Monday, January 11, 2016

Dear Students...

The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on, said Oscar Wilde. I will not disagree but when Rector of St Joseph's School popularly known as North Point asked me to address the school students on their graduation day, I could not say no.
Partially I agreed because I needed a reason to visit this beautiful school founded in 1888 in the backdrop of beautiful Kanchejungha range and partially because I feel young again when I am with schoolchildren.
Just in case you are interested in the address:
Father Shajumon, Rector St Joseph’s School, Faculty, Esteemed guests, Parents and Dear Students, A Very Good afternoon and Congratulations to the Graduating students. Life outside the school is a different world, and I am sure, all of you who graduate today look forward to it in anticipation.
I have this onerous responsibility, of addressing the school on this solemn occasion, and I would thank the School for believing that I am capable enough to do so.
Truth being told, I am really nervous standing here, my heart is pounding at a fast pace and I am trying all I can to hide the trepidation from my voice.
I did wish once or twice that some urgent work will come up and I will escape this but Father Shajumon was persuasive and vigilant at the same time to thwart my any such attempt.
When I give my address, I am expected to share the secrets of success, the panacea for all dilemmas, and pearls of wisdom that one could hold along while progressing in life.
As all of you look at me with hopeful eyes, I am feeling slightly burdened with expectations. It would have been easy, if there was some mathematical formula, that I could have explained, but thinking about what I should tell you on this day is way more difficult.
To engage you for next 5 minutes, I could think of five mantras that I would share. In case you want to doze off, trust me you are not going to lose much.

1. My first mantra is that there are no Secrets of Success: Yes, you heard me right. There are no secrets and all that you need to succeed has already been taught to you. The age old wisdoms that you would have been taught to you in school, which was painted on class walls and recited in morning assemblies will hold true for all your lives. There will be no substitute to hard work, honesty will always be the best policy and friends and family will be the only one on whom you could fall upon on tough times. Life is Boring, isn’t it? There is no magical wand in this world.
All of you would have heard the story of Aladdin and his magical lamp. When I was a child I was fascinated with that story and tried my best to find that lamp. I looked in remote corners, prayed fervently and through about going on jungle quests. I dreamt this lamp would make me fly continents, serve delicious dishes and who knows may bring a beautiful princess too. Trust my experience; the chances that you will find that lamp are really bleak!

2. My Second mantra is that you should Dream: I have been a dreamer all my life. When I was a kid one day I dreamt of being a pilot, a policeman and even the President of United States. Yes, that was weird but let there be no limits on what all you can dream. If you cannot dream it, you cannot do it. Imagine what possibilities lay ahead, what all you can be and how you are going to be the best. It always seems impossible until it is done and let there be no limits on your dreams.

3. Follow your dreams passionately: The bad news starts here, you must be worthy of your dreams. Nothing worth having comes easy hence you must follow your dreams passionately. I come from North India and the best career people believe in that area is becoming an IAS Officer. With so many people telling this to you, I started wanting it but was too scared to pursue it out. I got into IIT Kanpur, found a good job in a Paints factory but after working for four months, I realised this was not what I wanted to be.
I started getting nightmares that all my life I will end up selling paint. So one fine day, I left my job and decided to go for it. There is no escape from your dreams.
All of you must have heard about Michelangelo, the famous Italian artist. He has said ‘If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all’. Hard work is all that counts. All of you have immense potential, never let anyone belittle you or make you feel that you cannot do something. Just match it with required hard work. When you want something, the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it but you must want it from your heart.

4. Be Yourself and Be Happy: You would have heard the story of Donkey and the Dog. You have heard it right? A Donkey tried to act like the Dog and wake up the washerman by braying at night. What did he get, a beating instead. You can only be yourself, all others are taken. All your life, you will feel immense peer pressure, the pressure from social media and the pressure to conform to socially accepted norms. There are no perfect personalities, there are no perfect careers. Try to find out what you are passionate about. Your profession will fill the major part of your life and you cannot be trapped in something you do not enjoy.
With my limited experience, if you ask me what is the most important thing in this life, I would say being happy. Cultivate friendships, cultivate hobbies. Only a happy person can keep other happy. Life is the most beautiful gift that we have and you must enjoy it.

5. My final mantra is always be Hungry, always be Foolish: Let no day come when you get the feeling that you have arrived. Always remain hungry for more, believe that there are many things you still do not know. The saying goes ‘The more I know, the more I know that I do not know.’ Keep on asking questions, keep on learning new things, and let the student in you never die. The day you think you know all, your growth will also end. You may not always find answers but you must always be looking for them. Keep on pushing boundaries; let the fire for exploring new horizons always rage in you. Try new things, visit places, make new friends. Let the child in you always remain alive.
I am done with my five mantras but there is an important thing that I want you to take away from my address. Oscar Wilde has said that ‘The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on.’ I would be happy even if you find it worth passing on.
Forget whatever I have said, the only thing that matters is not giving up in life. Remember: End is always fine, if it is not fine, it is not the end.
Best of Luck! World is yours, go ahead and conquer it! 
Thank You!

1 comment:

Rahul Bhowmick said...

Very well said sir...