“Chottey Saheb, are you ready, we have to leave at the earliest. Badey Saheb had just called to ask if we started from home.”
Samar looked at the driver. “Yes, you go and bring the car from the garage, I’ll be there in a minute.”
As the driver left, he glanced at himself in the mirror. He was dressed as formally as possible, black tux, formal shirt, shoes, black tie. Even though he felt uncomfortable he knew his dad would be happy with this attire. On the way out from the room, he just turned back and saw his guitar lying on the bed. He felt the strong urge to pick it up and take it with him so that maybe he can hum a tune or two during the long drive to the hotel le grande. But he knew he had to prepare on his speech on the way too. After debating inside his head for a few minutes, he gave in and picked up his guitar. Just as he reached the front door of his huge mansion, the car was already waiting outside for him.
Samar sat down in the back seat, careful not to ruin his coat. The car started and slowly rolled out from the Jain mansion through the huge gates that the security opened. The gate keeper smiled at him warmly and gave him a thumbs up as an ‘all the best’. He smiled and mouthed the words ‘thank you’ as the car gathered speed and moved through the road. The evening sun was slowly setting spreading an orange hue in the horizon. As the car began to move through the deserted road, he put his hand into his pocket and brought out a piece of paper.
He wondered whether to start preparing for the speech right away, or give himself some time to absorb and take in all that had happened today. He felt that the second option would be better because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to focus on anything without setting everything, straight inside his head.
He still couldn’t believe all that had taken place that morning. All those people shouting and cheering as he stood on the stage, the mike in front of him, the guitar in his hands and the rest of the band backing him. He knew this was his chance, the chance that he was waiting for, his entire life. He knew this was more than just any other performance, more than any musical band competition, more that just do or die. He had 7 minutes to create magic and the man he’d idolised and worshipped, the man who’s songs he’d heard almost every day of his life, was sitting in front of him in the judging panel. He was nervous with a mad wild feeling sweeping over him, tingling every nerve, every muscle and every cell in his body. He began. The crowd, the roar, the judges, the stage all drowned out. It was just him and his music. He was absorbed into the music he created. There was no more nervousness, no more anxiety, just pure bliss.
The sharp ring of his mobile brought him back to the present. As he jolted awake into reality, he picked up the phone hastily.
“Samar, where’ve u reached? By when will u be here? The guests have already started arriving.”
“Dad, will be there in maximum half an hour.”
“ok, do go through your speech well. ok?”
“yeah dad, see you soon” As he placed the phone back in his pocket, he realised it would be better for him to start reading the speech. Else he could stay tangled in his own thoughts all day.
“Ladies and gentlemen, its with immense pleasure and even greater honour that I stand before you today as the new executive chairperson of United Industries. My father, mentor and teacher Mr Dhanveer Jain had started this company on a very humble scale with a vision, a mission and a goal. Today United has become one of the largest firms in the country, only due to his hard work and perseverence. As his son, and the youngest member of the board of directors, I promise, to strive hard and carry forward the legacy that my father started and help to take United to even greater heights and boost it to embrace new horizons of success and opportunities…..”
He paused and looked outside. He lowered the car window fully and let the wind ruffle up his neatly combed hair. He took in a deep breathe and looked at the scenary outside. The hills on one side of the, the long winding road and the deep valley on the other side, though plush green, glowed amber red soaked in the light from the setting sun. He looked first at the speech paper on his right palm and then to the guitar lying on his lap. he slowly ran his hand through the guitar strings. Even the low random notes it sang made him smile. Then he looked at the paper in his hand. His head felt heavy. Right now at the luxurious hall of the hotel Le Grande 100s of guests would’ve gathered. All wearing the same suffocating black clothes, exchanging greetings and stiff smiles. In midst of this his dad would be sitting, beaming proudly “yes yes he is a very bright boy. Not just saying this because he’s my son. he has some really great marketing techniques and strategies that could…..” and he would be going on and on. His son carrying forward the legacy.
As stronger gusts of wind blew he looked at the sky. Endless, seamless with no boundaries. Just as he lost himself in the vast expanse of the sky, he remembered his idol Jagan Gupta handing him the trophy in the midst of roaring applause, he thought he’d never felt happier in his life. “You truly are gifted. You’ve been born to touch souls with your music. Must admit, I’ve never heard such intense and passionate music from such a young fellow. If you do find time, come to my office tomorrow, we can maybe talk a little bit about some tunes.” Even cloud nine was insufficient a phrase for his ecstacy.
Again he looked away from the sky. For a fleeting moment a mad rush gripped him. He wanted to tell his father everything. About how music was his life and how his true happiness lies in it only. He wanted to tear off the coat and black tie, stop the car and run away to some far land with only his guitar. Then, he thought about that day years ago, still etched fresh into hie mind as if it had just happened yesterday. The day when he had told his dad about his passion for music and he suggested pursuing music rather than business management. He still remembered how his father trembled with fury, ever muscle of his body became tight and his face glowed red
“so is this is it. After all this, u want to pursue music? I’ve spent so much for your education so far and today when I’m standing here after having gotten you admitted to one of the best B schools in the country, you tell me this. What the hell is wrong with you? Do you think this music business is going to get you career, financial stability and a sound living environment.?”
“But dad this is what makes me happ….”
“you cannot fill your stomach with happiness, you can’t build a house with it nor can you make a living out of it. I raised my son, gave him all that he wanted and hoped that he will go ahead and make me proud and this is what he does.”
He could never forget his father’s fury that day. He’d never seen his father so upset, so emotional and at the verge of tears. after that day he’d never mentioned about music to his parents.
He went ahead with his MBA, did shows and went for competitions occasionally and whenever he had time strummed away on the guitar in his room with the door shut.
As his eyes felt wet, he lifted up his hand holding the speech paper to wipe them dry. A strong gust of wind, blew the speech paper out of his hand and it flew out the car window and landed on the road outside. For a moment he was too alarmed to respond.. Then on instinct he yelled “bhaiyya bhaiyya!”
“What happened chhote saheb?” driver asked alarmed.
Then suddenly it struck him. He smiled and said “tell me your favourite song, I’ll play it for you.”
Samar paused and smiled. The huge sea of audience of 10th standard students were listening to him with the same kind of anxiety as if watching the climax of a suspense thriller.
“then what happened?” one asked.
” as i already told you, that was the evening that changed my life. Nothing dramatic happened during that ride which changed everything. Nothing special. Maybe it was the nature, maybe it was the sunset, may it was the wind that made me decide that i must follow my heart. ” He smiled.
“So didn’t your father get angry at you?”asked one student “and what did you do at the party? did you go?”
Samar continued ” of course I went for the party. Instead of that speech I was supposed to say, I sang a song. ”
The students laughed so did Samar. “Told dad exactly the same thing I had told him years ago. Sure enough he was upset at first, but gradually he accepted me and my work. He saw my talent and realised I was right after all”
“You see, you all will be faced in your life with that one decision which is most important. You’ll have pressures from all around. 100 people giving 100 ideas. But you have to realize this simple fact “dude, this is your life” others will just give ideas and leave, you’re the one who has to live it. The simplest funda to have a happy life is to follow your heart. Understand what it is that truly makes you happy. Realise what it is for which god bothered to send you down here. Once you realise that purpose, there is just 1 more step. Courage. Have the courage to stand up for yourself and stand up for your decision. The longer you delay the moment you are going to put your foot down and say ‘this is it’, the harder it will get. Or worse still that moment might never come. For me, the moment was when I told driver bhaiyya to carry on and didn’t make him stop the car for that paper. If I became weak at that point, I wouldn’t have been what I am today. At that moment I broke away all the chains that bound me” He smiled. All the students looked at him admiringly.
“Our parents do love and support us and always think of the best for us. But at the end of the day you are a different person and it is entirely in your hands what you want to do with your life. Don’t let anyone decide what it is that truly makes you happy. Let your heart decide it. And you’ll never be sorry in life. If you are doing what you truly want to do then even in the face of hardships you’ll be able to come out strong. And while taking the ‘road not taken’ though things may seem a bit hard at first later on everything will fall into place and you’ll live life and love it too”
There was huge applause as Samar ended his speech. Students requested him to sing a song, and when he sang he experienced the same kind of involvment and oneness with music as he had experienced on the day on the band competition finals and every other time he sang.