I remember meeting this guy when I moved in to Delhi. He had also left his job at a big company to pursue music, just like I had.
“Buddy, you have talent, and I have no advice to give to you whatsoever but this: there’ll be times when you won’t have work. Make sure you handle yourself well then.”
His statement didn’t seem like much of a challenge. But now when this is one of those times for me, I do realize what he meant. It’s hard to keep up your spirits in such times. You start feeling a lot of negativity and everything around you seems chaotic. While all that a struggling artist needs today is ‘one big shot’, he already has a slew of rejections lined up before he gets one. And then you have this negativity.
Well, when you have a lot of free time, your mind wanders. You go through a lot of slow realizations. These last few weeks, I’ve come to an understanding of how empty and unhappy people are from inside. There’s this cliché that sums it up perfectly: everyone’s face has a big smile, so that their teeth can zip up their empty hearts.
There’s a question that Greg Roberts asks in Shantaram.
“You have happiness right in front of you, and you know that it might leave you in pain later. Would you still pursue it?”
A lot of us would not. That is because we are so scared of pain, that we’d reject all the happiness in the world just to avoid feeling pain.
A week back, I had an appointment with a doctor. I was in the waiting room and sitting next to a lady with a two-year old kid sitting on her lap. There was a cute baby girl, around 3 years old, slowly walking towards the kid with a candy in hand. She had a smile on her face. I sensed she wanted to meet the kid and offer him the candy. When the kid saw her, his face also brightened up. It was a very sweet scene. Both the kids wanted to meet and exchange sweets. The smiles on their innocent faces compelled me to keep watching them with a lot of expectation.
I so wanted them to meet.
The scene was interrupted by a voice.
“Come here baby, come to Ma! Look, Daddy’s phone’s got a new ringtone. Come here and I’ll give you the phone.”
And here, the lady sitting beside me started talking to her 2-year old kid.
“No! Bad manners! You have your own chocolates. There is nothing that Mommy can’t get you. We don’t take things from strangers!”
We, the so-called experienced and independent grown-ups, are responsible for putting all sorts of crap into their heads. You give your kid a smartphone because you can’t put in the effort of handling her, and when your kid becomes a gizmo-addict, you blame technology and ‘the generation’.
People never want to be judged for their own actions, but they always judge others for theirs. A lot of people always tell me that I don’t look like a musician, because they have trouble digesting the fact that a tall guy with a fat tummy, wearing round glasses can also be a musician. In our country, people will believe a piece of paper more than what they hear or what they see. They would much rather read certificates that say I’m a musician than actually hear me play. This, despite knowing that I could fake certificates quite easily, but I couldn’t fake an actual demonstrable skill. And then they say that we’re following these rules since years.
The human mind craves for change, and yet paradoxically, CHANGE is the one thing it dreads. You’d rather spend all your life cursing the monotony, than take a step and see what’s on the other side of your fear. If you want a change for the better, it’s only you that has to initiate it. Remember that if the graph of your heart is a straight line, it means you’re dead.
You say that you’ve fought the entire world yourself and that you’ve experienced everything about truths and realities of life and compromises. And then you say your life could have been better. Let me tell you truth was the point where you stopped believing, reality was the line where you gave up, and compromise was a sheet you always used to cover your cowardliness with.
Yes, there is pain in this world; there are some wishes unfulfilled, some dreams unpursued, and some compromises unwanted. But ultimately, your life is a reflection of your own choices, and so it cannot be bad, right? If it’s not under your control, or if you don’t have the guts to fill all the voids in your life, you might as well leave it up to fate and move on to make your present count. And most importantly, have the courage to change, at-least your own life, when you know that you’re desperate for it.