Monday, July 25, 2016

A Consequence of Dreams

It was the enormity of his dreams that terrified me. And why would it not? He was aiming for the highest of the branches - higher than even the best of us could achieve.

I look into his eyes, they are burning with excitement. I see stars shining in them. His optimism is heart-breaking. No one has done this before, he says. In his eyes, he is a winner already.

I've been there. So I know.

But what I know about him makes me cautious.

I know oh, so well, the path is long and the journey is not easy. Years would pass before we reach anywhere worth mention. But if the journey has to begin, one has to first get into the vehicle. Or start walking. Take baby steps. It is easy to conjure dreams; it takes a great deal of effort to make them come true. The struggle is romantic only in stories or in movies. Or in retrospective; after you've made your mark.

He is a dreamer, always has been. But he forgets the hard work that has to go with it. He makes excuses.

True, some of our dreams are absurd. They have to be. But what makes them remotely possible is the effort that we are willing to put into it.

Do I tell him that his dreams are too fantastic? Do I advise him to be more practical, and take one step at a time? Do I warn him about the Rejections he is going to face?

Will that destroy his motivation? Was that even the right thing to say? Or do I encourage him to keep his eyes on the distant goal so that he can work towards it? No one can ever tell which way a creative person will swing on the face of criticism. That, I know very well too.

Who was I to judge or advise? Not so long ago, I myself, bursting with excitement at my first 'success', was confronted with the ridicule, "Have you nothing better to do?"

I took weeks to recover.

Crushing dreams is a simple enough job. A flick of the finger, a snap, a mocking laugh, an unkind word - sometimes these are all it takes. It is up to the dreamer to find the strength to shake it off, rise from the ashes of despair, pick up the tools again and fight the constant fear of failure. And display the confidence that one does not feel.

Weighing everything in mind, taking the cautious route, I ask: Have you started working on it?
My heart sinks at his answer.
No, he says. But one of these days, I will.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rejection is a frightful thing, people.

It is devastating enough when it is unexpected. But even when you know it’s coming, in the most pessimistic depths of your heart, when it comes, when the person who holds your fortunes in his hand (whether he knows it or not) delivers the bad news – brutally or kindly or subtly, it does not matter - you are jolted out of your very existence.

You may say, for appearances’ sake, that ‘I tried and I failed; but at least I tried.’ Or that ‘failure is a stepping stone to success.’ Or that some great scientist ‘had failed nine thousand times before he discovered the light bulb’. You utter all that crap (and then some) that you hear daily. None of it helps. The fact of the matter is that you’re rejected. To add insult to injury, you hear that someone else was selected. Why was she chosen whereas I was not?

Was I not ‘hard-working‘a good learner’, ‘dedicated’, ‘promising’? Was I not good enough?

As Owen Wilson says when Reese Witherspoon leaves him for someone else (and describes Owen as a ‘great, funny, amazing guy’), “all the hot words.” 

Rejection is rejection, however eloquently it is delivered.

The blow doesn’t land right away, though. The numbness stays for a while. By then you start believing that you are immune to it, that you have taken it so well despite it being so inhuman and unfair. Then it hits, like thunder gradually following lightning. Much of the beating is taken by your self-confidence.

Once it happens, it is hard to shake it off. It just stays with you forever. Even when some day, you have found your own little successes.

Monday, July 4, 2016


Our paths have crossed, knowing, unknowing,
Across the globe, coming and going.
Sometimes deliberate, sometimes not,
I refuse to see how far we're apart.

You know my fear - I fear you've moved on.
Am I too stubborn to accept you've gone?
Of my many flaws, it's not strength I lack-
I am still hatching plots to win you back.

One thing I'm sure of: I've no regrets, none.
Though our journey wasn't strewn with fun,
Call me proud, but I'm sorry for nothing
It was all done with a great deal of thinking.

Seems strange to me that I am still here, waiting
Trying to conjure some sense for my being.
Time marches on, even nature is new,
Seasons have changed, I'm still waiting for you.