What is life without that singular pivotal moment that one believes has changed the entire perception with which they look at life? Sometimes I wonder what life would be if you hadn’t gotten that one defining moment. What if Ram Charan never got to do Rangasthalam? The world would’ve continued to look at him like a flake devoid of talent and complexity that define his profession. That one turning point, where you make a decision that makes the making of every other decision in your life one little bit easier. Mind you, this does not happen because life had become kinder to you but since the weight to succeed has been lifted off of your shoulders now that people have seen what you are truly capable of to not mistake your talents for dumb luck.
Sometimes these points do make sense. They make up for great stories to be narrated to the successive generation. They make one feel that the entire journey which had led to this one extremely poignant and specific point is worth the time and effort. What happens in the absence of this point? In the absence of success?
Fathers working a little harder with each passing day for their kids to have a slightly better life than they did is not considered success but a mandatory fulfilment of their social role, mothers taking an extra moment from their busy lives to counsel their kid on their most recent worry from school, the composition of a perfect poem, the sacrificing of the last piece of pie because someone else from the family likes it more, skipping a class to be there for a friend, taking a class to feel better about yourself, celebrating a friend’s victory with zero jealousy and cooking a non-burnt dinner after eight tries are all very important and celebration worthy victories.
Lamentably, to us victory is defined by exception. Because at the end of the day, life is all about remembering and being remembered. The rest is oblivion.
Victory is Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, who have bagged more money than they could ever sit down to count. Victory is monetary as character is optional. Monetary success makes you the reference point of success and the person, parents want their teens to aspire to become.
On a little side note, neither Zuckerberg nor Musk would’ve been able to make half that money had they not exploited their customers or their work force or both. Monetary success, when those around you who had helped you climb the ladder are unable to grab a share of it is useless.
There are so many pivotal points in your life that go by without notice or attention from anyone but yourself because it is not a big enough success, but who ever defined success till now never got it right. Success is very very simple. It needs no external validation or celebration from anyone that doesn’t understand the intricacies that encompass the art of being you. Your idea of success is defined by societal standards and you let yourself get weighed down by it. Maybe you are meant for things that change our understanding of the entire cosmos, or more but if you beat yourself up about failing a certain mathematics paper and disappointing your parents you are never going to get there. Success doesn’t come in you feeling sorry for yourself or when others feel proud of you. It starts and ends with you and that is the only and only way it would ever make sense; when it is completely devoid of any one else’s vision or influence.
I know a man who was once insulted by his friends for using the wrong tense to have bought half a shelf of books to master that language not to gloat in front of anyone else but because he realised that he needed that to stop feeling sorry for himself. For me, this man’s victory is not not moping in self-pity and overcoming it but in never making anyone around him feel bad for something they did or did not know. He discovered that if you fiercely believe in the goodness and purity of someone, that if you, with every ounce of will and valour in you believe that they are better than what they are now, one day they will mould themselves to be worthy of the way you are treating them. The toughest part is to never stop believing even when the ones you believe in challenge you and make it so much harder for you to trust them. And he never stopped, and that man is my dad. He is great at many things but to me he will always be the father and man I write stories and poems about because he would die in the way of letting us know how much he believes in us, no matter what new calamity we bring onto him at four in the morning. That to me is success. Holding onto your character and to your way of life even during a catastrophe is success. Helping others pave their way to their own success story by not minding being in the backlight also is. Success cannot be defined and it never should be as we are all not made for the same destination no matter what the society forces us to believe. Humans are meant for great things and not all great things are monetary or bring you fame. One day when you leave running behind this idea of success, you will find your star-dipped mornings, sun drenched energies and days that feel like poetry.
My father can look up and say he had inspired at least one person in his life to live better and that is success and one day if I get things right, I might be able to pay him back by doing the same thing for someone else. If you change for success, when you do get it you might not recognise the person it is being bestowed upon. You could be someone else for success but then who would be you? You could be someone else but who would be you?