Man In The Arena — Quotidian — 029

(Transcript of video originally posted on 29 Jan 2021)


A secret, may I? I almost gave up! It is the twenty-ninth day today. But… as you can see in this chat conversation with a friend, I almost gave up. Not because i didn’t have fun thing to share, any junk to share… but… lack of time.. other sorts of pressures.. I almost gave up. I was not in mood. I was thinking about this, and that’s when this really beautiful poem titled

“The Man In The Arena” came to mind — by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of The United States of America. In one of this speeches, he recites this. In that poem, a small snippet, it is a long one, please read it in full, but look at that last line, it is especially good. The person who tries and loses… actually wins over the person who never even tries in the first place. If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. The ones who sit in the stands, eating popcorn… what does HE know? We keep mocking that Dhoni was run out in the World Cup semi final, but has this guy in the stands taken a single run? That is the point.

Thanks to Covid, one can see quite a lot of scenes like this.. Nobody in the stadium. There is only one man in the arena, and he is in the stands! But, … on the Internet, there was this meme that went quite famous for a while. Wrung my heart, really.

The size of your audience doesn’t matter. Keep up the good work! This was the accompanying picture. But, it would have been tolerable if it had featured a boy, playing his flute. Practising. But, actually, the picture that came was this.

There was only that one cat. Would have been his pet cat. Probably waiting for the boy to finish playing and feed the daily morsel. There is nobody else to listen. But, if there is nobody else to listen, do you still practise? Do you still play to an audience of one? Or, are you greedy? Why was I out of mood? Because I didn’t get two more comments? That only three hundred people had watched my video? That was the question in my mind.

This is Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The first people to climb Mount Everest. When I was thinking about this, I kept asking the question in my mind. Are they the first people to climb Mount Everest, OR…. were they the first recorded, documented, photographed people to climb Mount Everest. So, the most important climbing equipment? Not the pickaxe! Not the snowshoe! Camera! You need proof that you summitted, yes? Think about that!

Meet Raji! She’s a good friend of mine. And, she’s been doing this for five years now. She has seventy six cover songs, that she has sung, animated pictures, background music, and karaoke. Five years, she has been doing it. That is the link you have to go to, to listen to those songs.

And, she didn’t stop there. Last year, late last year, she started a Kolam series. The Rangoli series. And she has crossed one hundred kolams. She has got more kolams out there than subscribers. She hasn’t got her hundredth subscriber yet. She has got more kolams. More videos. is the link you have to visit. So, I asked her. What motivates you? What happened when nobody comes? I don’t even look at that data, she says. I do it because I like doing it. I do it because there is something inside me that wants to come out. Incidentally, I record it. That’s all, she says.

There used to be this old saw that went, “If a tree falls in a forest, and…if there were nobody around to hear it.. will it make a noise..?” A question like that. A paradoxical puzzle of sorts.

As I dwell deeper on that question…, I am reminded of this flower. The Edelweiss. The National Symbol of Switzerland. A fragrant flower. A beautiful flower. Grows only in the peaks of the Swiss Alps. You can see them growing ONLY THERE. What is the point, in a place where nobody is there, a place nobody frequents, why does such a beautiful flower grow there…, well, if the flower has a mouth, it would perhaps say:- “The place I am in, I take a peek. I see the beauty of the world that surrounds me. I enjoy it. Without my knowledge, almost uncontrollably, my joy and my pleasure pour forth as a beautiful blossom” — who knows! The outpouring of the joy inside the soul!

By the way, I didn’t tell you.. The Raji that I introduced? She is my sister! Thank you!



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Rajendran Dandapani

Rajendran Dandapani


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