Wow. (For a double wow, see the view count today!)
When I first watched it, my mind was in turmoil. I hit ‘REPLAY’ three more times, and each time, a wave of strong emotion ran through me.
Predominant was that surge of sheer adrenaline that makes you want to stand up and scream at the top of your lungs:
It’s the primal, atavistic rooting for the underdog, the irrational desire to see passion triumph over logic, the excitement that we live vicariously through seeing someone else go for that impossible dream… and win!
When the audience rose to give Susan a standing ovation, I didn’t just see a middle-aged 47-year old house-wife receiving accolades for a superlative on-stage performance.
I saw validation of the relentless persistence of a determined dreamer who dared to follow her heart.
I saw the collective cheering of humanity for someone who stared down a cynical universe, and spat in its eye.
And I saw MY FUTURE.
Yours too. If you want that.
Because Susan showed me – and you – that it is NEVER ‘too late’ to shoot for the stars.
When Simon asked, before she sang, about her ambition to be famous: “Why hasn’t it worked out so far, darling?”
“I’VE NEVER BEEN GIVEN THE CHANCE!”
Didn’t we ALL tell ourselves that at one time or another? And didn’t we then CHOOSE to shelve those dreams – forever?
And isn’t THIS our wake-up call?
Maybe you, like me, told yourself “But there are dreams that cannot be… And there are storms we cannot weather”
And then, perhaps, you buried that hope and desire and ambition that once burned in your soul deep inside you, brushed aside the restless spirit that rose up in stubborn rebellion from time to time, soothed the nagging voice that echoed in the silence of the night with the platitude,
“Later. Yes, later.”
Watching that video made me UNCOMFORTABLE. Because until now, I had an excuse. Now, I don’t.
The song Susan Boyle performed at BGT, ends with the words:
“Now life has killed the dream I dreamed”
My question to you is:
ARE YOU GOING TO LET IT?
Or are you going to fight FOR it to come true?
Lyrics of “I Dreamed a Dream”
There was a time, when men were kind
And their voices were soft
And their words were inviting
There was a time, when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time it all went wrong
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they turn your hope apart
As they turn your dreams to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my dreams with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he’d come to me
That we would live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from the hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
Every week, it seems, a new scandal of corruption erupts in the media – and rocks our belief system, our faith in everything.
The numbers grow bigger, more shocking, and frankly unbelievable. The 2G telecom scam cost the nation over Rs.100,000 crore. Hassan Ali is said to owe Rs.70,000 crore in income tax dues. And the Antrix-Devas S-band satellite scam will purportedly make the other two seem like peanuts!
To a nation whose populace struggles to wrap their heads around much smaller numbers, this creates mixed emotions.
Anger. Jealousy. Greed. And worse.
Many years ago, I strongly condemned the media’s tendency to focus on negative events at the cost of ignoring noble acts that inspire and energize.
INDIA TODAY’s editor-in-chief boldly published my letter to him as an editorial, along with a 1999 cover story that featured budding Indian heroes including Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, and Ramadorai (caveat: the now infamous Ramalinga Raju was in it too!)
More media needs to do that. But let’s stop dreaming that it’ll happen. Bad news sells. The badder the news, the bigger the sales.
That’s Economics 101 in the media world!
The danger is that our youth – yes, YOU – may grow fatalistic (“everything’s doomed to fail”), disillusioned (“everyone’s a crook”), and frustrated (“nothing’s worth doing”) by all that’s going on around us.
But it would be a sad mistake to believe that.
- Would it matter how many billions you have stashed away if the next quake hit near your home instead of along coastal northern Japan?
- Will it make the slightest difference how many pieces of property you own if a nuclear reactor core melts down within 30 kilometers of where you’re standing?
- Does how many fancy toys, cars, houses, jewelry and expensive playthings you have bought have any influence on what you can take along with you when you die?
So why do we obsess most of our lives about earning more, having more, collecting more?
It doesn’t take a huge fortune to touch and change someone’s life. It won’t cost you crores, or even lakhs, to enjoy the simple yet deep pleasures of life
A beautiful sunset, a relaxing walk on the sea shore, a smile on an innocent child’s face, a wrinkled grin across the face of an old man you helped across the street, a grateful look of the desperately poor and hungry orphan you fed a meal… those are pleasures to live for.
To look forward to.
You don’t need much to enjoy them. You only have to look for opportunities to serve.
Youth is ambitious and daring. It craves the grand gesture, the bold venture, the paradigm shifting initiative. And certainly such change can happen only when passionate people join hands and say “Enough… Let’s change this!”
Yet by far the biggest change comes from within. From inside each one of us. And it has little to do with wealth, possessions or any material thing.
It comes from an awakening of our souls.
Carl Sagan’s short movie, “A Pale Blue Dot” shifted my perspective significantly. I urge you to watch it. It’s barely 3 minutes long.
It will leave you a better, wiser, calmer person – one who lives and hopes and dreams in a different way than before.
And that’s important today.
There are times where words just don’t matter, where minds grow numb, where emotion itself lies suspended and reality seems unreal. Watching helplessly as Nature’s fury wrecked thriving towns in coastal Japan was one such experience.
Events like this force the realization upon us that everything, even life, is transient and fleeting. That we must stay grounded in gratitude for everything we have. That we must reach out to try and make a difference, no matter how small. That we are all part of a collective humanity, sharing a tenuous existence on a shared planet.
That we all matter.
That we all must love and care for each other.
We should act. Because we are one. No act of help is too small to have an impact, no contribution too worthless to be dismissed.
And that realization will give you all the meaning and purpose you crave for your future.
Ignore the rest. It barely matters. Really.