Sometimes, one advice can turn our life around!
I was brought up in a small village and hail from a very poor agriculture family. My father was a farmer; he was illiterate and a daily wage worker.
After my graduation in science from my hometown, I came to Chennai for the first time for my higher studies with zero knowledge of English or any communication skills. I knew only Tamil and that too the slang of colloquial variety. Fortunately, I got to study in an institute of Government of India in Chennai, offering technology.
Initially I was a buffoon for my batch mates because I spoke to them in Tamil while they all communicated in English or Hindi. Ultimately my hard work, dedication and the attitude learnt from my village culture, helped me and boosted up my confidence to take on challenges.
Fortunately, just before my final semester exam, I saw a newspaper advertisement calling for application for the post of Technical Assistant in the same institute at Chennai. I applied for the post and I got placed in the same institute despite all the tough competition.
After just one year of my service, I got transferred to Bhubaneswar, as the institute functions across India and the position was also transferable on a PAN India basis to any extension centres.
Now seeing the transfer order, I felt as if my total life is spoilt and that I had lost everything in my life. I felt that God had gifted me something and then taken away everything. I did not want to leave my comfort zone at Chennai.
I met my parents at my village and started crying, telling them that I do not know Hindi or good English to communicate and I can’t survive in a new place. I was in a state of panic at the thought of leaving Chennai. I asked them for permission to resign from the job so that I could search for a job in a private organization, which meant that I could continue to stay in Chennai itself.
After seeing my sad face, my other family members also started crying but my role model – who is my father – who has never gone beyond my hometown – advised me in his own typical native way.
He said: “You have to decide about your future… whether you will travel by walking, or on a cycle or on a motorcycle or in a car depends on the decision you make now. Not all village boys get an opportunity to explore new pastures… You have got it! Go prove your mettle there… that will be inspiring for many boys from our village and they would also dream of a future like that. It is all your choice…”.
I left my hometown saying goodbye to my family members, not knowing how I will survive in a strange place.
I started life in Bhubaneshwar when I was in my early twenties, walked 20 km every day for about three months. I then bought a cycle and used it for about three years, after which I bought a bike and used that for about nine years. For the past ten years, I have been driving a car, and that too a Honda! I became the founder general secretary of the Tamil association in Bhubaneswar and any new visitor from TamilNadu will experience my warm welcome here!
Today I am holding a key post in the same institute. It has been such a phenomenal growth trajectory. I have visited a few countries like Germany, Netherlands, Taiwan, Dubai, Qatar, China and Malaysia as a delegate from India for some Government assignments. I have also been the proud recipient of a few awards from central cabinet ministers and secretaries. I speak quite fluently in English and Hindi, addressing a lot of gatherings as a subject expert.
A one-minute piece of advice from my father was all it took for me to take a complete U-turn in my life. And see where that has taken me!