Books can give great life teachings which we learn vicariously. Dan Mayur knows it so well, his memoir Living Dreams is written as part history, part travelogue and part self-help guide. It no doubt wants to be a bit of it all, largely to inspire the innate capacity for good living in all of us.
Reading Mayur’s exemplary life from its humble roots in rural India to its grand blossoming in corporate America is experiencing something ordinary grow into something not so ordinary. It makes one wonder earnestly, can we all lead as successful a life as Mayur, if we are willing, disciplined and ambitious? Mayur seems to think a life of learning, laughing and loving is the greatest roadmap to self-fulfillment.
Dnyanendrakumar “Dan” Mayur was born into the household of Natwarlal Fundilal Mayur and Asha Mayur. Early in the book, a brief ancestral history traces the union of the Gujarati families of Nagindas Nathusa and Fundilal Deochand in Chopda, a small village in Maharashtra. Fundilal’s descent into poverty and untimely death fell hard on his family. Natwarlal had to be the carrier of the family’s hopes and aspirations by getting the education which others couldn’t.
His son, inheritor of his values and naturally determined to succeed, sought a happy life and career in America, which he subsequently realised by educating himself in Houston. His fourth published work follows his life, its many idiosyncratic characters, the various cities he lived in and his reflection on what it all meant.
It’s a pity every well-lived life may not translate into a great book, and that one man’s exhilarating journey may not exhilarate everyone who dips into it.
Mayur’s recollections are not terribly exciting, lessons largely sanctimonious and advice commonplace. Granted, every word is heartfelt and every experience sincere — one of the more quietly touching episodes comes with his first visit to Houston, where initial awkwardness paves way for appreciation of the peculiar American way — but much of the narrative hides behind the descriptive and the impersonal.
The historical insights on places and cultures he’s come in contact with are informative and occasionally fascinating, but slow down the narrative’s flow. Mayur is an eloquent writer, and though he tells his story well, one wishes the major takeaway from the book could have been a little more than the epigrammatic “learn, laugh and love”.
Name: Living Dreams: Exhilarating Journey, Destination Unknown
Author: Dan Mayur
Publisher: Mehta Publishing House
Price: Rs 495