Stories to Ignite Ambitious Fire - The New Indian Express

Stories to Ignite Ambitious Fire

Published: 21st January 2014 10:11 AM

Last Updated: 21st January 2014 10:11 AM

When in need of motivation, books by famous motivational gurus happen to be our source of inspiration. Often the gurus are famous spiritual heads, most talked by people. However, inspirational people are plenty around with their own unique stories of struggle and achievement, and are sometimes more effective than a few spiritual teachings. And these people are most often never heard of.

That is where Deenanath Harapanahalli and Mamata Vengunta decided to step in and change things. Their book, ‘Awakening: There is a Leader Inside Every One of Us’, compiles such amazing stories of persevering individuals who stuck it to the end. And what makes this book an even better read is the fact that these stories come from people from various backgrounds who are located all across India.

Citing an example from the book, Deenanath explains, “There is a person, Mallesham Chintakindi, who is a fifth class dropout from a weavers family. He lives 100 kilometers away from the city. Women of his community have to set up the thread to loop 9,000 times to weave a sari; this process lasts for about five hours and the tradition is called Asu. If measured, their hand movements could measure upto nine kilometers and they weave two sarees a day. Mallesham decided to invent a machine which would reduce the physical labour and pain involved in weaving. So, he learnt the required levels of English and electro-mechanical engineering to design the machine, besides acquiring computational skills. And finally, he designed the ‘Asu machine’ which brought down the time to just two hours with zero manual labour.” This is just one of the 65 stories that make up ‘Awakening’.

Deenanatha and Mamata are a part of The Atlanta Foundation (TAF) - Andhra Pradesh Chapter through which they have helped under privileged people in getting an education. TAF also conducts the Leadership Gym wherein talks by people with extraordinary accomplishments are held

“In 2011, we invited Bana Singh, an Indian Army soldier to address people. He, along with his troops, scaled 1500 meters of the vertical glacier wall of Siachen in 1987, fought and killed about a dozen Pakistani soldiers and seized the important strategic point. Though he was an ordinary soldier, his effort was extraordinary. This made us think about why shouldn’t we write about people who are not so prominent but have such stellar life stories from whom we can learn leadership lessons,” shares Deenanath behind the idea of the book.

Though the collection of stories include those of famous personalities like Anna Hazare and Mary Kom, it predominantly focuses on lesser heard of achievements. So how did the authors find out about these quiet heroes and write their stories. “We relied on the internet, books and people. In some cases, we conducted one-on-one interviews and with some others, the conversations were on phone. The book also includes stories of people who have passed away; in their cases, we spoke to acquaintances,” informs the 44-year old.

TAF also had a team of researchers who helped out. So before deciding on a person, discussions would ensue to “ensure the authenticity of the stories”, adds Deenanath.

And while he was always part of the project, 42-year old Mamata says that she became co-author quite by accident. “I started by contributing sketches of the people whom Deenanath was writing about and the stories fascinated me. When Deenanath asked me to co-author the book, I happily accepted it,” she shares, adding that the way people pursued their significant contributions fascinated and inspired her as well.

As for Deenanth, besides the will power, it was the rational approach towards life that fascinated him the most. “They do not let any obstacle stop them. Without getting emotional about their problems, these people have very logically tried to find ways to achieve their goals. And these were not necessarily the easier solutions,” he says.

“Usually people look at leaders as larger than life images. This book humanises the leaders and makes people think that leaders are not from distant land but are people closer to home or where around us. It will make them wonder why they can also become leaders,” says Mamata about the book. In fact, the last chapter of the book consists of a set of questions that will help people think along these very lines, shares Mamata.

While the book has encompassed 65 stories, there are many more and more keep coming under their radar. And so a second edition is likely to come out as well. “People in our close circles who read the book referred us to some more personalities who fit the bill. TAF will shortly announce the progress into the second stage of the book,” says Mamata, who along with Deenanath will launch the book soon. Awakening will also be available online.

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