“Life is tough” — that’s our favourite form of expression towards our existence these days. No?
Not beautiful, not wonderful, not hopeful. But tough. Tough because we can’t stop thinking about what’s coming our way. Tough because we spent the past 2-3 years in denial, in denial that we are growing up. In denial that we want to make it big but don’t know how. The confusing moments in our life soon became moments of denial. Those vague ideas about the “real” world are now so in-your-face that you’ve lost sight of the greatness you once dreamed of.
You feel safe having the job that makes you wear a blue ID card thing around your neck all day, and when no one is looking, you feel the tag choking you in your ill-ventilated cubicle. Then you see the likes of Sarfaraz Khan standing tall with the big boys — a teenager who’s making it in the world of cricket. You realize that he was nine years old when IPL started. He made it. And then you ask yourself —
Where did you go wrong? When did your passion die?
You find an old word doc dumped in your hard-drive. Your finger twitches as you open it, and you find a half-written love story that was your rebound project after you broke up. You squint at the words. The memory of the relationship seems silly now but the words spring out of the page and punch you in the face. They’re powerful. You’re surprised that you could feel that strongly about something, that you had clarity and keen intent.
Today, “frenzy” is the speed with which you can close your Facebook tab when you see your manager in the distance; “willingness” is clicking on the share-button; “aggression” is a hash-tag. Happiness stays in your bank account for the first half of the month before well-deserved weekends take it all away. You have a job, but there is no love that you can profess to it.
Your milestones have been “Beta, engineering karo. Settle ho jaoge,” and “Beta, shaadi karo. Settle ho jaoge.” But when did anyone in this age want to settle for anything? Settle for love, settle for a job, settle for a house. Settle for a life. Basically.
24. It’s a confusing age isn’t it? You could call yourself “young”, tell yourself that you still have time. But a year from now, you’ll be on the other side of your twenties. What are you saving the panic for?
You have reached the point where you do something because you’re afraid, or you do something because there’s nothing to be scared about. But passion? Zero.
You say life is tough but you don’t say life is too short and you still have to think of a way of being remembered after you’re dead. You say “I’m too worked up” and you don’t realize in the same sentence that you’re selling your talent instead of using it in your advantage. You spend most days at home because by the time you come back from office, you’re too tired to do anything.
You’ve spent the last two years doing this and now, you’re sitting by the window looking at the dark sky thinking, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?”. This is the best and the worst time to question your existence. If you don’t see meaning, write your own. If you don’t want to, then fine, continue existing.
Working for yourself versus working your ass off to make someone else richer — You know you’d always choose the former because it’s one life. The choice is yours. You either make a name and die or you lose yourself in making someone else’s name and die, what’s the obvious choice? The problem is you stopped thinking. It’s scary, it’s super frigging scary to work for yourself.
You need an idea and then you need people to believe in it.
You’re at an age where you can make it or break it. It’s better to break it and then make it because you learn from that. It’s stressful but it’s sweet. You’ll never know what it feels like to build a baby that’s not human and crying for it like you actually gave birth to it, if you don’t stand up right now.
You know you always wanted to be your own boss, you know you’re full of innovative ideas, you also know the wackiest ideas are the best ideas in this world. Then why resist? What’s the worst that can happen when you have youth on your side? You’ll fall but you have no responsibilities. You don’t have kids to take care of yet. If you don’t fall, how will you ever learn how to walk? How will you ever know you could or couldn’t have ever made it big? Failing is better than regretting.
Stop reading this for a second, look around, see your colleagues going mad on the computer over something that’s not even theirs. Look at them, banging their heads over something that can never be theirs. They are comfortable. Good. But you are not. You were never.
You don’t get holidays but you get contentment. You’re constantly working but you earn every outing. You don’t have a fixed salary but all the revenue you make out of your idea is solely yours. You make it big or keep trying to make it big, the point is you’re adding value to your life. Will you let the fear of failure stop you? Or will you fail now, when you’re still 24, and only become better?Quit your job today. Find out what you care about. Be broke. Dive into the sea. Make friends with strangers. Smile at a street urchin. Paint. Scream till you make music. Run till you dance. Look up till you fly. Dig deeper, rake the soil with your fingers, find your love for Mother Earth. Plant a seedling, an idea, your own heart- watch it grow with your sweat and toil and worry and moments of genius.
Because when you’re in love, time and money don’t matter. Because like your one and only lover, it will keep you up all night, working all Sunday, and your heart will swell with happiness. You love what you’re doing, you care, and you have a cause.
You can make that U-turn now, and you can do it with grace and patience. Or you can also do it with violence. Because this is your claim to a life, to live like a trail-blazer, to be the rebel tattoo in the world’s naked bottom — other people can find something cushy to sit on when you find your way into history, legend, and children’s story books.
There is a guitar gathering dust, a deflated basketball, an incomplete MS-Office 2003 doc, broken oil pastels, forgotten dreams, dysfunctional imagination — all of which are in some corner of your over-worked heart, but you couldn’t care enough to give them as much attention as you would give to an unpaid bill. You pay tax to have a good time but you won’t give real happiness a second chance.
You weren’t born to be tamed into comfort, convenience and normalcy. Anybody can be ordinary, anybody can stand in the middle of the population bell curve and believe that the world is made of people like themselves. But you — you are different. The question is if you want to continue letting your voice fade into the background.
Where is your sonorance, your lungs full of air, breathed in from the summit of your own best self?
It is a great time to be a young Indian. 65% of the country’s population is under the age of 35. How long will it be before we become a country of old people? And what stories are we going to tell our grandchildren ?
You could be a radical, a feminist, a communist, or any idealist. But when are you going to be yourself? The time is now. Close your eyes, let your heart race, listen to your pulse drum in your ears.
Now do it.Author’s Note:I failed and I won. “They” told me not to do it but “they” were never as strong as the voice in my heart. I was 24 when I started up. Trust me, there is no better age to be. People will tell you that you cannot do it. It’s amazing when you prove the naysayers wrong. I’m a very successful person today, if not for you, for myself. I’m somebody you hear about every now and then or not. But the point is, I tried and I have no regrets and that’s the point. Go seize the world, my friend! Because trust me, you can.Editor’s Note:It’s easy to accept your fate, it’s harder to scream your lungs out in protest. Let’s share this story, because it’s #NotTooLate.