“Listening to music? Sitar? Ravishankar?” Lulu, my parrot, shot a series of questions.
“Yes, yes. I was listening to Ravishankar. I have been listening to his music ever since I was in school. What a man! Newspapers say this was his TENTH decade of music!!” I responded.
“Oh, great man, great man. Isn’t that a hallmark of greatness?”
“Yes, indeed. People lose their teeth and their hands start trembling by the time they are sixty-five. And here was a man who played sitar at the age of ninety-two! Phew!! That’s unimaginable!!” I replied as Lulu, perched atop my shoulder bent down to listen to me.
“Ha, Ha! That’s true. I reckon those as the fear on your mind. After all, you have already past sixty already.” Lulu said.
“Parrots have a great understanding of psychology, Lulu,” I taunted Lulu. “Ravishankar was nominated for the third time for the Grammy Awards. And he was in competition with his daughter Anushka!”
“So not only he is playing sitar for several decades but he is also playing it at the highest level of quality.”
“Wow! That reminds me of Federer, Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf who played their game at the highest level for several years.” Lulu observed.
“Didn’t that remind you of Sachin Tendulkar?”
“Yes Sachin is in that category too. No doubt. Will he be playing cricket even at the age of ninety-two?” Lulu asked as he winked at me.
“That is unfair to the great cricketer. One conclusion comes out clearly in our discussion – Great performers perform consistently at the highest level. Like Ravishankar, Sachin, Steffi, Federer and Pete Sampras.”
“You are saying the obvious. What is not visible to people is the hours and years of hard work required to be able to do it.”
“You said it Lulu. At least ten thousand hours of practice as Malcome Galdwell says.” I agreed.
“Why do you place so much value of ‘Talent’? Why can’t people understand that ‘practice makes perfect man?’?” Lulu asked. “I think several consultants will go out of business if you show that there is as much to practice as there is to talent.”
“You are right. What puzzles me is how do people get the energy to perform for ten decades and even at the age of ninety-two?”
“This is where talent comes in. one of the hallmark of talent is that talented people continue to derive endless satisfaction out of the activity. Husain was painting till his last breath. And Ravishankar played sitar at the age of ninety-two with an oxygen mask! This only proves my point.”
“You said it. My professor and mentor Dr Mrs Shanta Vaidya published a book at the age of eighty-two. I only hope I have the same fortune.” I said getting nostalgic.
“Remember that the greatest work of maestros was never produced in the formative years. Michelangelo created Sistine Chapel only after firmly establishing himself as a painter and sculptor of repute. And that is several years of work.”
“Hmmm….. Ravishankar is competing with his daughter Anushka for Grammy Awards for 2013.” I said.
“You are missing the message of the story.” Lulu shouted at me.
“What’s that, Lulu?” I asked.
“You must leave a legacy. He has given everything in music to his daughter Anushka. Federer, Steffi, Sampras have not done it. Nor has Sachin.” Lulu pointed out.
“Nor have I” I said with a tone of regret.
“Lasting success is all about consistency of high level of performance, talent and leaving a legacy.” Lulu said and continued, “But don’t you worry. William Shakespeare has said that ‘No legacy is as rich as honesty.’ Have you told that to your children?” Lulu seemingly consoled me.
“But take my word. Don’t ever tell anybody that you are leaving them a legacy!” Lulu warned me.
“Oh, why not?” I asked.
“Samuel Butler says that “When you’ve told someone that you’ve left them a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once.”” Lulu laughed, rubbed his head on my cheeks and flew away.