One of my favorite places as a child was my paternal grandma’s house. One of my all-time favorite persons was my paternal grandma; soft spoken lady, with big caring heart. The cutest smile, the warmest I have ever seen on anyone else, always adorned her face despite the earthly tribulations which seemed to intensify with old age. She passed away on 26th December, 2016. Coincidentally, on my birthday. May the angels continue keeping her company, till the glorious morning. Every time someone inquires of my thoughts on talent, I have to tell them this story.

Right from nursery school, mischief always accompanied me. I loved to play all kinds of games, and to listen to stories, especially my elder brother’s. He is spontaneously funny and can narrate even the world’s most boring jokes in a hilarious way, you’ll either drop on the floor with laughter or pee in your pants or both. As innocent as a child can be, I was extremely thoughtless. Always preoccupied in my own world, it drove my mom crazy.  I didn’t care about right or wrong, I simply did what felt right to me. And most of deeds turned out to be a lot of wrongs. Schooling was never in my to-do list, and so for three years mom moved me from nursery to nursery, a track of mischiefs trailing my path.

My little world of adventure always clashed with the seriousness of the adults around me. Strict dad tried to tame me, considerate mom tried to persuade me. But I insisted on living in my world. To everyone around I was simply the trouble maker. Up to class six, when my dad had had enough of me and decided to take me to boarding school, grandma’s place was always a haven to me. It was there that I could be my unguarded, unfiltered self. It was there that my imagination soared wildest and I started drawing. She was illiterate and new nothing of drawings, but every time I finished a shoddy sketch, I would show it to her and she would admire it.

With a charming smile she would say the drawings were beautiful, and for that period in my childhood all I desired was to become an artist and make grandma happy. She selflessly gave me the cash to buy the materials I needed. For the most parts, my drawing was a well-kept secret. Perhaps I had deduced that like most of my lifestyle choices, it wouldn’t be welcomed by any other person except grandma. Then one day, when I was in class six, some of my cousins came over at grandma and found me drawing. While they were excitedly admiring the sketches, one asked what I wanted to be in the future.

Bubbling with excitement, without hesitation I replied, ‘An artist.’ The hush fell. Then one of the cousins I had held in high regards, everyone applauded her as a good child and her school records were always excellent, hoisted her right hand in the air and mockingly imitated the process of drawing. Everyone busted out, and the ridicule in their laughter cut straight through my heart. Slowly afterwards my interest in drawing faded, and my mischiefs became more pronounced. Dad decided to take me to boarding school, against mine and grandma’s wish. But that move was to be the changing point of my life. At class seven, after adjusting to covering my mischiefs track well in a strict environment, I discovered and fell in love with poetry.

My journey with arts has been as eventful and adventurous as the unfolding of my life. With certainty I am of the opinion that there is nothing like natural talent. All there exist is persistent, dedication and resilience. This is how it all connects. You identify something you want to try out. This stage is different in adults from kids, unless as an adult you have preserved a kid’s spirit of wonderment. The advantage children have over adults is their innocent ability to trust their guts. They attempt, never bothered whether they’ll succeed or not. Us, grown-ups, we simply fail to attempt. Crippled with fear of failure. But we too hold an advantage over kids, with voluntarily cultivated resilience we can withstand every discouragements and misfortunes in our way.

The beginning of all passions is conviction. Conviction in yourself and in what you want to do. For if you don’t believe in yourself, you will hold back your true potential. The growth of all passions is anchored on persistence. This is the grace to do, again and again, the things you will do when you become who you want to be. This is the grace to find excitement in boredom. The truth is, the beginnings will always be hard and boring. Allow yourself to be a student, a beginner. With the right balance between conviction and persistence you will eventually to become everything you want to be. There only remain one skill to steady and steer you. Resilience. Through the pain, push. Through the ridicules, push.