“Everybody keeps talking about ‘hustle’ these days. But, tell me honestly, how many people do you know personally, who’d rather face all the hurdles and dare challenge the norms of the society in the name of hustling? Okay, now let’s leave others for a moment and just talk about you. Would you do it? Would you dare to give away all the comfort you have in the present hoping that someday you might actually realize your dreams? Are you brave and stupid enough to truly believe in an impossible dream that seems anything but foolish to the rest of the world? I mean, what guarantee do you have of ending up successful?
You know, when I ask these questions to most people, they readily back off. And this shows their lack of belief in themselves and their dreams. These people, I tell you, are not meant to be great. They’d rather merely exist while they can without actually doing much and then just die. That’s what their life is like.
Nonetheless, I do scarcely come across some really mad people. People who are crazy about their dreams and are even ready to sacrifice themselves if the need be to pursue those dreams. They always have a typical confidence bound to themselves. And more often than not have I witnessed these people become the ones we praise and idolize. Now, the funny thing about them is, they tend to fail a lot. But, you know what? It’s not merely the confidence or the belief they have that makes them great. It’s their will to give one more shot, to walk one more mile and to get up one more time, even when they fall really hard that makes them successful. So, if you really want to be like them, you’ve got to take the hard road. And if you can force yourself to walk all the way down that road, you’ll find a golden key to unlock your dreams. But, beware, the journey to the end will not be an easy one.”
I read this excerpt from one of the interviews of Rizwan Ahmed (my favourite singer) on my flight back home. It’s been said that sometimes even a single word can ignite the spark of inspiration within a person and I’d read so many of those magic words all at once. So, basically, it should not be tough for you to visualize the kind of fire that was enraging within me.
My name is Divija Ranganath, and I’m about to share with you the story of a weird encounter that changed my entire perception of life forever. The year was 2013, and I had been placed in TCS post completing my graduation from Annamalai University. I being placed within such a reputed organization and that too with one of the highest packages, made my parents really proud. They were surprised and happy at the same time. And, it was totally normal of them to react that way. However, I didn’t feel the same way. I mean, I always knew it would come down to this at some point, but I wasn’t prepared for it to happen so soon. Settling up for a day job was not my cup of tea, and now I had to do just that. Don’t take me wrong, I absolutely have no prejudices against the people with day jobs, just that I didn’t see myself fitting right into one of them. For me, an exciting and fulfilling career had always been that of a vocalist. I never dreamt of getting into playback or stuff. Instead, simply being able to pursue a career as a solo vocalist could have made me the happiest person on the planet. But, being raised as the only girl child in a conventional Tamil family, you do not get the liberty to decide a lot of things about your life, career being one of them. So, there was not much of a choice left for me other than to just put all my efforts on getting good grades and eventually acquiring a day job that paid well.
I went on to pursue the job and took off for Kolkata anyway. The first few months were easy on me. Life was more like a clockwork regime. And, since I’d always been a quick learner, it barely took me a week’s time to get indulged in the daily work routine. I’d wake up early in the morning and commute almost 15 km to get to my office. Days at the office were mostly entangled around analyzing clients’ projects and sometimes even meeting them personally. I’d leave the office by 6 in the evening and again travel back 15 km to my apartment. Everything seemed to move at a fast pace, and I barely had any time or energy for that matter to think about anything else other than my work. However, by the end of the fifth month, I’d already grown accustomed to my daily office-home chores and could focus on other things happening around me as well. Sometimes, I’d cross a teenager with a guitar on his back happily talking to his friends about his last performance. At others, I’d find myself staring at some hoarding of an upcoming concert with a childlike gaze. And then there were times when I’d hum to the songs being played on the cab’s radio. And it did not take me long enough to realize that irrespective of all the respect, admiration and definitely the handsome salary that my current job offered, I was still not content. Every time I had to open up my computer, I felt being strangled. Every time I had to commute in a cab full of colleagues, I felt lonelier. And every time my fingers hit the keys on my computer, it felt as if they were out to sting me. In short, I was well acquainted with the fact that this day job was not at all meant for me. I even tried to man up (well, you know what I mean right?) twice and type a resignation but failed miserably. I’d had more clarifications about the ways in which I could fail than succeed both the times, and this hindered me from making the bold move.
It was in the mid of September 2013 when I broke down completely. I just couldn’t take it anymore. So, I finally decided to quit my job and pursue the dream of becoming a professional vocalist. I had made up my mind this time, and all I needed was just an omen, an indication that my decision was right. Even the slightest of hints would have done. And that is precisely when I found myself reading the excerpt of Rizwan Ahmed on a flight to Chennai. It was all that I needed. It literally gave me wings, the courage to take a stand and fight for my dreams.
So, I decided to take a little nap and prepare myself to face my parents…