It was the end of the semester, emotions were at an all time high, so were we. Four years had sailed by, and it was probably the last week we would all be together, ever. Life was about to knock on our doors and naturally, everyone was going crazy. They were all trying to etch that week permanently in their memories— matching tattoos, wall graffitis, signed t-shirts and farewell parties, the campus was brimming with a feeling of the strongest attachment.
Two boys from my hostels had a special idea to immortalise the last few days. They went around the hostel, visiting the rooms of friends at two in the morning, drunk and armed with a camera, taking interviews and filming them. So when these guys came to my room, I liked the idea and agreed to be a part of it. We found a nice spot and the ‘interview’ started. Although I was a bit drowsy, the questions were fairly easy so I did not have to think too hard. But then this one question jolted my mind to life: “Do you think that when it comes to non-conventional career choices like writing, photography and music, people here are at a disadvantage?”
Here? — as someone hailing from a small hill station in Sikkim, I've heard this being said in conversations hundreds of times; not always as a question, but mostly as a declaration of our misery and backwardness. I've heard numerous lectures from friends and family about how growing up in a small town hampered their chance at making it big as writers or musicians or painters. Most of those times, I'd just smile and nod, for lack of a better reaction.
Honestly, the statement might have been true about two decades ago. But if you still use it today, you are just being absurd. All the information, knowledge, exposure, experience, mentors we could ever need can be accessed in the most structured way just at the touch of a few buttons today. But then the other thing in great ample is our undermining attitude towards ourselves. If a young kid in my town says that she wants to become a painter, all she'll hear about is how impossible it is, how foolish she is and how predestined her failure is, all bundled together as a gift of acceptance.
In his Ted talk, Usman Riaz talks about accelerated learning through the media around us, and how he taught himself to masterfully play the guitar by just watching tutorials on YouTube. It really is that easy. Of course, the hard work you put in counts the most, but that's on you. You can’t expect the benefit of the doubt unless you show that you have what it takes. There are tons of singers and musicians who started out by just making covers of popular songs on YouTube and from there, they shot to stardom. Tori Kelly. The fifth harmony. Boyce Avenue. Vidya Iyer. Other websites like Wordpress and tumblr have made it easy for people to start fashion blogs or cooking blogs or practice and showcase writing in general. And don’t worry, remember, people are always looking for greater talent, that is never going to stop; so for anyone who is ready to grind, sky is the limit.
We may crib about our misfortune of being born in the wrong place, sometimes with weak financial conditions, but the fact is most of us are hardly ready to do anything about it. We use our phones for nothing other than taking selfies, retaking them, adding the correct filters, typing the perfect hashtags, adding locations and uploading these for bunch of uninterested-reactions: approvals that get us nowhere.
Of course, like all things, its easier said than done, but the fact remains that good things never come easy and you have got to start somewhere. As was said, life has no limitations except for the ones we make.
Sketch By: Mrinal Kumar