Thondrin pugazhodu thondruga..agthilaar
Thondralin Thondraaamai nandru
The "Thirukkural" mentioned above means -
If you are born in this world, be with the qualities conductive to fame. For those who can't, better not be born.
Last week was full of farewells of people I am very fond of. First came the news of Phani, my toastmaster mentor of one speech (not sure if his decision to quit the job was due to that), then it was Sachin's retirement news followed by my good friend Mahesh's last day in office. You couldn't pick a more diverse bunch if you ever want to choose one. But they have one common aspect - being famous.
The Phani-funny cliché has been too clichéd even for a cliché. Still its not without reason. I often used to wonder how can a person be so dedicated to a cause, in which he gets to be the backstager rather than on stage most of the time. The way he used to show to time out for over eager speakers from the last row even when he wasn't playing any roles for that particular session or the sincerity with which he used to pass notes with feedback and more importantly the respect with which he addressed people while talking, even when not in his mother tongue was simply amazing. It was little surprise that he had such a fabulous send off at the toastmaster club and the best part of it all was that, he was an individual contributor without a team for all of the years that he was in office. Meaning, the only way he could've impacted and impressed so many people was with his only window of meeting them, which is the once a week toastmaster session. Think Phani, think of a smiley face and curly mop hair and a strong confident yet polite voice.
The other guy I mentioned also has a curly mop of a hair and probably little taller than Phani. But his deeds are something that would remain forever unless book cricket becomes the fourth official form of cricket after T20, ODI's and test matches. I skip most of the matches for I always had this superstition that if I watch India will lose the match. So the next morning newspaper of any cricket match day was always special for me. I would open the paper right from the last page with trembling hands in excitement to have a peek at the headlines. If they read an Indian victory, my day would be made and if it says Sachin hundred underneath, more often than not, it would be the best possible start for that day. I am sure this would be the case to billion other theists for whom god wears number ten jersey and opens the batting for India in ODI's. He was no comedian, but he was that special Indian who made a billion Indians smile.
The other person on my list, doesn't possess a curly mop hairstyle to start with. He came for one session to toastmasters and never plays cricket. What makes him special is his attitude. He can say the foulest of abuses with a smiley face. You can blast him left right and center with stinker mails, still he would read them like love letters from his lady love. You ask him to take up ERP one day Web technology the next day and into Mainframes after that, he would still be on all the three teams, learning from freshers to seniors with same dedication and would eventually grow to lead the same people who taught him the tricks. He is one walking talking network and has contacts for every single company in every single industry you can think of. He has studied catering technology, been an sales executive for a leading insurance company, headed a team in an MNC bank's back office operations and been a business analyst in PeopleSoft moving on to a different role in a totally new ERP in few days time.
Phani may not have won many ribbons in the club. Sachin may not have won as many tournaments as Ponting did as a captain. Mahesh may have his own handicaps. But there is one thing common in all of them. Each of these people are not famous because they did what they had to do or the way they did it. But how they made others feel, while they were at it.
You need not necessarily be famous to be nice. But its always nice to be famous ;)