A Gift of Passion: Wrapped in Run is a book by Hemanta Pati. Mr. Pati is an insurance professional with a long and successful career with public and private sector firms in the insurance industry. Writing had been a childhood passion of Pati’s which got sidelined for many years; first in the quest for better academic performance, then by the search for a job and later by the need to build a successful career. At this late stage in his career Mr. Pati rediscovers two of his passions – one for sports and the other for writing. This book is him telling us through his second passion how he is living his first passion; and so titled ‘A Gift of Passion: Wrapped in Run’.
While at the heart of it, the book is a self help book that motivates the reader to work towards their passion, it doesnt read like one. As I went from page to page, I became the kid listening to his father narrate stories from the father’s own life and childhood. Dinner is done and it is still not bed time, a sweet hour for long conversations. The father, like all fathers, rhapsodizing about his triumphs and failures, detailing his exultation and tribulation to the wide eyed attention of his kid. Do you feel it ! Imagery aside, it reads very much like listening to someone who has been there and done that. The book opens at the start of the author’s first Ultra Marathon attempt in 2017. Each chapter takes us through different stages of the race and in parallel through the different stages in his life upto the end of the Ultra Marathon and upto what he is today. There is a twist at the end of the book, which I shall let you discover.
Born in a rural area in Odisha, the author attended school in his locality and was one among three people from his school who secured First Division in the State Board Examinations. He finished his postgraduation in Economics from Bhubhaneshwar and joined Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India in the officer cadre. He later left the firm to join the private insurance industry. At the late end of his career, the author looks back on his life and feels a sense of incompleteness. He narrates an incident from his early days as a father. He enrolled his son at a Cricket academy in Kolkata and used to religiously drive him to and from the training centre.
One month passed. One day driving back home from the Cricket Academy my son asked, “Papa, why do you want to impose your passion on me by asking me to play cricket? I have heard you and mummy discussing the fact that you wanted to be a sports person. But I don’t share the same passion.”A Gift of Passion: Wrapped in Run
The author no longer asked his son to play cricket and let him follow his passion. This incident made the author contemplate about how he had treated his own passions. At the age of 50+, the author sets out to pursue a long shelved passion – a passion for sports. As an opportunity presents itself in the form of a marathon his employer was participating in, the author decides to train and work towards it. Through this process, he decides to take up long distance running seriously. Mr. Pati started running long distance in 2015. He ran 5 marathons in 2015, 11 in 2016 and 15 in 2017 taking his total tally to 31 when the book was being written. I was able to get in touch with the author and learned that the completion of the Ultra Marathon took his 2017 tally to 16. He finished 9 more in 2018 and 8 more as of 21st July 2017 in the current year, taking his total tally to 49 runs. This also includes two runs of 100 kms each !
Running a single kilometer non stop is not something many youngsters today are able to do. Running over 20kms is something even an athletic youngster cannot do without regular and specialized training. The author in a span of three years, moves from taking up running as a long lost hobby to running an ultra marathon of 75 kms.
At the age of 50+ you suddenly decide to wake up one morning and set out to train for sports as if you are going to win an Olympic medal. How does your spouse react? How about your children? How do your old parents react?A Gift of Passion: Wrapped in Run
The book takes us through this journey of the author becoming a runner which positively impacts other areas of his life too.
As someone who did try out running as a means to lose weight, I could connect with the author’s feelings of anxiety, trials and triumphs. This is a book that any runner will connect with well and also those who are trying out new things in life. Writing about an imagined reality and writing about one’s own reality has a difference. Hemanta Pati is writing about his own reality. The connect the author must feel when he reads the book has successfully been transferred onto the reader as well. Runners and non-runners alike have takeaways from the book.
The author admits it was not just his circumstances in his early life that are to be blamed for him not following his passion. There are inspiring stories of people following their passions and becoming successful despite coming from humble backgrounds. Mr. Pati says he lacked the courage to pursue his passion. Pati talks of the huge difference between ‘being seen as a success’ and ‘feeling like a success’. Most of us are running towards being seen as success in life. Here, success is as is defined by society or family. But a happy and content person is one who feels like a success. Here I differ, I believe that these two goals need not always be divergent. I feel that being seen as a success itself makes one feel successful. But, if at all you feel a difference between the two, this book is a clarion call to work towards feeling like a success. But keep in mind that nowhere does the book advocate ambushing a career to follow one’s passion. The book talks of how both can be balanced and the author himself is a practitioner of this balance.
The book is available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited or you may buy a hard copy from Amazon.