Born in Burma, studied in Bangalore, and worked in the Middle-East, Christopher Lawrence, or Law as people know him, is a very social and happy go lucky kind of person. Father of two girls, this 62-year-old is now the pro audio marketing head at Reynolds, in Bangalore.
Law and I go way back, having known each other for almost a decade. We are what is colloquially known as drinking buddies. We sometimes meet after a day’s work at the local club, grab a few beers, and talk about anything and everything. Law is a great conversationalist – he’s so insightful, and talking to him is so refreshing. A couple of years back, at a friend’s birthday party, I saw Christopher pick up a guitar and play it with so much passion. He was truly lost in the music and looked happier than I’d ever seen him. The enthusiasm with which Law played his instrument left a lasting impression in my mind. The next time we met for our routine at the club, I just had to bring it up! When I asked him why he loved playing the guitar so much, he just said, “When I play the guitar, I see people moving to the rhythm; they groove to it, and they enjoy it. That’s the most rewarding part of being an artist – you have the power to bring a smile on someone’s face.” His selflessness in a world like today’s got me intrigued, and I couldn’t wait to hear his story! The conversation that followed changed my perspective on life.
Christopher’s story begins in Burma, where he was born and spent most of his early childhood. His mother belonged to a group of musically oriented people known as the Karens, and this is what sparked his interest in music. The rest of his schooling was completed in St. John’s, Bangalore, where he noticed a couple of his classmates playing the guitar. This was when his passion for music evolved into his love for the guitar; he said: “I saw a couple of my friends playing the guitar and knew instantly that, this is what I’d want to get into.” At the time, Christopher couldn’t afford it, so he borrowed a guitar from his friends for a day or two and picked up the skill of playing the instrument. What pulled him further were few musicians at the time, namely Cliff Richards and Elvis Presley. They wrote songs that resonated with him. In the late 70s, there wasn’t much scope for the music industry at large, and unfortunately, this passion could not be turned into his profession. Cristopher took up a regular job and went on with his life. He says life has been good to him as he never really wandered too far away from his passion because his work always revolved around the music industry. “It brings sweetness to my work,” says Law. This can only be said by someone who enjoys his work. He’s been working with Reynolds for the last 15 years, and he says that the only reason he’s stuck around for so long is that if he is ever stressed about situations at work, he just picks up his guitar and that gives him a decent break.
Towards the end of the conversation, I asked Christopher if he had anything to say to someone of his age group who wanted to start playing the guitar as a hobby. He smiled and said, “Music is a strange concept in the sense that you can never go wrong with it. Just go for it.” An acoustic guitar and a chord book are all that one needs to start, and if all else fails, there is always the world wide web. “Music is something each person needs to discover for themselves; a music school is not necessary,” he continued.
This conversation led me down a path of thought, not only because of his story but the passion with which he started, and never strayed away from. The consistency throughout his journey is what I loved the most. The fact that his life revolves around his passion showed me the importance of it. I had to rethink a lot of the decisions and the choices that I had made, even had to re-do most of my thought processes. This is because when someone introduces the concept of passion, we’re caught off guard. I feel the world has set certain norms that we’re expected to follow, and this is why the concept of passion is so foreign to us. I believe it is hard to find anyone who’s this passionate about something in a world like today where everyone is caught up in this giant rat race. I feel we do what is expected of us, and that is not always what we are passionate about. The importance of passion is that it helps us mentally in the long run. We can draw a relation from Christopher’s story that the only reason he is where he is, or the reason why he’s still working at this age is that his passion lies in and around his work.
Oprah Winfrey once said that passion is energy, and we should feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites us. I think that Christopher is a prime example, and there is a lot we can learn from his story. That evening at the club is probably my most treasured moment with Law because it gave me so much to think about. And most importantly, it showed me a side of my dear friend that I had no idea even existed.