Monday, September 10, 2012


You've heard this one before. I've read it at different places at different times & texts, but when I put the two together, it makes more sense than it does individually.

"To make it big, you must dream big. And to turn your dreams into reality, you must wake up & go for it"

Remember when as children, someone would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up? We'd give answers like "astronaut, scientist, movie star" & the people wouldn't take it seriously, terming them as ridiculous. Why were these fantasies deemed so? Why were they dismissed as the ramblings of one who did not know what they were talking about? Who is to say that if a child wants to become the biggest media mongul in the world, they can't? I feel that as we grow up, we begin to limit ourselves to focusing so much on a single-minded life that we forget that we are more than just a 9-to-5 job, that we are beings of infinite possibilities. In school & college, most of us handled academics, extra-curricular activities, sports & then some more with equal panache. Then what is stopping us now from going beyond it? The burden of age? Extra responsibilities? Lack of time? Really, is that the best excuse you can come up with?

I stepped outside my comfort zone of art & music and began exploring public speaking, debates & theatre whilst in school. Then after college, I moved from a possibly lucrative & secure profession like Dentistry to an uncertain, volatile but creatively fulfilling one that I breathe in today. Within this, I moved from what I knew I was good at (singing) to something I took a risk with (public speaking & acting) and then something I was petrified of (dancing)! There is so much to do yet, and I'm no star. There are people who've done much better & bigger and they are beacons of inspiration for us. They show us that if you will it, it will happen.

All of this might sound pretty fantastic and it is! It's not easy at all, but its not impossible either. And when has anything easy ever been fun? Remember, the joy lies more in the challenge than in the prize. When I speak to you through my words, I'm also having a conversation with myself to birth inspiration. Tough as it may seem to do so much, it would be grave injustice to waste a single moment or opportunity in our lives, whatever the outcome or degree of success might be. We have one life, and we must live it to the fullest. Our interpretation of that could be limited, and it widens every single day we're truly "alive". Learn, read, write, observe, travel, experiment, take risks, be unreasonable, DARE! Soak all life has to offer. Be a sponge, not a duck's back.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to make the world adapt to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw

I remember dreaming big as a kid. As a child, it wasn't about riches or success; those are dreams we get programmed to have once we start growing up & start believing that survival, wealth & power are all there is to in this world (which, by the way isn't true). My initial dreams were colorful like most Hindi films; no story to speak of but with lush, open, gigantic spaces/structures which you could drink eyefuls of. I interpret that as the freedom of my mind, unfettered, uncluttered and willing to explore. That has been responsible for my exploring new avenues in spite of being settled in what I am.

I want to be a man who never stopped dreaming, for in our subconscious lies our bare desires, unmasked by norms & notions. We all have the capacity to outdo ourselves & exceed our wildest expectations. We just don't know how powerful we are, or how fantastic our mind is which can overcome every damned hurdle. Self-doubt is the dark cloud that obscures our ability to deliver & the best of people suffer from this. These are vulnerable moments which suck at you like parasites, making you believe in everything but your own worth. Mind you, it's not a disability; rather it only proves you're human. Nevertheless, the fear of failure is debilitating & can stop us from taking those chances that could change our lives, mostly for good. This monster must be overcome & slain, for it is not undefeatable.

I could quote more wise men from over the centuries but since I'm a huge Batman & Christopher Nolan fan, I'll quote from Batman Begins, the first of the Dark Knight trilogy:

"Why do we fall Bruce? So that we learn to pick ourselves up"

In each of us lies the strength to overcome all odds, against all odds.
Tell me now, what kind of a person do YOU want to be?

Dream, my friend. Dream the big dream. And when you wake up, work hard & smart to make that dream a reality. I will continue dreaming big, and so should you.

A slight modification to one of my favorite quotes: "Reach for the skies. For even if you miss, you'll still be among the stars, far above the barren land of buried ambitions."

खुदी को कर बुलन्द इतना
कि हर तक़दीर से पहले
खुदा बन्दे से खुद पूछे
बता, तेरी रज़ा क्या है

Friday, September 07, 2012


Artwork by Samatha Zaza :
Let me narrate a recurring memory in my life. There was a senior of mine in Wynberg Allen (a boarding school in Mussoorie where I finished my Plus 2), who I deemed the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world. Now there could be many reasons for that. I'd been in a boys' school for 8 years and hadn't seen too many pretty girls. Heck, I'd hardly seen any girls till then. Nevertheless, there was something special about her. Perhaps, it was her confidence in the knowledge that she was  desired by pretty much all the boys at school. Perhaps it was her natural athleticism, or that she could look so beautiful in spite of no make up & with the compulsory, nerdy double-plait. Every time I'd lay my eyes on her, I'd blush. The warm, comforting sunshine of Mussoorie had nothing to do with it. Rather, it seemed to dim every time she'd walk by, as if paying homage to a form more radiant than itself!

I was a painfully shy boy in school, and she seemed to enjoy that. She'd deliberately engage me in conversations to see  how I'd respond and burst into peals of giggles at my timid reactions. And then one day, fate brought us together in an English play, "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie. It had a fantastic premise, a brilliant cast (of which she was one) and a good director in our English professor. I, by virtue of being a meek newbie, was thrust the responsibility of being the prompter (a position no one desired) and I accepted with some degree of glee. It not only allowed me to bunk sports hour to watch a play come to life, with the fleshing out of it's characters but also to see her in the flesh every single day. 

I never, for once, had the stomach to tell her how besotted I was, but I guess some things are so obvious that they need not a word. Oh, to silently sit in the wings like a mute, secret admirer and catch a glimpse of her occasionally smiling at me. Yes, it was a massive, MASSIVE crush, and something close had never happened before, never after.  When she passed out of school, my first thought was (I kid you not): "How am I going to get through one whole year without seeing her every single morning?" At that tender, innocent age, a term like "this too shall pass" did not exist for me. Heck, for that one crush, it hasn't till today! Since that overwhelmingly cheesy encounter 13 years ago, I have overcome my awkwardness around women & met extremely smart, talented & gorgeous ladies. But something about that time, the circumstances & her face refuses to let up.

What is my one indelible memory of her? Accidentally bumping into her in a dark alley on the eve of the annual Hindi play. I was running late (as usual) and was hurtling full speed down the path to the auditorium when I almost knocked her over; she in resplendent white, like an angel sent from the purest heavens, just for me. She held her breath; she wasn't allowed to be outside & obviously feared being caught. I, on the other hand, was awestruck; arrested by her downcast eyes and the strands of hair blowing over her face. Even though it was dark, I could see her pale skin glow ever so bright.  And I wondered, where is the goddamned background music when you really need it? We stood there for what seemed like an eternity, locked our breathless gazes for the briefest of moments and walked our ways. And to think that this could happen only in a film! Those surreal moments stay locked in my memory to this day...

I wonder where she is today. All attempts to trace her have lead to nought in this seemingly small world. Then again, perhaps I'm not meant to find her. Because some memories are best left unperturbed, fresh as they were in the morning dew in the hills of Mussoorie...