From sunglass marketeer to anti-poacher

“I decided then that I wanted to become one”

Have you heard that one before? Maybe as a kid looking up at the sky and seeing the fighter jets fly past, and you decked in all-white as an Airforce Captain captured your imagination and ‘it was then when you decided to become one’. Except you did not. Life happened. And today you are where you are as a result of ‘N + 1’, where N was yesterday and 1 was the incremental step forward. Hello? That was me until a week ago. But this article is not about me. Its about P. Sarathkumar. And if the name does not ring a bell — Google it (ok — let me do the hard work for you- boom)

You with me now? He demonstrated an amazing feat of human kindness towards a new born elephant stuck in the mud. And his video of helping that elephant went viral. And he became a celebrity overnight. But that is not what caught my eye in the article clipping my dad sent me (he knows my penchant for divining life lessons from the mundane — and this is far from the mundane) . It was a seemingly insignificant sentence buried in the article that had nothing to do with the elephant or his heroic act. In fact this is the sentence verbatim ‘He graduated from the Government Arts College, Coimbatore and was working as a marketing executive for a sunglasses manufacturer when one day, he happened to see an anti-poaching watcher chasing an elephant at Sennanur near Coimbatore, “I decided then that I wanted to become one”, he says.

Wow! And he did. Chucked his marketing job, undertook training as an anti-poacher and now serves as a Forest Guard. Just like that. Now this is me hazarding (again have a penchant for doing so and have wounds to show as evidence) — the reason he was able to do what he did at work that day without any care for his own safety is because he LOVED his job. Not tolerated, not liked (because your meetings that day were tolerable) — absolutely loved his job. And he chose that, chucking a perfectly kosher marketing job (wonder what his parents had to say to that …) to take on something he loved deeply — keeping animals safe!

How many of us can follow his footsteps — No, not stepping into a narrow muddy ditch and picking up a baby elephant on one’s shoulders — that’s not what I am asking. Rather his plunge to seek his dream job — an anti-poacher, ‘‘It was then I decided I wanted to become one’ — and he did. When will you chuck your mundane existence and take the plunge towards your dream job? And rescue an elephant to top it? Hats of Mr. P. Sarathkumar. For showing us what life is all about. Taking chances and helping others. #Respect.