The Turning Point

A very renowned artist was being interviewed.


“Your fan following is growing exponentially. How does it feel to be in this place?”

“Well, I feel extremely grateful for these blessings. I am really fortunate that so many people shower so much of love on me.”

“But yours has not been a very smooth journey. You have always been very open about your struggle. From those days, can you recall a particular moment where you felt like you had gained enough confidence and were sure of yourself, after which things changed?”

“Umm.. That’s a great question. To be honest, it didn’t happen that way. There was no such defining moment where I found confidence. There were days back then, when I felt extremely insecure, embarrassed, anxious. At times, I felt really shitty about myself – inadequate, like a loser, like a complete failure. And interestingly, I feel all those things even now. I go on the other extreme too. Sometimes, I feel like I am on cloud 9, on top of the world, feel extremely stable, confident, graceful and grateful. I feel like I have it all and I know it all. And again, I felt all of these things back then too. I swing between these 2 extremes all the time.

And you know… actually, something did change. At some point, I became a lot more comfortable with the spectrum. Earlier, I used to be comfortable with only the so called “positive” feelings or emotions. And a lot of effort went into hiding, curbing, avoiding the other side or just wanting to get rid of the so called “negative” feelings. Now, I can acknowledge and embrace all my emotions. In fact, I feel grateful, as an artist, to have had these experiences. These are the source, the inspiration for a lot of my work.”

I want to be…

Reserved, ever-so-calm and meticulous Manoj is in accounts. Manoj is 38, his wife is a school teacher and his only son who is in 6th standard wins almost every olympiad.

On Monday, Manoj was attending a training session, with his team, where the trainer asked all the participants to introduce themselves and share something unique about them. Manoj introduced himself rather shyly. The trainer probed him to share something unique too.

Manoj smiled. With a twinkle in his eye, said “I want to be a professional music composer.”

Suddenly, the room burst into laughter.
A voice in the room said, “Manoj, you are going to be our next Finance head.”
Another one said, “Building castles in the air.”
Yet another one said, “It’s nothing but weekend hangover.”

Manoj turned red with embarrassment. He felt as if he had stripped off in front of so many people. He hardly spoke that day, everyone had fun at his expense the whole day.

The night was getting even more difficult to get through.
“Why did I even speak up?”
“Really stupid of me to have frivolous aspirations.”
“How am I going to face people tomorrow!”
His own thoughts were the demons in the room, not letting him sleep.

The next day wasn’t a usual one. There were some critical audits scheduled, so everyone was on their toes. Manoj got into high gear and before he knew it, the day was over. There was something unavoidable in the evening, a planned team celebration with the Head of Finance. Manoj got an award this year, and that was one of the reasons for this celebration. Everyone got into their cars and moved to the party venue.

As Manoj entered the venue, one of his colleagues said,
“Look who is here. The next big musician.”
Others started laughing.

Manoj, by now, knew that this wasn’t going to be easy. He just smiled. The party began, and all those who got awarded were asked to say something.
Manoj got to the stage when it was his turn.

“A very good evening everyone.” He began.
“This recognition means a lot to me.
I always wanted to qualify CA and be a great accountant.
This recognition marks the accomplishment of my dreams.
The dreams that I had when I was 15, the dreams that were never mocked at and never suppressed.

When we were younger, we were always asked what do you want to be when you grow up. Whether we said doctor, engineer or CA, we were always encouraged.
I didn’t know much about accounting when I decided to be a CA.
That didn’t matter.
Everyone knew I will learn with time.

Why don’t we ask each other the same question now?
What do you want be after 10 years!
We are more self-aware and worldly wise now.
We can make amazing choices that inspire us, and can motivate us everyday.
We have stopped dreaming and we don’t let people around us dream too.
Isn’t that just sad?
In 10 years’ frame, we can be anything we want to be.
We can try, fail, learn and grow.
My humble plea to everyone here is to never stop dreaming.
It’s the best thing in the world.
A dream is the best gift that you can give to yourself.
So, yes… I want to be a professional Music Composer in 10 years.
I will start working on it today, with what I am doing.
And however far it may seem, I will take a step a day and I am sure I will reach there.”

The room burst into claps.