A dreary urban image is of a Monday morning. A top shot preferably; thousands and thousands of people heading to work, connected by formal attire, ironed clothes and a stiff expression on their face. Among them, those often missed in this portrayal, are slightly happier people who are the product of a new environment, doing things they love. These driven individuals take risks, go beyond the fixed hours and belong to the yellow collar professions, as described by Mala Mary Martina in her book, I Love Mondays.
Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble at Wankhede stadium last year. Pic/ Suresh KK
For this book, the Bangalore-based writer has interviewed sportsmen, musicians, agriculturists, VFX experts, cinematographers, plastic surgeons and others who have met their dreams so that Mondays for them do not come with the dread of heading to work.
The book doesn’t follow a conservative structure. Known as a serial entrepreneur, Martina writes in the introduction that she doesn’t believe that choices you made in life should be structured.
"This is exactly why there is no specific manner in which you must read this book. Start anywhere you like, read about any innovator you wish to. They all speak the common language of success. This book is not a reference guide; it is a thoughtful reflection I have had with experts from different fields," she writes. And reminds the writer to make notes in the margins, before signing off.
Kumble, the new Indian cricket coach
The interview was done much before Anil Kumble was appointed as the head coach of the Indian cricket team. He was interviewed as a retired cricketer and sports mentor. It thus becomes even more interesting to know what the master leg-spinner and only modern-day bowler to get an entire team out in an innings, has to stay about his drive and dedication.
For Kumble, making the choice of continuing to play after school was not difficult as he had made it easy for himself. He never let his grades fall and as long as he did well in studies no one questioned his hours devoted to cricket.
He studied engineering, one of the two options available to middle-class boys in the 1990s. But unlike other students, he didn’t have the the luxury of bunking classes or hanging out. He managed his time well and if he decided to study at 6 pm, he would start right then and never even five minutes late. With this discipline, he managed to balance the dual challenges of cricket and academics.
On being able to maintain this fine balance, Kumble shared with the author that he has the knack for doing a mental switch. When focusing on studies, he switched off from cricket and vice versa.
The biggest lesson from the life of the cricketer is his mental strength. "A simple example of telling oneself to wake up at 6 am the next day: waking up at 6 am is winning the battle and waking up at 6.05 is losing the battle. This mental discipline is quintessential. There is no curriculum for mental toughness," she writes.
Anil’s 3 Mantras
1. If your child is not playing for the school team yet, before you press the reject button on sports, give him/her a little extra time.
2. It is easy to make money, but the key to success is to invest money for long-term returns .
3. It helps to push the child to play with a wider age group. Encourage a 13-year old to play with a 19-year old. This teaches him people skills.
I Love Mondays, Mala Mary Martina, HarperCollins, Rs 299. Available at leading bookstores
Ricky Kej, Grammy-winning musician
The Mumbai-based musician, Martina mentions, almost convinced her to take up a career in music. The winner of the highest international respect for a musician’s work, the Grammy, was first trained to be a dentist, as his parents, both doctors, wanted him to study medicine.
He studied just enough to see himself through, devoting the rest of his time to the pursuit of music, starting with Western Classical and moving on to Hindustani Classical. He soon realised that making music for Bollywood was not his calling and started earning his living, making jingles. He took every opportunity to make and perform independent music, slowl establishing himself as a name in Europe and India. To budding musicians, he says
>Invest in learning.
>Put up your work online, and connect with people both online and offline.
CLAIM TO FAME: He won a Grammy for Best New Age Album for his work, Winds of Samsara created in collaboration with South African flautist Wouter Kellerman.
Manoj Rajan, agri market revolutionary
Though this seems the most ancient profession and has been rejected by millions to take up jobs that suited modernity, agriculture remains the largest employer in India and the country remains dependent in several ways, from food to fashion. It is this gap that Rajan, CEO of Rashtriya e-Market Services is working to bridge.
Over the years, he has learnt the farmers’ methods by working with them and also learnt new and modern technology that will enable to increase farm produce. Rajan says that now there is a "resurgence of agriculture" with many more students joining agriculture related courses.
CLAIM TO FAME: Managing Director and CEO of Rashtriya e-Market Services, an initiative devoted to , to bringing efficiency and transparency in the agricultural marketing system.
Vivek Ram, VFX specialist
Ram has sculpted his future on his own terms. He might have worked in some of the biggest Hollywood films but he started to explore animation and computer graphics, by the time he was in his fourth year.
Eventually, he quit engineering and still does not have a degree in animation. Animation, Ram points out, is not just about art and computers but much beyond that. "It is important to understand physiology, bone structure, skin texturing, body language, psychology etc to be able to make that inanimate idea a reality," he says.
CLAIM TO FAME: Created visual effects for films like The Incredible Hulk, Night At The Museum, Happy Feet and Land Of The Lost.