Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Tagore and Gandhi

Mind over material HARSH NEOTIA
The Economic Times> The Sunday ET> As You Like It> SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2007 01:31:51 AM
Despite the travails of leading a life that puts tremendous pressure on my time, and in which the boundaries of the ‘personal’ keep getting infringed by the professional with every passing day, there are still some passions which I hold dear and pursue with great zeal. To state what excites me. What is it that I love doing just for its sake rather than to achieve some end?...the foremost thing that comes to my mind is reading. Though quite ironically, an excitement for the written word didn’t develop during my early childhood days. Till my late teens, encounters with books were mostly governed by academic necessities. It was only during my formative years in college that I began to widen this horizon. Without even realising, I got sucked into the magical and profound world of words, when these books opened in front of me.
I am fortunate to have been exposed to the writings and treatises of leading luminaries of Indian philosophical tradition and thought such as Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Tagore and Gandhi. These have been a source of inspiration and guidance and have helped me in maintaining a sense of belonging and right perspective amidst the hustle and bustle of corporate life.
Architecture is the other subject that I gradually developed an interest in during the last 15 to 20 years. My exposure to the discipline was initially more out of a professional requirement but over time that has changed into a general understanding and appreciation of architectural accomplishments. That is why architectural books are of special interest. Business biographies and also biographies of other people, particularly politicians, both national and international, have interested me a lot. While reading these biographies, one gets an insight into what goes on in the minds of these great achievers and how that eventually translates to success in real life. Once or twice a year I love to take a short break of four days just to read.
Fortunately, my wife, Madhu, is an equally avid follower of my passion. Funny though it may sound, but we often go on vacations to myriad holiday destinations for short breaks just to pamper ourselves with long uninterrupted reading sessions. Self reflection or contemplation are luxuries that I hardly get to indulge in when I am in Kolkata, Its possible to catch up a little on this front when I am travelling for business but that’s usually too erratic to satisfy my craving for it. That’s where some time off the usual routine to ensconce myself completely in the world of thoughts, values and tales acts as the perfect refuge.
I know I have just scrapped the surface of this enormous world and there is a lot more that I intend to explore in this journey. Any passion can be sustained on the long run only if it excites you every single time that you indulge in it, in the same way as it did when you first got a taste of its intoxicating pleasures. For me it is just the beginning and the passion would always emanate from being the wide eyed overawed kid every single time I flip the pages of a marvellous book. The author is the Chairman of Bengal Ambuja

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