A Thousand Sparks! — Quotidian — 025

(Transcript of video originally posted on 25 Jan 2021)


Yesterday, we were looking at “Leave Silver, Grab Gold”, weren’t we?! In connection with that, a friend, a well-wisher, a person who advises me a lot, (and, what kind of advice? Not the kind that I benefited from because I followed, but the kind that if I hadn’t followed properly during important milestones of my life, I would have been “done for”! Whenever she has advised me something and I had chosen not to follow it, I have suffered and struggled!) She, gave me some feedback like this. You can limit your references to two or three in each episode. You’re trying to pack too much. She went on to provide some supporting proof too.

Take a look at this, for example. In this story, you have brought in six sub-stories. You have talked about the Crystal Maze, you have talked about a robot, you have mentioned a cartoon, and then out comes a book! Followed by Abraham Lincoln and a nameless little girl. WHY?? Too much, she said. I thought about it, and a story came to mind. A story I had read in school. In Hindi. Titled “Ninyaanavey ke chakkar mein”. In the quest for the 99.

Let me narrate the story to you briefly. There was this king. One day, he sees a merchant at his court, a merchant who is seeming really happy and contented. So happy! The king is all dull and depressed, while the merchant is saying things like, “I am happy, I am satisfied, a roof above my head, food to eat, what I get is more than enough, let me sing a tune to celebrate it!”

So, the king asked, “How do we get this guy’s happiness? Why is this guy happy? Why am I not happy?”

The minister who was observing this from a corner, proposed a trick. There is no mystery here, let me just place a bag filled with exactly ninety-nine gold coins in his front porch tomorrow.. just ninety-nine gold coins. And, see what happens. “How will that solve anything?” wondered the king. “Just wait and watch”, said the minister.

What happened? Well, this merchant saw that gold bag, he thought it was a gift from God, a gift from somebody, and he started counting it. He counted ninety-nine in the bag. Who would gift anybody ninety-nine gold coins… It has to be a hundred.. Where is that missing coin… And he started searching for it. He didn’t get it. Deciding to round off the number, becoming obsessed about that quest, succumbing to greed, working harder, aiming to make hundred into a thousand, a thousand into a ten thousand, he ended up trapping himself in the vicious cycle, the rat race, the Wheel of Life. He too ended up unhappy, just like the king!

The quest for the missing piece. That was the crux of that story from my childhood. In Tamil, the proverb “Podhum endra manamey pon seyyum marundhu” — (It is golden to be mature enough to say enough!) — If you get caught in the 99 club, it is going to be pretty hard from then on! But, hang on! I want to turn the tables on this one. If I give you ninety-nine, the quest that you go on, to make it a complete hundred, is really exhilarating both for me and for you.

The way I see it, it is almost as if I am giving you a book but I am tearing a page from the final chapter before giving it to you! I have done this in my childhood. Whenever I see a torn page, I have tried completing the sentences, letting my imagination run wild, guessing what the story could have been, think creatively.

That is exactly what I hope you would be doing too! So, my job? Is just to light a thousand sparks and sprinkle it all around! Where do they all land? What towering conflagrations they create?! Everything depends on that little spark and the kindle-readiness that you are willing to demonstrate! That is how I see it.

Let me show you an example. Remember? We talked about the Day of the Jackal? The book? One person said, oh, okay, I haven’t heard of this book, I should add it to my reading list!

Another seems to have read the book with great attention to detail, seems to be a big fan too, and he found a mistake in what I had said and went ahead to correct me! He pointed out that the protagonist fails in his objective at the last moment… I would want to agree. Yes. From my perspective, did I tell you whether the bullet reached its destination? Assassinated the intended victim? No, I didn’t tell you that. I just raised your interest in it. Mentioned that it was an amazing book. But, left it dangling there. In the hope that somebody would buy it, read it, that was my intent. That is enough for me.

I remember talking to you about the Crystal Maze. One person told me that he had never watched such a program. I never knew.. This seems interesting though, he said.

Another told me that this was her favourite program! Particularly the host who used to be featured in earlier seasons, a shaved-head guy who resembled the Onida man! It was interesting to read all this feedback. but, the best of them all?

A sixty-year-old grandpa responded to my observation about sharpening the saw. He told me that he was reminded of his teacher who asked him — what would you sharpen to cut wood? Your intellect? Or the saw?! He is sixty years old. And, he is reminded of his school-teacher! He thanked me for taking him down memory lane! I felt really happy! And, that’s why I do this. That’s just why I do this!

So, welcome to the 99 club! I am not going to spoon-feed you anything. I am just going to light a thousand sparks. To light one up, to start to burn, to pass the fire onwards, is all up to you! That is how I see it. Entry fee is Zero! You pay for it, all your life! That is perhaps how you should take it!

I am assuming she would accept this line of thought. I am assuming she has understood where I am coming from. Thank you!



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Rajendran Dandapani

Rajendran Dandapani

Business Solutions Evangelist at Zoho Corp. President at The Zoho Schools Of Learning.