There comes a time in your life when you would say yes without looking at any rational things like how far will it hold and will this help you in your career, etc. That moment was when I was offered to join Narain Karthikeyan as his Manager way back in 2004.
Those people who noticed the Formula 1 calendar were considered a bit elitist. This was a sport which is one of super human endurance to say the least. I remember the ode by a Hindu columnist when Narain started his first race at Melbourne Australia. You get to see the bit of the eyes thorough the visor, his head nodding through the corners as if he is enjoying a song on the car at speeds that you can only imagine but cant live in reality.
But this is not about the Narain that we know once he started racing in F1 circa 2005. But well it about those traits that made him scale that peak of being the first F1 driver ever from a billion Indians, truly #madeofgreat.
There is a saying that some are born great and some make themselves great, quite a rarity that these two go together. Born in a family of noble men / dewans if you know there are no titles these days, Narain comes from a family which has a legacy of textile mills, an education conglomerate and ofcourse a champion rally driver as dad. As if these were not enough Coimbatore was also the motorsports capital of the country.
The road to the legacy or history was not an easy one. There is a saying that an overnight success is a result of years of hardwork and dedication to the goal that one is attached to.
Coming back to my learnings, there were many aspects but I will restrict it to few awesome qualities that will hold us to greatness.
There is a story in Mahabharatha. The guru Dronacharya is among his pupils, he has set a target for his wards in archery. So he asks everyone to take an aim. One by one the students take aim and when Drona asks them what do they see, he gets different answers, like there is a tree, there is a branch, there is a parrot and it is green in colour and the like. It was the turn of Arjuna, when asked what did he see, he answered ‘Gruruji, the eyes of the parrot.’
That was knowing what you are upto, being precise and I have seen this focus on mission mode in Narain, the lifetime ambition burning bright, to be in Formula 1. I saw it clear and loud, whenever someone asked him what is he upto. Probably no one had an iota of belief that it would be possible at some time in the distant future. He knew he wanted to be there and as specific as to be in the Formula 1 where his role models Ayrton Senna and Micheal Schumacher raced. The best part he was happy to be racing alongside Micheal Schumacher that year when he made the debut. The icing was Schumi was in his rear view mirror when Narain made the best of the rain hit qualifying and well if you know Narain was always a master racer in the rain. No rain could stop Narain!
Quite often in life, its with the measure of what others say that we decide our lives, not with what we are or what we could be. I learnt this lesson straight from him. Well there is a a borderline difference about self confidence and over confidence though. It more about not letting others let influence you on your path of success. If you were to be led by others in the country then I am sure we would not have had the first F1 driver in India. You know what you are doing and that’s the most important part of your life. Be very clear on that and well you are confidence personified. The best part is that you cannot put on confidence, and that will show badly. So every time when people almost wrote off he would bounce back with a show of best results to be on podium in the racing series he was on. Never allow any one to affect your self confidence. It has to be intact and it has to be boosted with every step that gets you back.
And when you are confident I am sure the world will conspire to get it done and make it happen. It was the confidence in Narain that saw him go through all the years of hardwork from testing with Jaguar, Honda and Minardi and landing up at Midland F1. It was quite a long way literally if you know he tested for Jaguar in 2001 its so long ago in F1 terms.
Excellence is never an accident and it holds true to the way Narain made it happen. You know you need to be the best in the trade you are at. If you yearned to be a racer you got be racing at the pinnacle of motorsport F1. Nothing less would do. And its an art of fine tuning oneself to reach the goal. Its nearly impossible for Bolt to do what he does on the Olympic arena coming out of bed. It was all hard work and sheer tenacity that holds you there. So too was Narain’s path loaded with hard work and keeping him fit and not losing sight of what he wants to do and where he wants to go. One of those things that surely will #makeyougreat.
As you might be aware this sport of F1 is exacting one when it comes to physical fitness. And I have seen him in action when he had his own national racing teams his affinity to physical fitness was there for all to see. You need to be at the gym / workout everyday. You can skip a day or take time off. Your dream or vision needs to be like that. You know if there is a drop the average of your performance take a hit so much so that you need to work twice that effort to make it average your result.
Never let it go, I have never seen him miss his gym session and when people ask me why is he not stopping from racing some series or other, it helps you be in the thick or thin, except the format is different but you need to be fit in the rightest way if I may put it. Keep doing it till we achieve the result, making it worthwhile.
There is a saying that the moment you think you are humble it gone for a six, well the last part going for six is my contribution, its gone thats it. Be humble at all times I don’t have to narrate any incident because he is one, whatever the achievement, it was like that equilibrium of that lotus leaves that waves cannot override.
I know I can write on many of the traits of Narain say charity and the like, but these have had me in good stead and helped me overcome my personal challenges quite often. That everlasting impact is what I have been able to pass it on to those who I have come in contact, so the life becomes better for the future.
It been a nice way of looking back and thanks so much to this hashtag #madeofgreat. Do check out more here http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/
I leave you with this video too!
PS: its no sheer coincidence that TATA Motors was his principal sponsor that day when he made over 1.2 billion Indians proud, probably only TATA Motors could identify someone #madeofgreat.