Posted on August 6, 2017
People are conditioned to a life of safety and conformity. The society teaches us to accept mediocrity just because it is the safest, most established and conventional route to take.
All of us are taught from a young age to fit in, get a good job and work our way up the ladder. The society at large values complacency, being in line and maintaining the status quo. Still, conventionality does not work for everyone.
You often hear youngsters complaining about their parents not letting them follow unconventional career choices. However, there is a bigger villain in this picture, bigger than the parents and that is self-doubt. We doubt whether we will be able to make it big on our chosen path even before we start on it, and hence, we tend to give in, follow the herd of engineers and doctors so that we don’t have ourselves to blame when we fail.
No wonder we have such cowardly approach because truth be told, we live in a country where failure and death are synonymous. Yet here are some people who have broken through the enigma, stood up for their dreams, and proved themselves in unconventional forte:
Hailing from an academic family, Bhat had a childhood dream of becoming a doctor. He chose biology after his high school but soon felt out of place and realized that he did not belong there.
In school, Tanmay had the reputation of being the ‘class clown’ and used to make people laugh. After completing his school, he opened up to his parents about his wish to pursue a career that would be associated with writing and comedy. At first, his father disapproved of this, he thought he would end up being a failure. Somehow, Tanmay convinced them that he would work hard and leave no stone unturned.
Even at the age of 18, he used to work between 12-16 hours a day as an intern. When his parents saw his toil, they started supporting his decision. Tanmay feels that a lot of kids in India hesitate to talk to their parents about their dreams because of the huge communication gap and that this gap must be bridged for more and more people to come out and choose alternative careers.
Relentless curiosity, impeccable perseverance, and not shying from asking help are the qualities that – according to Tanmay – are useful in build an unconventional career.
At a very early age of 10, Biswapati Sarkar knew he would study at an IIT; although, he didn’t know what he would do after that. He recalls that when he was in Class V or Vl, he met one of his maternal uncles who was from IIT Kharagpur and was asked to touch his feet, he was told that even if he becomes 1% like him, it would be a big thing.
He eventually went on to study at IIT Kharagpur because his parents thought that a degree from an elite institution would bring security to their kid’s life. But it wasn’t his degree that earned him a pre-placement offer at TVF but his writing skills.
Quite early in his college life, he figured out that writing and filmmaking were the sole things he was good at. His mom was satisfied that he had gotten into the IIT, but when he went back and told her about his plans, she declined it immediately! It took a lot of pleading and flattery and a pre-placement offer from TVF to convince her.
Sarkar, now, makes a living writing comedy as the creative director of The Viral Fever. He believes that institutions such as IITs give ordinary students space to discover their passions. According to him, one must have dedication, tenacity, and sufficient knowledge to make it in unconventional fields.
You thought your life as an aspiring artist would have been so easier if your parents weren’t people who had done a regular job throughout their life, and were artists instead. Well, our Mr. Perfectionist seems to be have born in a perfect setting in that context.
Despite being the son of the director Tahir Hussain and the nephew of the filmmaker Nasir Hussain, his family didn’t want him to be a part of Bollywood as they thought working in films was a volatile profession. Instead, they wanted him to be an engineer so that he could have a safe job.
Even with opposition from his family, he secretly took a course at The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He also confessed that he would lie to them and go for shooting. Recounting the experience of his first short film, Aamir tells that he had to stop the actress Shabana Azmi from reaching out to his parents to praise his acting mettle, as he knew that they won’t take it well.
Well, what we could take away from it is not matter who or where you are, you can never make external situations 100% conducive to your dreams. All you can do is give your best, and let other things roll out by themselves.
Sushant Singh Rajput
Being born and brought up in Patna, then moving to Delhi after school, and subsequently to Mumbai for building a career in acting, Sushant’s journey is one with full of twists and turns. From securing an AIR 7 in AIEEE to being a successful actor, the path for him hasn’t been plain sailing.
While still in college, Sushant enrolled for Shiamak Davar’s dance classes and soon started attending Barry John’s acting classes as well, where he found his passion for acting. It was a liberating experience for him, and he decided it was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. His father was in shock when he told him about his acting dream and the silent treatment began. They were obviously insecure about his future.
Rajput once said, “People told me that it’s very important to have money, recognition, and relevance. I had none, but my passion kept me going. Now I have all the three.” He dropped out of college and moved to Mumbai to pursue his acting career. His family also understood that this was something he really wanted to do.
He believes, most of the things taught at schools are of no use and that education must be structured around kids’ passion. According to Rajput, to make it big in movies one must be immune to all talk about them, stay curious, and easily adapt to change.
Don’t let your self-doubts and personal fears keep you from accomplishing what you really want in life! Fear clogs, faith liberates. Have faith and follow your gut; otherwise, you’ll never know. Don’t let the negativity in your thoughts slump you.
So, endorse your dreams and not conventionality. Although something could be holding you for a while, nothing can really stop you for long enough, except your lack of belief. Always remember, indispensably, that you have got to be a believer to be an achiever.
About the author: Rajat Srivastava is a cricket enthusiast. He loves reading books, especially biographies and autobiographies, and listening to old Hindi songs. You can find him here.
Photo by Xavier Sotomayor