Defeat? No Way, I Still Have Two Feet! - New Canadian Media

Defeat? No Way, I Still Have Two Feet!

by Devanshu Narang in Toronto “What is your motivation in life?” My talkative, confident frame, turned silent. The interview is going good so far –…

by Devanshu Narang in Toronto

“What is your motivation in life?”

My talkative, confident frame, turned silent. The interview is going good so far – similar to many other interviews I had in the last 15 days for positions like cashier, sales associate, produce associatecall centre adviser and the like.

The interviewer lookback at my now pale face with a glow in her youthful eyes, staring at this fat, old, beaten man trying to compete with boys and girls just out of school (or a few other losers like me) for the job of a second shift stocker.

What motivates you?” she repeats.

My tongue is frozen and my lips dry. I am shellshocked.

Earlier she had asked me about how I handled difficult customers, how I managed change and how I managed a job where I was provided limited resources.

I had spoken confidently about my lifes journey.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]I cannot think of any motivation left in my life.[/quote]

How after completing my mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, one of the top engineering institutions back home in India, I had run factories, businesses and corporations in various managerial capacities including CEO/business head over a rich career spanning 26 years.

How I had turned around a sick unit losing a million dollars a year and made it one of the most modern and profitable textile millin northern India.

How adapting new technologies, sustainability and the like were strategies that I effectively used at the workplace to develop and lead teams ranging in size from six to 6,000.

And how even in a cold, hostile nation like Canada, which brings doctors, engineers, architects and lawyers from foreign nations to their feet, I had created my own path of success and had built a business and a name that resulted in Canada recognizing me as being amongst the top 75 immigrants in 2013.

I had so much to speak to her about up until this moment, but now my mind is blank.

Devanshu, is there any problem? Dont you have a motivation in life?

I am speechless, numb, taken aback.

I cannot think of any motivation left in my life.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″][W]hen you are considered a dinosaur best suited to be kept in a museum displaying past glory, then what could motivate you?[/quote]

Finding motivation

When you reach a dead end in your professional life and your education and experience is considered useless in the workplace, or when you are considered a dinosaur best suited to be kept in a museum displaying past glory, then how do you answer that question?

What could motivate me?

MoneyA minimum wage, minimum skill job would actually remind me every day of where I have brought myself with the risks that I had taken.

Respect, job satisfaction, creativityThe less said, the better. 

My eyes are hurting by now and the pain inside is trying to pour out in small droplets.

And then the smiling face of my daughter hugging me hard, shouting Pappu Narang upon returning for a short break, from her campus in the U.S. comes to mind.

Following that, the memory of my son explaining to hundreds and hundreds of Niagara Falls residents at his graduation ceremony how proud he was of his old man.  

And finally a thought of my wife smiling and telling me to forget our loss of thousands and thousands of dollars brought on by a wrong investment decision of mine.

I wipe my eyes clean, moisten my lips and bare the best smile I can on my weary, but now shining, face. 

My family and their smiles motivate me, I say. I want to go to work to ensure that I can enjoy the small pleasures of our lives and grow old with them and see my children shine … I want to let them know that I will not give up and will fight till the very end and will rise every time I fall.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“I want to let them know that I will not give up and will fight till the very end and will rise every time I fall.”[/quote]

Continuing on the journey

My fellow travellers, and perhaps losers of today, of whom I hope there are few, life can be a roller coaster and this could be our low point, but we will rise.

And these instances of nothingness have been a great time too.

After all, small things make me happy.

Like cleaning the utensils and preparing a small meal and seeing the smile on my wife’s face when she comes back tired from work.

Like being able to do my little acting gigs from time to time and seeing the smiles on the faces of people when they see this old, bald man acting, singing, dancing and making merry.

Oh, and by the way, I did not get that job. Some young spirit beat me to it, but so what? I will try again.

Every dog has his day and my day will come. Until then, I will keep walking.


Devanshu Narang is a mechanical engineer with 25 years of corporate experience. He has worked in a variety of fields and industries. He is also a filmmaker, writer, and poet.

{module NCM Blurb}  

Website | + posts

Devanshu Narang is a writer, performer and author of Naurang: Nine Shades of Life.