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Gauri, a young girl, seething with unbridled frustration, stormed out of her home, heading off to the nearest community park. 'I've had enough!' She thought fiercely, 'all these months of toiling day and night! What do I get? A tidbit of half-hearted praise, trunk loads of cheeky criticisms, and not a single profitable deal!'

Gauri, a civil engineer, had recently quitted her secured, six-figure-salaried job to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a graphical illustrator and doodler. She had a natural flair for sketching and doodling, and had even won several awards at college and state level competitions. She had become an engineer just because everyone in the family was an engineer and, as was usual in every home, everyone shouted the same old clichéd tagline: 'First secure a well-paid job, then spare time for your interests!'

But that was easier said than done. The ‘9 to 5' job was like a golden prison; comfortable yet devoid of creativity. Gauri was hard pressed to spare time for her hobbies. After coming home, tired and drained, she would plonk herself down on the sofa to watch TV; she simply couldn't find any will to take her pen and sketch. Hence, her decision to quit the job and take a plunge into her dreams. And yet, after all the initial excitement, after much doodling and sketching, and registering herself as a freelancer, she wasn't able to garner enough lucrative deals. She often thought of going back to the engineering job.

She sat in the garden, brooding, and didn't notice an old man sitting next to her.

'Okay!' she muttered to herself harshly, 'one month more. If I didn't secure any worthy deal, will shut off my doodling dreams and go back to my cozy job!' She didn't feel right saying so but had to take the hard way.

'You look worried, young lady!' The old man suddenly spoke good-naturedly.

Gauri was taken aback and embarrassed to have voiced her words aloud.

'No.......No.......nothing, uncle,' she said politely, forcing a shy smile, her face bright red.

'Ah.......' the old man nodded understandingly, his eyes twinkling, and looked away. There was an awkward silence. Gauri thought it better to go back home. She was about to stand up when -

'I remember those days when I, too, thought just like you did now,' the old man said without any preamble, smiling at her.

'I don't underst-' Gauri began.

'Oh.......I am a doodler too!' the old man explained, chuckling at Gauri who looked puzzled.

'You doodle? Sketch and all?' Gauri asked, intrigued.

The old man nodded.

'Since when, uncle ji?'

'Since long.......' he said rather mysteriously. 'It's hard.......I can understand.......they say you never have to work a day in your life when you do what you love to do. But you know what? I disagree! To pursue your dreams is the hardest of all work! Especially when you are not making any profits out of it!' He finished good humouredly.

Gauri chuckled. 'Yes, uncle ji! Quite agree with you!' She was finding this kind, old stranger quite interesting.

'But that doesn't mean you should give up.......' the old man emphasized, 'Yeah, I agree there are few who really click really fast and become famous in their fields. But there are others, who have to toil hard quite long before they catch up!'

Gauri nodded.

'Look at that tree,' the old man pointed at a mango tree, 'those ripe fruits, the leaves, the branches. Tell me how have they sprung about? Did someone attach those fruits to the branches?'

'Obviously not,' Gauri said, a little hesitant, 'They have come about on their own.......'

'Not exactly!' The old man said, 'The entire tree has sprung only from one single seed. You just have to nurture the seed, take care of the roots, and the rest happens on its own!'

'Yes, you're right!' Gauri agreed. This was a curious observation.

'And that holds well for all other things,' he went on, 'If you will keep on thinking about the fruits, and neglect the roots, how could you expect the tree to bloom?'

His words touched Gauri and for a moment she was overwhelmed.

'You are right, Uncle ji!' Gauri admitted, 'I've been thinking overly about the fruits! The results and the rewards. Should be more focused on my roots, and further hone my skills to become better!'

'Right!' the old man said. 'And speaking about doodles!' he took out a card from his wallet and gave it to Gauri.

Gauri was surprised to see that this old man was actually the founder of a famous illustrator company.

'You can come for interview tomorrow. We are hiring creative have to keep on trying, isn't it?' And then, with a smile and nod, he walked away.

Gauri went home too, happier than ever before. She felt lucky and blessed to stumble upon the founder of this reputed company. Not just because she was called for an interview. But because she had learnt a very important lesson: 'Care for the Roots to Relish the Fruits!'


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CA Saurav Somani
(CA - practice)
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