2 hours = Five decades of inspiration

“I just received this Limca Book of World Record certificate last week”, were the beaming words of Mrs.Malathi Rao, fondly called Ajji, when she met me at her house. You have to only meet her in person to be able to experience the vigour, energy, creativity, innovation, perseverance, skill, dedication, self-confidence, and pursuit, that this lady has, at 80 years of age.  And, she goes on showing me one by one, her accomplishments and rewards over the past five decades ! It was truly splendid and amazing for me to witness all these achievements. I consider myself very fortunate to have got this opportunity of spending two hours in her company.

Most of us would throw away the remains of a strip of (medicine) tablet that we would consume upon any illness – Mrs.Rao made a bird out of it. She has been creative and innovative in making various forms of birds, animals, humans, flowers and structures using various items like bindi’s, match boxes, empty soap wrappers, covers, ice-cream sticks, unused socks, etc. Her love for both art and music was very evident in each of her creations. Having made various creatives, she went an extra mile to connect with the right people to get them photographed and then converted them into a table-top calendar for distribution and sale. Very humble by nature, Mrs.Rao narrated to me, in these two hours, every minute detail of her life, since she lost her husband at her age of 30 years. It was indeed not a simple thing to grow all alone and raise two small children along the span of 50 years. She provided excellent education to them to enable them to shine in their individual lives today. Her love for them reflected in the booklet full of her work and accomplishments, that she created as a memento from her side to them on her own birthday and managed to send a copy each to both her children staying in London.

A powerhouse of energy and sacrifice, she intends to teach children about all that she knows and has learnt, and wants to instill in them the following values :

  • Count your blessings every day
  • Whatever you have to do, do your best
  • Learn to be self-reliant
  • Time is precious – do not waste it
  • Be ready to help a needy person

At a physical stage where she has her hip surgery done a few years back, and has ability to see only with one eye, her enthusiasm made me feel shy of myself. When a person like her, who does not have any of the comforts, luxury and convenience which people like us have, can do all that I saw with my own eyes; we should definitely be doing things beyond it.

Service over self ! Truly inspiring ……


An Innovator’s Dream

1.2 million euros….hearing at the price of his Yacht, I was stunned ..more so, because this was the first time in my life, I was sitting in a yacht relaxing on a sofa with a cup of lemon tea in my hand. This was all because of Arik, who had paid this amount to buy this yacht a few years back – it is favourite hobby. The first one that he bought was about 43 years back at the age of 22, which was a small boat that was just big enough to house two people. It was a very inspiring story, when I listened to each of his elements of life unfolding before me – a story of a life that he lead for 40 years with vigour, hard work, commitment and passion ! Working for himself was always his mission and he accomplished it at an early age. Having grown his company from scratch to about 400 people, he sold it a few years back and then got onto a journey of another one. Now, he has invented a new ‘single-use’ surgery technique/ instrument for use in cataract surgery, applied a few patents for it, and located somebody in USA to buy his technology and put it to manufacturing. Needless to say, he owns 15 % stake in this company. His dream is to sell a few million of these products once they are productionised two years from now. He dreams BIG. As he is on the verge of getting free from this venture, he has already started thinking about his next venture – a product that will reduce the time of a specific surgery from 30 minutes to 5 minutes.

When asked as to what is his Dream, Arik said that he has no dream – in fact, he lives his dream ! He does what he likes, what he wants – just for instance, if he plans the next moment to sail on his yacht to a distant location, he is all set – he has enough food, fuel, and all the other necessities to set his journey. Incredible !

The only moment when he was touched was the incidence, he recalled, outside Taj Mahal at Agra a few years back. It was a craftsman who was making small marble items. He was persuading Arik to buy a piece of art, although Arik was not keen. He followed Arik for a distance and was continuously pleading him to buy, after which Arik asked him the price and gave him two times the money indicating that he does not want to carry this item, and the artisan could keep the money. But, to Arik’s surprise, the person denied to take the money without selling the product. Arik was touched by his sense of dignity. He said that this incidence was about four years old, but even today when he narrates it, he feels a flow of emotion in his heart. ‘India is great’, were his next lines, that made me proud.

I was wholly impressed with this personality and could not resist hugging him for the time he spent with me and the inspiration that he rendered into me. At 65, he is a gem of a person – after all an Israeli innovator…..!