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Wake up XI - a deaf pianist; what's your passion?

First edition of the new year; many of you might have taken resolutions while some might have taken the resolution to not make any resolutions for the year! Rise and shine – happy new year. How dedicated are you to what you do? How passionate are you about your dreams? It is so easy to talk about our cricketers not having the fire in their belly; so easy to criticize their lack of killer's instinct; but what about you? Do you have the fire in you?

He is considered a virtuoso pianist. His hearing deteriorated in the early twenties and he was soon deaf; but even then he composed some of the finest masterpieces. He didn't quit despite the odds; he went through his tribulations, just like everyone else does – went up to the extent of contemplating suicide but decided to dedicate himself to music. Can you imagine a pianist composing music without the sense of sound? He was so much devoted to his art that he would bite a rod attached to the piano to feel the vibrations in his jaw to help perceive sound. He is Ludwig van Beethoven famous for his symphonies.

"Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion", Hebbel (German poet).

Wake up XII - Why are you here?

Everything is done for a reason; everything happens for a reason and each one of us is here for a reason. Have you found out why you are here? We talk of vision and mission for companies – a company without a vision is like a ship without a sail; drifting along wherever the wind (external influences) want to take it to. The same holds for us as well – what is your destiny? What is your purpose in life? Have you found it yet?

Martin Luther King had a vision, Gandhiji had a vision and so did Mother Teresa. They all wanted to make a change in this world for the better. What difference can we make in this world in the short time we live? We shrug of this question by answering, "One person can't change anything". But there are many people who have shown the power of one.

We know there are problems, but we wait looking around to see who will initiate that first step – who will dare start out on his/her own. We are happy to copy in life just like we are happy using copy paste in coding. In this fast moving world we rarely pause to think over our purpose in life; Think over what you would like to change the most and think whether that change will make the world a better place. Know your destiny; having a higher cause in sight will help you stay charged up even on tough days.

Why are you here?

Wake up XIII - do your best and leave the rest

Cricket is something I didn't expect to write about here but the joy of seeing a sportsman recognised after years of effort forces me to write about him. He has been one of the lesser popular stars in the team; many who came after him have gained in popularity and even perhaps financially (with their endorsements). Like a dedicated soldier he marched on irrespective of what others were getting; he worked hard, did his best on the field and worked tirelessly for the team. Rarely would one have heard him crib or complain about anyone. 15 years he has toiled in the International arena and finally he gets his share of the limelight. Who are we talking about?

Think of the image of someone who bowled 14 overs on the trot with a fractured jaw and face wrapped in a bandage with Brian Lara at the crease. He bowled around 25-30 overs every innings and though he crossed many a milestone in his career he was rarely a celebrated cricket star. Anil Kumble was always overshadowed by others and lately by even youngsters. Many a times Kumble could have given it all up; when others were in the limelight and he wasn't, when others were selected in preference to him, when others were given responsibility and not him, when others got the credit and not him. But his persistence has payed off. He never gave up and last week he got a fair share of limelight that was probably long due; for his bowling and also for his calmness amidst the prevailing tension.

It is just another reminder that we should keep striving to give our best. We get bogged down by a lot of things – we expect to get rewards instantly; if we put extra effort today then we expect something good to happen tommorrow. We spend the whole day and night thinking of the rewards and when the reward doesn't come immediately we sulk and crib about everything around us. In the course of sulking we slip in performance and that would eventually lead to the reward never coming our way!

Keep digging till you strike gold; you might be very close to it – Do your best in whatever you do and leave the rest.

Wake up XIV - Face your fears

In his debut race in F3000 he won; he ended the year second in the championship. He entered the big league of F1 twice but was dropped. So he planned to reenter cart racing (where he had won the championship earlier) in 2001.

And then his life took a spin. He was leading the race; There were still 13 laps to go and he was thinking: 'I've won! Bloody hell, I've won the race!' "I could remember very little about what happened next." That's because he spun while leaving the pit stop causing the second placed driver to slam head-on into the side of his car - travelling at over 330kmph. He lost a huge amount of blood and also both his legs. He was lucky to be left with his life.

Check out one of the most horrific crashes in racing:

"At least, I knew I was alive. If I had seen somebody a few days before the accident with no legs, I would have said: 'I would rather die than live like that.' Once I knew I had lost my legs I realised this was the least of my problems."

Lot of things change when life spins like that - many people give up while others become even more determined to fight hard. Alex Zanardi surprised many by returning to racing - he designed his own legs and used a modified car which had a hand operated brake and accelarator system. Do you think you would have dared to go back to the same racing circuit and try racing again if something that terrible had happened? Alex Zanardi did - he went back to complete the 13 laps at a decent racing speed.

"I've come a long way since the accident. When I competed in the World Touring Car championship for BMW in 2004, people said it was a marketing stunt. They weren't saying that after I won my first race in 2005. My opponents would initially stay away from my front and rear bumper, they were reluctant to bump into me. Then I started winning. I don't see the same attitude these days! Last year, I test-drove a specially modified F1 car for BMW Sauber. The car was very small and I couldn't get in it. So I said: 'Well, I could make my feet smaller.' I'm the only driver on earth who can do that. I changed my feet, which were size 44 before the accident, for a size 36. That, to me, was a great example of how human invention can help us overcome disability. Take a guy who is stuck at home in the same position as me and only changes the channel on his TV with his remote. I'm sure there will be people who watched me drive that F1 car and said: 'Wow, if that guy can achieve that with no legs, I can at least go down to the grocery store rather than live my life passively.'"