Last Monday, my father and I had a conversation about people struggling to chase their dreams. ‘Opportunities are created, not handed.’ But exactly how true is that statement if some of us don’t even get a shot at creating an opportunity?
On Tuesday, I went to see a movie with my friend. I’ll admit – I cry at movies. But surprisingly, I didn’t cry during this movie, I cried an hour after I reached home. The movie was called Jeeva. The story of a boy who dares to dream; the typical parent that says he can’t do it and a society that thrashes him for trying. As it was a movie, there were way too many nice people but that isn’t the case for everyone.
I am privileged to have parents that sent me to school. I am privileged to have parents that don’t depend on my earnings to put food on the plate. I am blessed to have parents that said “Ok. You can chase your dream. If you fall, know I’ll pick you up and push you forward again.” So many would kill for this life..
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni” – MSD – Captain of the Indian Cricket Team. I say his name with pride because I love him as a player. But there is a kid in my city, about 11-12 years old. When you ask him to say that name he will say it the way we say our deity’s name. With respect, energy and power. Because the man that is nothing but a cricket player in my eyes is that little kid’s idol. MSD is everything that kid aspires to be. MSD is the reason that kid wakes up at 5a.m and rushes to the beach with a bat in his hand to play the game he hopes to one day play for a living. MSD is the man that kid hopes to one day be.
And I don’t want to be the one to tell him that the dream he dares to dream of every night, the passion he feels when he lifts that bat, the joy he feels when playing – it’s not going to last forever. Because there will come a day in his life when he will stand in front of his parents and say – “I don’t want to get a job. I want to be a cricketer. This is my dream.” and his “practical” and “logical” parents will tell him “That is the most ridiculous thing we have ever heard !”
“But I want to be like MS Dhoni !”
“You’re not MS Dhoni. You go get a job and make a living for yourself. Be practical.”
“This is what makes me happy.”
“Happiness. You think if I’d chosen to be ‘happy’ you would have had the opportunity to stand here and argue with me? Go to those placement interviews. Get a job.”
His parents are not wrong. Every parent across the world struggles to raise a kid. To put them through school and university. To get their feet on the ground and have them move forward. It is never easy to watch your child make a career choice that might end in utter disaster. But that is the problem.
I meet a lot of people. When they tell me what they do for a living, I always ask – Is this what you want to be doing? The answer is always yes. So I ask again, “But if you could turn back time, you’re 19. You can pick any career you want to. Nobody depends on you. Is this what you would want to be doing?” I watch that person squirm and ask to talk about something else or tell me “It’s irrelevant to be talking about now.” But why does the next person not have the right to chase his dream?
Parents are taught to ‘let go’ of their kids after a certain age. ‘They can take care of themselves now. It’s ok to let go.’ I have watched my parents struggle with the concept. To them I will always be their little girl. But they took the chance.
I am not the next JK Rowling. I am not writing the next New York Times bestseller. But I know. I know the joy of sitting in a class and studying exactly what I wanted to. I know the joy of being able to excel in it because I loved it so much. I know the pain, the sleepless nights, the non-stop tears and the broken heart when I had to make the decision to drop out and give up on something I loved. And today, I know the peacefulness I feel deep inside me every time I sit in front of this computer and begin to type. I know the joy and the emotions in me when I write the title to this post because it may not be a publishing house, but I at least have a platform to do what I love.
One of my favorite quotes in life – “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I’m fully aware that people might be suicidal when their dreams crash. Not everyone is strong inside. And I don’t have an answer when someone asks me “What if I let him/her do what they want and find them used and dead?” But I want you to take one second to think to yourself, “What if they came out with flying colors?” Precautionary behavior is never wrong, but telling them they can never make it, is.
That kid’s parents are not wrong. But they’re not right. He is not MSD. He will never be. But you know what they failed to think of? Yes he might fail, miserably. Or ten years later there will be a writer sitting on her bed in tears as she writes..
There is this kid in my city, about 11-12 years old. When you ask him to say the name, he will say it with respect, energy and power because.. that man, that man whose parents let him chase his dreams, that man is everything this kid aspires to be..
“Every child has a dream and every dream deserves a chance”