Amitabh did not care about what people would say and decided to follow his dream to enter the world of films. I remember this story that senior manager in a company told me when the interview hopped from the tenets of sales and marketing to my wanting to write a novel.
He told me that at one stage Amitabh Bachchan too wanted to leave his sales job and get into films. Lots of his friends and relatives laughed as they thought he hardly had the traits that the dominating decision-makers of our filmi duniya would approve.
‘You wouldn’t click,’ they dissuaded.
He insisted, ‘I will.’ And he did. Despite popular opinion thrust on him. Despite all the warnings and admonishing. Despite entreaties not to leave a well-paying sales job. Amitabh knew that the freedom to decide his own course of action was his responsibility and this is precisely what he did. Years back.
And now this is precisely what he recommends.
Everyone is talking about the latest Bollywood news revolving around Amitabh Bachchan’s Letter To Navya Naveli And Aaradhya and how the contents of this letter are ‘a Must-Read For Everyone’. The letter is simple enough and pushes reasonable decision-making that asserts itself without getting subdued or influenced by popular opinion that the majority may be erringly following. He writes that it is fair not to ‘let anyone’s opinion of who you should be friends with, dictate who you will be friends with. Don’t get married for any other reason other than you want to get married. People will talk. They shall say some terrible things. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone. Never ever worry about – What will people say! At the end of the day, you are the only one who will face the consequences of your actions, so don’t let other people make your decisions for you.’
Freedom is all about connecting to what is right and having the courage to say NO. He is the one who once said: ‘One of the most difficult and exasperating word to utter has perhaps the easiest utterance: NO!’ This is precisely the sort of emotive appeal of his letter to ‘all the grand-daughters of India’ as he tweeted a few days back. In fact, his tweet of 04 September reinforces his belief that to do is what matters. The tweet reads: ‘do it yourself … others will follow’. It is vital to be able to say YES to what the heart insists on doing. It is as vital to be able to say NO to what the heart doesn’t agree to despite the ruckus that others around you may create.
Listen to your heart… these four words are serious about what they are recommending because this is all about freedom. We do have the freedom to choose not just what we wish to wear or eat or say… but also the way we’d like to interact with time and life. It is all about our options and how sanely we choose to exercise this choice. It is all about learning the basics of responsible action on our own and without being chaperoned into a pattern of living decided by the society. So what if my opinion is recommending a change from the conventional way of doing something… isn’t change the only constant in life?
A couple of days back I happened to ask Narain, a daily-wager who was in the house-painting team, ‘What do you think of freedom?’ He did not stop his work and went on to give his definition of ‘azadi’ or freedom which was all about exercising his choice responsibly without being unduly influenced by the prevailing thoughts.
What is freedom? Narain, a daily wager from Jhansi, and painting our walls, doors, windows… had a fluent answer to the question that he voiced as he worked. His munshi or supervisor can be seen behind him. Would formal higher education have polished his views or distorted them? Would he be as bold and clear in expression with a few degrees weighing him down? #freedom #DailyWager #labour #whitewash #paint #housepainting #education
Today, as I write this post, I am surprised at the way independent minds tend to think despite being placed on two furthest corners of the socio-economic divide today. A revered actor and son of a celebrity poet on one side and a white-wash daily wager on the other end have voiced a thought that resonates in the same plane.
This little similarity in diversity makes me believe that all is not lost in our country… and that it is vibrant thoughts that must be allowed free access to reach out to minds. The letter that Amitabh Bachchan wrote is indeed for every grand-daughter of the country.
This post is based on a page that I happened to read on Follo dot in
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15 September 2016