Saturday, October 13, 2007 

Fingers pointing up!

Flamboyance has been one quality that I have always wanted to have (among many others of course). But there was a time when I was flashy and quite the leader of the pack. Here I am talking about the time when I was in class 4 or 5 and there were only 17 students in my class and ofcourse my mother was a teacher at the small school. But I clearly remember, whenever we used to get a chance to go to the field, as soon as we entered the nearby park I used to run away from everyone and all my class mates would try to catch me. I used to love those moments of kingship and I am not kidding here. The rest of the 16 would chase me around and finally hunt me down so that we could play some normal game, which again I used to decide.

That ‘kingship’ deserted me as soon as I came out of that small school and it never came back after class 5. The last time I came first in class was in class 5, never ever again. I never even got the highest marks in a specific subject. The reason I got in to thinking about those times was not nostalgia. I am trying to write essays to support my application for an MBA program. The essential highlight of an essay is how it depicts that you are a potential leader for the future and this is the perfect time for you to develop classroom knowledge on how to be a successful leader or manager. I tried time and again to look back in life and think of instances where I showed leadership qualities and everyone actually respected my decision making. The sheer dearth of such examples made me feel that one of the important things I have missing is flamboyance.

Since I am not a prodigy nor naturally talented in any aspect of life, I have had to fight and work hard slowly towards excelling in any field, even the cricket field. My method of learning and developing is generally orthodox, laborious and as a result time consuming. I will generally take more time than an average peer to achieve the same feet. The reason is that my methods are simpler and low risk, which ensures some success but that can take a lot of time. My only major leadership role was being the captain of IIT Delhi cricket team. But even there I had a tough time, where sometimes I thought I lacked the support of my team, and the team did not agree with my decisions. However, I put my foot down and did what I thought was right, even though there was very little support I had.

My lack of flamboyance is reflected directly in the way I play cricket. I am a fast bowler with a maximum speed of probably 125k. I never had a bouncer; I never said things to the batsmen apart from a little eye contact. I can count the number of sixes I hit without even using my fingers as I hit only one. I never dived around in the field, no acrobatic athleticism for me. Yet I played a lot of cricket, because I did what I did best – swing the ball late, invite the drive and go through the gate or pitch it up at the death.

Even when I interact with people I am not noticeable so easily, apart from my tall structure there is very few things people notice. I am always in the background, but slowly with time I surface and people start recognizing me. I don’t yell at people, though yelling is actually an easy way of attracting attention. I am calm and quiet and as a leader I let people do what they think they can do well. I don’t push people instantly, I try to drive them to a point where they have no other choice but to push themselves, no matter how much time it takes.

All things said and done, the signs are that I might not be ready yet to become a manager. Maybe I need more time, may be I don’t. I see others around me becoming managers, big time successful professionals, but I know that my success will make me wait. Often this wait has made me indifferent to success and I have stopped enjoying the success with any sense of exultation or celebration.

Recently I was playing a corporate tournament cricket match where I held a catch on the long on boundary. The ball came at an awkward height near my chest and to adjust, I took the catch fingers pointing up rather than taking a few steps backwards and holding it in the orthodox and safer fashion. I immediately realized that this is not something I am comfortable with. It is probably not my forte to come forward, I will always stay back and take the safer route.


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