What do we humans want? Why are we here? What is to be done with this life?
These questions came to me early. And having lived life a bit, I have come upon few answers.
We want to connect with others---through love, work, understanding, spirituality...the mode is unique
to each, but the goal is the same. We are here because we are a part of the Creation. And the answer
to the third question is the simplest. Life is to be lived.
Someone lives it making bridges, someone else picking up scrap, and yet another waging war. I for one
have lived it till now committed to the arts.
Since childhood, arts for me meant literature. I read and read, all my grandfather’s books came in handy...Scott
Fitzgerald, Henry James, Jane Austens, the classics...offcourse followed by teenage stuff of romance
novels...and fiction, lots of stories—some true, some not so much. Khalil Gibran, the Bible, the Gita,
history, politics and a lot of statistics--- Malcolm Gladwell, Nassim Taleb and the likes, in a bid
to find out why things were the way they were.
In school I studied science---both maths and biology. I believe that till we know what are we made of---those
atoms and molecules, and offcourse the forces that keep them together, we cannot absolutely appreciate
the magnificence of Creation, and thus our own existence. In college, I earned my honours degree in
But my love for the arts never left me.
In college, arts took the form of theatre for me, and I took to it with my all. Arthur Miller, Neil
Simon, Syd Field, Lagos Egri, Stanislavisk were read with gusto. I performed street theatre, raised
slogans in farmer rallies and did plays on stage. And thus started the journey into my own self.
This person whose body we have inhabited since childhood is in most cases a stranger to us. To know
oneself, is both painful and difficult. But this is the journey of the actor. And the more an actor
knows oneself, the more he gets a peek into another. Acting is nothing but a process which unveils the
psychology of the character in question. When we meet people, what they say and truly feel, presents
a gap. An actor fills up these gaps, to find the true picture of the person/character. Thus acting connects
humans in ways that is deep and solid, if something important is to be said.
The other training that one gets as an actor is in the art of rejection. Most people are not saying
‘No’ to me or you. It’s them saying ‘YES’ to someone they can use instantaneously.
Life is random. Things do not always make sense. In India, a number of our exams are rigged, and thus
‘YESES’ are determined even before we take a test. My dream is to go to places and take exams which
are not. That would be the test of one’s true credibility. Better systems, less corruption, and a more
fair society could provide that opportunity. But for now, it is just a pipe-dream.
In India the disparity between the haves and have-nots is so huge that talk of merit is nothing but
words, especially in areas where there is no level-playing field, or one exam to determine merit. Films
and entertainment is one such field. Whoever is better placed/rich/connected is more deserving! There
was a time when black actors in Hollywood hardly ever got nominated for Oscars. With awareness, their
representation has increased mani-folds. This shows that merit and talent are subject to oppurtunities.
In India, less connected/influential cannot hope for opportunities, and thus the job. But whatever be
the condition one finds themselves in, the only sure way is to move forward with faith and positivity.
The universe is full of opportunities, and it does know man-made boundaries. I am that child of this
In more recent years, my taste in life has shifted to elements that address the spirit within. The more
I live life, the more I can see that while we each have unique traits, ultimately we are essentially
one in spirit. Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, which I had read in school, came back to me again.
And this time around, I understood it as it should be understood. Slowly and steadily, I have seized
to be a mere actor and spread my wings in becoming a person with empathy, who can come out of one’s
immediate environment,to view the broader dance of life.
The result is I am no more identifiable as a limited entity--- an actor or a writer, an Indian, or a
this or that. I feel truly a child of this universe, and for the first time in my life, I feel genuine
empathy and understanding of human condition. I want to do work that positively affects people’s lives.
I am no more interested in mere fame or a photo-op. I want to create, help, make, do, work, add value.
But whatever must be done, must be done right now. My mother’s death under the cruel hands of cancer
has left me with a strong message--- act NOW. Life is in the NOW.
When you are around people who have cancer, you get to watch people in pain facing their destinies with
dignity. You do not feel sorry for them. You admire them. You start to look at them as flowers----beautiful,
tough, sensitive, holding one’s head high as long as nature allows. Actors, vulnerable and seeking,
are taught to be this on a daily basis.
I thus hope to bring you cheer, merriment and relief through my work. But more than anything I wish
to connect with you.
Be with me.