Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

drive to freedom, or be driven?

Ads on TV and gigantic roadside hoardings clamour for attention. Milling crowds, human beings losing their unique identities as they rush to chase money. They say one needs drive and ambition to get ahead. In the scramble to reach that elusive place where you can get even more and even better, do we in fact lose our true selves?

On rare moments, work can combine with true inner satisfaction. I got such a chance when an editor asked me to interview some young professionals who volunteer for social causes. This was for the India's sixtieth Independence Day special feature, and while interacting with my interviewees, I realized the true import of independence.

I listened to highly educated young people who have worked and studied abroad. They've been exposed to the best the world has to offer, and they're now quietly at work. They aren't talkers, but real doers who work for the betterment of the world without even thinking that they're doing anything special.

I saw the will, the caring heart that wants to give;
"I wanted to help, to give back what I have received from my country and society," said Vikas.
"I want to see a developed India right now," said Vijay. "I want to encourage others and speed up the process in my own small way."

I saw the clear thinking which can lead to progress and growth:
" With a systematic approach," said Vikram, "we can see better and more effective results."

The clear thinking that urges these altruistic young people to "be comfortalbe with who I am." The willpower and strong character that makes Nanditha say,"I don't understand why we look for excuses to chase money. We don't need to blindly follow others. I want to stick to my roots and think for myself."

And oh yes, that saving grace of modesty was there too. "Why do you want my picture?" Anitha asked. "I'm such an ordinary person doing my small bit."

Through their eyes, I saw a world far removed the rat race of modern life. These youngsters are in it, yet have risen above their fellow mortals rushing to nowhere on their treadmills.

I am getting an idea of what true independence means. It's jsut that I can't find words to describe it.


Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Brilliant post, Moni - and what refreshing voices those young people have - such a wonderful change in a world that is all gimme, gimme, gimme. Thanks for sharing this!

monideepa said...

It was so exhilarating to interview these young professionals. Can you believe that after a hard week's work at demanding proffessions, they spend their weekends guiding underprivileged kids and spreading the message of protecting the environment? Best of all, these lively young people have fun doing it and being themselves.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Do you know how rare this is? I was speaking to some professors the other day and they were all complaining how little young students seemed to care about anything. The one is an ecologist/botanist and had been trying to lecture on global warming. He said the kids just didn't care, were totally self-absorbed and selfish - as though the world's problems weren't their concern. I'm so delighted to hear that there are at least some out there who really do care and want to make a difference.