Attitude counts

A recent e-mail forward was about “the beauty of Maths”. After demonstrating several simple mathematical calculations that result in exquisite symmetry, the mail assigned a percentage number to each alphabet, A=1, Z=26 etc and calculated that while H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K= 98 per cent, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E= 100 per cent! Though amused by our ability to see pattern where none exists, I had to concede that attitude scores top in determining success.

Take Siddaiah for instance. Hailing from a poor agricultural family that sold all its holdings over the years, he has not had an easy life. The grocery store that he ran had to be closed down as he started suffering from debilitating back aches and was advised not to lift heavy objects or ride two-wheelers. He turned to real estate business as he was familiar with the area and this line of business needed little investment.

Siddaiah does not close many deals. He is not aggressive and doesn’t have the resources that big players in the field have. “But I make enough to meet the requirements of my small family. I run a photocopying shop and own a house. What more do I need?” he asked. It is a pleasure to talk to this man as he has no complaints and has a sardonic sense of humour.

The other player in the same real estate field, Muniyappa, on the other hand, is a bitter man. “If only my father had not sold our lands for a pittance 40 years ago, we would be crorepatis now, I wouldn’t be working for this big shot real estate dealer, he would be working for me” he laments.

Yes, the huge financial loss due to the unimaginable real estate boom and the pain caused by the shift from agrarian lifestyles to one of depending on others for livelihood are terrible. But does the bitterness and constant regret help?

“Why don’t you get your wife to work? She said she wants to.”I gently suggest.“Oh, no! I will lose my respect” comes the reply. No wonder this kind of  attitude is pulling Muniyappa even lower.

Both the men are of similar age and have watched helplessly as their villages became part of Bangalore. Both are struggling to meet ends now. But while one is content with his lot and is hopeful of a better future, the other blames everything and everyone around him for his plight and thinks the world is out to get him. He so rarely smiles, one feels sorry for him.

It is an irony that while Siddaiah’s wife is bitter about her husband’s goodness, Muniyappa’s wife is forever smiling and is willing to work hard to carve out a better future. No wonder they say attitude counts.

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