Letter No 59 - Will this be useful?

Dear friend,

I love sketching. In 6th grade, when we got bored in class, I would be drawing cartoons in my notebooks. Yes, I was a backbencher. One the perks of a backbencher is that the teacher cannot see what you are doing. Let me me clarify that I was not a backbencher becuase I was not interested in learning. I was. I was at the back because of my height.

Anyhow, I sketched. A lot. We made all sort comics - of how human fart can be harnessed to create an alternative source of energy, to designs of knives, rockets and aeroplanes. Crazy stuff.

After 10th, I stopped sketching regularly. I restarted sketching and drawing again at the age of 35. I started making time every week to draw.

I'm really good with drawing nature, landscapes, and also I'm good with perspectives and real life objects. It's effortless for me to draw a room or a set of physical object like trees, furniture, or a building.

But I suck at drawing people. Or at least I used to suck at it. Yet, I went through a phase (of almost an entire year) when I insisted on drawing people and faces. My mother, who is a a professional artist, would tell me - why do you insist on drawing people? This is not your strength. Why don't you focus on nature and perspectives.

And she was right.

But I enjoyed drawing people. And more than that I wanted to prove to myself that I could get good at it. So I bought books, downloaded videos and took on the challenge of drawing at least one character every day. I went all out. Eventually I got fairly decent at it.

I have a fairly good size collection of my drawings on people and faces apart from all the others.


Now the question is this - what is the point of all this body of work? It has nothing to do with my work, or with my career. I am not a professional artist.

So does my hobby of art even matter beyond being a source of joy and relaxation? (Although, I truly believe that joy and relaxation are really critical life skills - and will write another letter on that topic!)

My young friend Dariya is a coffee enthusiast. He has tried many different types of coffee, and created coffee experiences for many people. But he works at Enterprise India Fellowship and his family business is food. So does his body of work have any relevance?


How focussed should we be in terms of the things we learn and the experiences we allow ourselves to have?

Should they always be aligned to our goals and objectives?

Or should we allow there to be some serendipity in our lives?

Should we invest our time in experiences that don't seem to have a direct connection with our goals?

Does building a body of work in something very different from our main field of interest make sense?


I don't convince you with my answer - which obviously is yes. I'd love to be able to make you think for yourself.

The three things that I believe are UNCOMPROMISABLE are

  • become good at something (doesn't matter what it is)
  • be curious about many things (doesn't matter what they are), and
  • seeking to make a difference wherever we go (doesn't matter where that is)

Doing is thinking. As we do, we understand. We as move, the direction gets clearer. Staying stagnant is not useful.

As I like to say very often, a stationery vehicle cannot change direction.

We need to be in flow.


"But I'm not enjoying my work"

"But that other thing seems more exciting"

"But other people are doing this"

We hear this often.

Don't get swayed too easily. Stay on it for some more time. Build that body of work. It will give you speed AND direction. Be patient. It will happen. Nature has it's own intelligence, and don't forget that you and I are a part of nature - hence we have some of that intelligence!

Of course, there are times you need to change. But you will know when that time has come. You will feel it.


Go watch Forest Gump. Or Laal Singh Chaddha.

You will understand this letter better.
I'd love to know what kind of body of work you are build nowadays!