Seeking life inspiration from tendrils!

I love plants and animals. Plants, a bit more than animals, of course. In plants, beyond the most easily loveable part—that is, flowers—another aspect/part that I really love is tendrils!

Yes, tendrils.

Now, climbers and creepers, by themselves, are very, very beautiful, in the way they pick a support and climb around it. That whole process, by itself, is incredible if you think about – stationary plants consciously moving towards a support and holding on to it as they grow!

The tendrils help some of the climbers in this process, to reach closer to sunlight which helps them grow better. I have observed growth in tendrils from morning to evening! In the morning, I would see a tiny tendril, aimlessly moving in the wind, but by evening, it would have picked a nearby plant or a support to coil around, and would have grown a bit more than the morning, in the process! This is just nature, but to a human eye, to see a plant’s visible growth surely seems miraculous.

If you have a climber/creeper with tendrils, please observe how they behave the next time you see them.

I have 3 plants in our little terrace garden that have tendrils and it is a joy to watch them evolve every single day!

I also read more about tendrils and came to know that they are ‘intelligent’ enough to not twine around their own mother plant, or the same species next to it! This is just chemicals at work, but the effect is that of an intelligent selection process!

Why am I talking about tendrils, something most of us do not even care to notice/observe and take completely for granted?

It’s because I find tendrils to be a great metaphor for how we, as humans, could evolve and become better versions of ourselves.

A tendril’s existence is towards the climber getting more sunlight and increase the diversification in flowering plants. Its entire purpose is to support the process of growth by finding other, solid supports to lean on and grow further towards the sun!

We, as individuals, pick a career after our school and college and hold on to it with our dear lives as if that is the only support we can lean on.

But imagine assuming that the entire sunlight (or, contentment in a career/profession) is not shining on us. What should we do? We could produce tendrils of interest and let them find nearby/other areas to try and hold on to. We need not abandon our base stem to do this – we are merely testing the possibilities.

The best part is that these tendrils of interest need not even be for alternative commercial gains that augment or rival our main income-earning capability. They could simply be areas of interest that help us live our lives in a more purposeful, fulfilling manner!

In hindsight, I realize that I have been throwing such tendrils of interest all through my life/career.

I picked up an interest in tracing and tracking music plagiarism from my dad, who picked that interest while he was doing his college in Calcutta (then). I morphed that interest into a website in 1999-2000 and have been pursuing that ever since, in various forms. That basic website still exists and I branched it into a series for Filmcompanion.

I have always been interested in music, but not having learned any formal form of music or instrument, I still wanted to keep a close touch with music. So I started a music review blog in 2005 where I would ‘review’ music as a layperson/common man. The blog is still going strong, 16 years later and I have morphed it from reviews of soundtracks to picking the best of new music week after week, in the form of playlists (because soundtracks are outdated now; playlists are in).

Social media, when it arrived in India around 2007/08 interested me enormously. I threw a tendril towards it, and moved from public relations to digital media communications in 2009, after finding some early success by testing it within a PR firm in 2007-08. The tendril morphed into a career branch, and later, into a book (personal branding using social media)!

A couple of other tendrils I have produced and thrown around include ones on science fiction (with a very specific focus on first contact and anthropological sci-fi), and running (I run 5 kms every single day, including weekends), among others. And then there is NoWordyet that is an extension of my sci-fi tendril, specifically, my love for Douglas Adams and his book, The Meaning of Liff.

You may call the ‘tendrils of interest’ as hobbies. But unless it gives you a new sense of purpose (the way tendrils help a climber move in a new direction while staying rooted to the same stem), don’t just take a hobby for granted.

A ‘tendril’ for you could even be something as simple as cooking, but you need to build on that interest. Cooking for yourself and your family is one thing; talking about cooking, sharing recipes with others on the internet, showcasing your cooking, reading more on it, and evolving your own interest… are something else. Krish Ashok is a great example of expanding his cooking ‘tendril’ into a successful book.

Or take the example of Vaidehi Moorthy. She handles social media at Dunzo, professionally. Her ‘tendril’ of interest is puns, on Twitter. Take a look at her Twitter handle, @butvai where she doesn’t share anything else but puns, relentlessly!

Or Diptakirti, who is a marketer by day and a writer on Bollywood on the sly! He has published 6 books on Bollywood!

Even more interesting – consider Subhashini, who extended her home-maker identity into one where she does amazingly creative things with the flowers from her garden (where you could see tendrils, incidentally)! She went so deep into this that she has published a book on the theme!

Have you identified your own tendrils? What are your tendrils heading towards?

Cover picture courtesy: BlueRidgeKitties, on Flickr



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