I always meet the most interesting people on train journeys (another reason why I prefer them to quick-yet-painful plane journeys in India.)
I got talking to three young men who were travelling up to Kazipet; they were working for Punjab National Bank and were on their way to a small town in Andhra to conduct training programs for other bank employees there. They would, they said, be continuously posted from town to town, when their final place of posting would be decided.
As I chatted, one of the young men, Ashwini Jha,
talked more about himself, and I learnt some astounding facts.
He was extremely interested in electronics and was excellent at his studies.
At 11, inspired by the biography of the Ashok Chakra winner late Lt.Puneet Dutt of 11, Gorkha Rifles, developed an interest in firearms.
At the age of 12, developed ankylosing spondylosis…and was confined to bed for 4 incredibly pain-ridden years.
At 16, the family had to sell their property to enable him to have an Aortic Valve replacement surgery in Delhi, as the heart had been badly damaged by the disease (which still does not have a cure.)
In his own words, from a document he emailed me.
I am quoting:
"Why anyone die due to lack of a rupee for medicine when the other one spending Rs.10 or more on his onetime smoking?
Now to get rid of these all problem became the purpose of life for the boy. He determined hat e will serve the humanity and will change the scenario. He believed that if even a street dog is doing something for the society by eating roadside litter than why can`t an individual can do something for the betterment of society. He began searching the solution of these all problems and got that in the typical Indian way of living if a single person has the employment it can change the life of at least five other ones, means a single employment can address at least five persons problems (food, cloth, shelter, health and education) and with the good education those dependent five can address the problems of other 25 in the long run in the form of their own family, means few employments and a school can revolutionaries the life of hundreds of people....”
A lot of books that he read motivated him and "to know more about poverty, money, economy and finance" he took a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
He took up a job, but "in November 2012 he went through Hip Joint Replacement in which he faced serious troubles due to Pre – Cardiac problems".
He took up a job again and quit in July 2013.
Once again, he studied for competitive exams and landed his (present)nationalized bank job. His thoughts are very different; instead of the usual elation, here are his words:
"Parents satisfied, the colony envious and villagers` proud....hahahaha...What a pity with India..a 30K p.a. job decides an individual's worth,character and everything
else :( sad...his zeal ,concepts and dreams worth nothing but 30k!"
And now, this courageous, adventurous person says, "Now comparatively with good health ...modern medical science ..hell pricious medicines,yoga..vipassana and physiotherapy is doing good with mind body and soul...Lets` see what next!"
Here is what he dreams in poetic form:
Ideas are not born in streets,
But they arise in your mind.
What they only need is the great dream
And a daring attitude
Now when the world badly needs heroes,
What are you looking for...
Come on dream great, do hard
And if you have the fire in your heart
Snatch the stars from the sky
ULTIMATELY, IF YOU CAN DREAM ANYTHING
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING
Each person I meet on a journey is a story, but some stories are more amazing than others…I hope everyone is inspired by Ashwini Jha’s!