Marla Davis

It was a series of interactions over Google Plus that led to my online acquaintance with Marla Davis. Over time, as we shared our trials, experiences, and stories, the online acquaintance grew into an appreciation of and for each other’s qualities. Marla has penned a blog post that captures the essence of the bond we share. This post is meant to share the link to that post.

Marladavis1

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On Starting from Scratch – Part I

Starting out on a small, self-owned business isn’t all that hard. 

Yes, it takes a serious lack of addiction to easy salary, high levels of commitment to what one believes in, a strong desire to live life on one’s own terms, and a small pinch of madness to be able to kick the posterior of the 9-to-8 monster of a job.

And I am nowhere close to mere preaching. Yes, I have actually done it! I have gone and started my own little gig at 42. And what follows is experience talking in person.

Webwrit Writing Services

Stand up and be counted

Life is about much more than slaving at a desk all day and being unable to do much more than what those guys would have you do. Amazingly enough, I have seen corporate environments where your motivation to do more and better does not count.

By the dint of your expertise and experience, you tried to prove to the management that you were the better person to handle your particular department. You also did it without offending anyone. But the management wanted its own old hand to manage it for reasons of their own. Well, all the very best to them all, you say, and cheerfully bid them adieu and leave them to their own devices.

It’s now time to show them the Maker’s name. So grant yourself a couple of months’ holiday, then up the ante – big time.

Get that free website or WordPress blog or the small, local outlet and give it all you have. Agreed, you may not make it big anytime soon. You may even need to subsist on bare minimum for a while. But be aware that none of it is bad, not at all. If you trust in the value of what you have to offer, rest assured that the world wants it.

The world is such a lovely, greedy place, it wants everything that’s done or made really well. Doing or making it well is important. Providing the highest value has the potential to bring roaring business and blast the competition out of the water.

For some time after I started out on my own, I met only people who wanted to take advantage of my situation. I just gave them my smiles and kept chipping away at my blog and website.

For a worryingly long amount of time, I did nothing that directly brought any money. But I was confident that one day I would make it big enough to not just pay my bills but also do more in the interests of the family, friends, and the rest of the society.

Regardless of the outcome of my decision however, I am unlikely to have any future regrets. I want to do my own thing, period. My family needs me to be physically and mentally there for them. My daughter will be in the eighth grade next year. I need to provide coaching to her to equip her for her future.

To cut a long story short, I have priorities far bigger than a job. The prospect of starting out on one’s own is very attractive.

You can easily list your own reasons. I’d love to hear of them and the chance to talk to you, dear reader!

For sure, there will be challenges galore. But what’s a fight without a worthy opponent?

The upshot of everything is that life – and your priorities in it – come first. 

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That You Can

I had heard and noted that seeing yourself doing the things you wanted to do in life was a sure-fire way to actually be able to do them. I also formed my own perception of “Dream it and you can do it.”

Translating thought into action is more difficult than it sounds.  

Several factors are at work, influencing what you do and when you do it.

In addition to the most obvious ones – the economic and social factors – there are also some other subtle ones, chiseling away at your personal efforts at shaping your dreams.

So, over the course of living, you realize that it cannot be all that hunky dory. The grime, grit, and gory details of forging your means to a dream existence were simply not accounted for in your dream concept. 

Your own efforts are governed by factors far too powerful for you to even negotiate with.

Living with inconsistencies, despair, incompetence (both one’s own and others’), unforeseen challenges and circumstances, little niggling things, and – of course – the hindrances others might be throwing at you in pursuit of their own convenience – are all things you need to get in your stride.

Easier said than done, right?

But you know what, chipping away at these challenges and re-inventing your own approaches, methods, and concepts is a good way forward. It is, in fact, the very substance of meaningful living.

C. Rajgopalachari’s Ramayana describes how Rama, an avatar of the Supreme Creator Lord Narayan or Vishnu, is so distraught by the loss of his wife to the demon king Ravana, he actually contemplates suicide and talks like one who knows no sense whatsoever.

Even the supremely powerful among the gods can be so stricken and distraught as to lose his hold on ground reality. Lakshmana, his brother and an incarnation of Sesha Naaga, on whose coils Vishnu is seen reposing, offers entreaties to no avail. 

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“All Lakshmana’s efforts to console him were in vain. He was convinced that the Rakshasas had carried away Sita and torn her to pieces and eaten her up. He pictured to himself in detail the horror of her suffering and cried in his grief: “I must have committed terrible sins. How else could such suffering come to me?”

 

If such a state can befall even the supremely powerful, what can you and I hope to achieve in the face of adversity?

But that’s the beauty of the Indian Grand Epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

The idea is to understand that in the face of adversity, even the most powerful among us can falter. Yet, it is possible to pick oneself up, continue on one’s way, and excel at whatever one seeks to achieve.

In short, it’s okay to fail and be miserable temporarily. You can pull through the most trying circumstances.

The Indian epics have a powerful way of conveying a message.

Rama goes on to not only bring back Sita but also completely exterminate the fearsome Ravana, his  fellow demons, and their great armies. In the book, the events in the virtuous Rama’s life as a mortal on earth are rendered soulfully by the author. Wanna read Ramayana by C. Rajgopalachari? Here’s the link to the online pdf: http://bit.ly/12Fw8MR

The idea is to understand that you can overcome the most daunting obstacles with just the right amount of fortitude and patience. 

The idea, of course, is that you can. 

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A Translation of Convenience – ‘Jeev Dangala’ from ‘Jogwa’

The following is a translation of a Marathi song from the movie ‘Jogwa’. This is a must-watch movie for every socially conscious individual. The translation is intended for those who don’t know the language … only to give you an idea about the meaning of the song when you listen to it at either of the following links. The song is rendered by Hariharan and Shreya Ghoshal, who have done much more than full justice to the composition:

Only Audio: http://topmarathi.com//files/Marathi%20Songs/Marathi%20Movie%20Songs%20-%20A%20to%20Z/JJJ/Jogva/Jiv%20Rangala%20%5BTopMarathi.Com%5D.mp3

Audio + Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CslqU1QKYxY

Here is my translation of the song:

The soul astounded, stupefied, and immersed so
In a hope of love that’s you
The soul transfixed, an overwhelming breath, gaining the yearning for you

Take me across the waters, stay on with me, the heart of me are you
My joy is in high tide, the sky touching the earth to abide
The full moon are you

The moon will bring a fragrance, the night a sighs few
The earth is yours, the germinating soil are you

The mad cloudy sky, wrapped up in tradition
My precious beloved, break the bangles of convention

My fond heart have I gifted you
At your feet I dedicate my life’s hue

DOESN’T READ AS GOOD IN TRANSLATION, BUT SANJAY KRUSHNAJI PATIL HAS WRITTEN AN AWESOME POEM IN MARATHI, MY MOTHER TONGUE.

THE JOYS OF ONE’S MOTHER TONGUE WILL NEVER BE PARALLELED BY ANY OTHER.

MR. PATIL, HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS!

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