An year ago, he was presented with an opportunity to prove his mettle, the umpteenth time. Mohan has a successful track record as a professional with an advertising agency. He has been a top performer for most of his professional years here.
But opportunities always presented themselves in a way that increased the probability of his failure. Circumstances conspired to prove him in-capable, as if the opportunities were granted to him not because he deserved them; but because there was no other alternative!
Mohan has seen these challenges since childhood. Born into a middle class family of businessmen in a small, non-de-script town in India, Mohan is partially deaf with a bit of a speech disability as well. This increased his degree of difficulty at every level.
Many of his teachers gave him little chance of excelling in any field. This despite the fact that he always stood amongst the top five students in his class!
Doctors, some of whom worked with the WHO, watched him closely and termed him a miracle. They couldn’t fathom how a boy with such handicaps could be so sharp, intelligent and pose such competition to their own, perfectly normal children!
Mohan, oblivious to the challenges that beckoned him when he would grow up to face the harsh realities of work-life, studied religiously. He would try to make up for his handicap with more study hours. He learnt to sense what he could not hear. His eyes and gestures communicated what he couldn’t speak. He developed his cognitive abilities to a level where not being able to hear became irrelevant to him to an extent.
His solitude germinated seeds of creativity in him. He could draw well, play with colours and write immaculately!
Mohan has always believed in God who, he says, had stood by him without fail. He has felt this invisible force many times in his life. God not only bailed him out of trouble on a number of occasions but also delivered appropriate lessons to people who tried to harm him.
A school teacher, who developed bias against Mohan owing to his hearing/speech defect and because he didn’t take his private tuitions which other students did, had to leave the school under unhappy circumstances. Or a boss, who couldn’t fathom a learned, dedicated but physically imperfect subordinate, had to move to another company under unpleasant circumstances while Mohan’s career prospered! Or a trade partner who almost made a mincemeat out of Mohan, only to be driven to bankruptcy while Mohan continued his journey successfully!
Mohan carried on with his life undithered. He completed his education. Despite the best of brains, he couldn’t make it to the best educational institutions as his handicaps significantly lowered his speed and ability when it mattered. But he chose the second best options and marched on.
He started his professional career at the bottom of the ladder in an advertising agency, and worked his way up with diligence, loyalty. honesty and creativity.
He met his sweetheart along the way. Her advent in Mohan’s life proved extremely auspicious. She could do what Mohan couldn’t due to his physical handicap, so she filled a void in his personal life. Mohan’s professional career took a sudden and accelerated upward turn after marriage!
Last year, Mohan was presented with a significant opportunity. He now occupied a very critical position in the advertising agency he worked for. He was expected to deliver significant profits for the organisation. His failure could prove disastrous.
Many doubted him, yet again. His track record forgotten, there were whispers about his ability to negotiate such a critical maneuvre. His peers tried to write him off. Jealous colleagues shrugged. Colleagues, who were internal competitors as well, made merry in the uncertainty. Superiors, with a finger on the pulse of employees, got worried and developed self-doubt.
This was déjà vu for Mohan. He had been there before. Knowing his God stood by him, he assured every one that things would be ok. Hardly anyone believed. His days appeared numbered at that position in the organisation as failure loomed on the horizon.
Destiny had other ideas though. Mohan showed tremendous character and resolve. He knew that hardly anyone was giving him a chance. He was an underdog. To that extent, he had nothing to lose. But he had his pride at stake. He also had to reply to all the doom-sayers. He had to prove, once again, that he was being under-estimated.
Mohan did it in style! After a couple of difficult months of settling down, figures started speaking in his favour. The organisation stood up, rubbed eyes in disbelief and took notice. For the colleagues, jealousy gave way to silent admiration. Peers stopped whispering and started siding with the rising star. Superiors started feeling sorry for having got carried away with the general mood an year ago.
Mohan now stands on the verge of victory. A couple of months from now, he will know, not whether he was successful; as that’s a foregone conclusion; but if he was THE BEST amongst his internal competitors!
Mohan has his fingers crossed….
Note : This story is inspired by real life experiences of a friend who wishes to remain anonymous.