I was chopping vegetables for dinner, when my dear hubby said “why so finely chopped veg? They will anyway get cooked.” Long back, in my hostel days, my roomie used to be on fast on every Monday. And hence to develop hunger immunity, she used to have Maggi on every Sunday around 11:40 PM. I used to cut onion and tomato for her. Then on heater we would prepare our delicious Maggi and ENJOY. Aaha! Hostel days. Sorry for being nostalgic, I could not control it. So coming back, she always mentioned that you chop vegetables very finely. I used to take it as compliment and never thought ‘why I chop vegetables finely, every time, without being conscious about it?’
I have an answer for this, rather an incident for this behavior. Years ago when I was 12, we had a party at our relative’s place. My aunt asked me to chop coriander leaves. I happily accepted to do so, provided I had never chopped anything prior to this occasion. You know the feeling – how excited and important a kid feels, when host of the party just asks him/her to locate someone or put a garland from one place to another. A sense of significance runs through the nerves and kid just runs to do the job happily. Same thing happened to me. I took the chopper board, knife, coriander leaves and TAADAA…started chopping it. Soon then, I heard someone screaming ‘What is this? Itana mota!! [Translation: big pieces!!]’ See, I was so happy to be chosen that I didn’t notice, I was surrounded by many experienced ladies. On hearing the scream, I looked up and saw the ladies Oh God! They were all terrified by my work, which had just started.
Seeing their faces and their reactions, my sense of pride and happiness or it would be appropriate to say that my self-worth was devastated. I was angry at myself because it’s so hard to admit our own failure. It’s so uncomfortable. I felt like a fool ‘why I accepted this job, when I had never done this before?’ My emotional stamina was running down and I was maybe about to burst into tears or run away, but a voice stopped me from doing any of the two. It suddenly restored everything I had lost in past 1 or 2 minutes. The voice said “She is removing the stems of the coriander leaves”. I looked up in gratitude and saw a face smiling at me. I continued the job with great consciousness and precaution, and finally chopped coriander leaves finely: terrified ladies were sorry to misjudge me and appreciated the work.
Today, I have forgotten all the faces including the face that smiled generously at me and saved my day. I had not known that face before and I never met that lady, my first stranger leader, again in my life. What that lady did always remain with me. I call her my first champion, my first leader. She gave me a helping hand when I needed it the most. She helped me but didn’t take the credit of guiding me or saving me. It was an effort to lift me, put me back on my feet, and taught me that she can let me fail and yet not let me be a failure. It was such a natural act of enabling a person to rise from average to the best. She didn’t use me as her instrument to showcase her expertise in chopping the leaves or imparting the knowledge how to do it. In an effortless manner, she helped me and I am grateful to her till this day.
I have met so many ordinary people who have been my leaders and my inspiration. I am thankful to all of them. They saved me and taught me something, I needed to learn. I am not sure if any of my leaders remembers the incidences that I do. I never tried to let them know and they were strangers, so we never met again. However, they all are different and disconnected people but they all taught me one thing ‘Everyone can be a leader to someone at one point or another. Leadership is not about being big, having big goals, big parties, big offices and big agendas, but it is about touching someone in a way that ensures progress and life-long bond.’
I could not tell those champions, that no matter how you are doing in your life you are my leaders. But I would like to say to everyone reading this blog that all of us were, are and will be leaders to someone. It doesn’t matter if someone like me never came to tell you but you are leaders. There will be many out there celebrating you without letting you know. So, watch carefully and be compassionate to all. All of us have the power to touch and change someone’s life/ world. Don’t make excuses that someone never sung you on your face.
Marianne Williamson said, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, and not our darkness, that frightens us.”
See you again. 🙂