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Monday, 8 February 2016

EMBARKING ON A JOURNEY TOWARDS LIFE'S DREAMS: ON FINDING MY WAY...

Life is learning game...at one point you are on a high, feeling on the top of the world and then at another, you are at the lowest ebbs of your life. However I have not let such situations get the better of me or deter my spirits. Over the years I have devised a mantra on how to deal with the latter i.e. coping with my failures, limitations, disappointments etc. as I find my answers to them from the "stars".

Confused? Quite an unlikely place to draw inspiration from, isn't it? 

When I am low, sad and disappointed,then on a quiet starry night I go to the terrace of my house and gaze at the stars. Lost in my thoughts I ask God, does every star have an identity of its own? Or does it get lost somewhere in the constellation? And what about me? Am I too a star that's lost somewhere in the crowd as well? And then I get the answer when I hear my inner voice saying, "Child,look at the sky and behold, no stars are overlapped with one another. Each one has a distinct place and space of their own as they appear and shine the night away to their glory. And if by day they are not seen, it doesn't mean that they don't exist. They do, they of course do! Even the cloud cover in the night sky cannot diminish their power and purpose in the universe."

Thus as I navigate my way on a journey called "life", I always remember this conversation with God that I had about the stars and derive the courage and strength to conquer my fears and doubts as I march onward to conquer my dreams. I always affirm that I too am a shining star with a purpose, objective and reason that God has put me here to fulfill. 

Being the only child of my parents, the first time I learned to navigate my way towards life was when I boldly made a move to pursue my Master's degree in Mumbai. After having led a quiet idyllic life in the serenity of Chandigarh and in the loving company of my parents,it was a tough decision to make.But I had resolved to take the reins of my life into my hands because I wanted to be accountable to myself for the decisions I made rather than blame my loved ones for their failures.

Thus began the uphill task of convincing my parents to let me go. It is not easy for any parent to let their only child go and that too a daughter particularly in a city as Mumbai where films largely influence the minds in presenting a skewed image of the city! 

Finally, somehow I did manage to convince them about my passion in this field and perhaps that's when they somewhere understood my inner predicament as well as the fact that indeed there were better prospects in Mass Media in an urban metropolis as Mumbai than in a small city as Chandigarh. 

That was the first time when I felt that I had the steering wheel of my life in my hands. But having a steering wheel alone does not guarantee you the right direction unless you have the vision to see the road ahead where none exist and the determination to find the way even if you are lost. And exercising caution is of the utmost importance for one wrong turn could land you up elsewhere!

Image Source: edu.ndh.vn
And that's the problem I faced at the start. I very well knew what I wanted to study but I had no clue on how two years of my life in this city would shape up to be! For starters I wasn't even familiar with the city be it the roads, places, people and my surroundings. Thus I had to pave the road ahead for myself. Some of my family friends were kind and gracious enough in guiding me when asked for help.But for starters,I coped very well with the situation on my own. Thanks to the internet and cybercafes (smartphones were uncommon and were not as smart as they are now back then!) and my affable nature that I could make my way into the heart of this city. 

On my academic front, while keeping my focus on the lectures and on-field assignments,I realized that I was no longer that shy, quiet and aloof person...I had gradually opened up.I could now strike a conversation with a person if I needed to get some information or interview them for my assignments; that was a remarkable change I saw in myself considering that at one point of time in my life I would shudder at the thought of even approaching them! 

By the time two years were up, I had not only secured a distinction in my Masters degree program but the silver lining here was that I had learnt the ropes of the city quite well. Though the road ahead of me was vivid where at every juncture I kept asking myself - "What next?" However I kept moving forward without looking back.

This was the first chapter of my life where I learned to navigate my way cautiously towards realizing my purpose and passion.

At yet another point of my life,I found myself at the cross roads of my career when I took the risk of quitting my job as I began to feel stagnant and wasted. I wanted to do my own thing and create my own stuff. But the atmosphere at work stifled me. There was this urge to make something as my creative instincts took over and the monetary perks of my job became secondary. Two years of it and I finally decided to put down my papers. I had taken the plunge. I was on my own. Once again I was looking for a direction, a sign that would make me sit up and believe that I had done the right thing.

Well, it was months before I got the answer to them in the form of a competition! Yes...it was a competition! 

One day when I was browsing through the social media channels,I came across a short film competition announced by the Ministry of External Affairs in India which was underway. 

I loved the brief of this campaign but I found myself lacking on the technical front vis-a-vis the equipment. Though we were allowed to use mobile phones and digital cameras, but I did not have one back then. So, my dad decided to gift me an affordable low-end digital camera to ensure that I took part in this project. 

Despite many limitations on board, we pieced together this beautiful symphony of music, images, graphics, videos and audio to make it look like one harmonious orchestra - a three minutes short film which was about the genius of Rock Garden by Padma Shri Nek Chand, who conceptualized a garden using non biodegradable and industrial waste! [You can watch the film by clicking here]

Since it was a global video competition with many fine entries summing up the essence of India in less than three minutes,I knew that I nowhere stood a chance among them. Yet,I was upbeat about my participation and my spirit pepped up at the very thought that I was competing in the capacity of an individual film maker in a Global Video challenge! Once the submission deadline was closed,I was relaxed (yet nervous though!) as I shifted focus towards my writing and blogging skills.



The day and hour finally arrived when the top ten films which had managed to make the cut in the competition were announced. And lo, my film was one of them!! My joy knew no bounds. Now the ten of us had to garner maximum votes across social media channels to compete for the top prizes. Though my social media skills were poor back then, but I gave it my best shot. 

Although I never won the top honors due to my shortcomings (which I have worked on over the years), but making it among the top ten itself gave me a new high. And the certificate I received from the Ministry for being the finalist in this competition is what I cherish and treasure to this date. 

From this experience I understood the meaning of taking the initiative towards doing something rather than just contemplating about it. I may have lost the war to win the top spot but I had won a battle; a battle where I had found a sense of direction to life. This was yet another chapter of my life that had a positive impact on me in boosting my morale and spirits.

And thus, these chapters were just the beginning of many such fantastic rides of my life to come!

Regards,
Sonaal

[My article delves around different situations and events of my life based and in the context of the keywords - Fantastico, Impact, Peppy, Music and Navigation]

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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