Thank you for that introduction that was very generous; I'm humbled.
When I was requested to be here, I felt fortunate to be part of such an important day of your life. Today is a day you will always remember; after all, it's a milestone. So congratulations.
I wish one were present physically there, and we could chat and talk and look into each other's eyes. But these are difficult and unprecedented times. I am glad that we are at least getting to meet each other virtually, And I'm getting an opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
I can only share my thoughts because I believe that
we all, as individuals, have our own learning process.
You have been extremely fortunate that you have been able to learn from such fine teachers. Tomorrow is Teacher's Day. So, I take this opportunity and thank all the teachers I have learned from in my life; the ones who have shaped me, not only in school or college but beyond that.
In this country, we have the grand tradition of "Guru-shishya Parampara" and understand the value of teachers in our life.
A true teacher wants you to be ultimately free and embark on your own journey. A true teacher wants you to be freed of even himself, so that you can go out there in the world and make a difference in your unique way.
Even today, I feel like a student. Learning never stops. So though graduation from college is a milestone in your life, never think that learning stops. Life is teaching you lessons every day. And you have to be open and receptive to keep learning.
Because if you feel that you have learned it all, you'll stagnate. As you live, you learn, and you learn every day.
And that brings me to 'Seeking'. I believe life is like a search engine. A search engine picks up the intent of what you are looking for, what you searched.
There is a sea of knowledge out there, and it's up to you- how you approach it, from which portal you get in. So it's essential to know yourself, to know your intent, what you're looking for. Keep seeking.
Bahut achha hai, bahut zaroori hai ki hum dhoonde, talaash kare and seek well.
You would have heard the song in Taare Zameen Par. I'd written,
"Tujh main agar pyaas hai toh,
Baarish ka ghar bhi pass hai,
Tu, dhoop hai jham se bikhar,
Tu hai nadi o bekhabar."
I was trying to say if you have that longing, the hunger in you to seek, you will find. It's essential to seek and never stop learning.
In your journey, develop an eye to see the minute.
Start seeing small things which inspire around you, for we subconsciously sow many seeds.
Hum kehte hai ki sapne hamare adhikar main nahi hai, lekin aisa nahi hai. Jo sapne bhi aap dekhte hai woh kisi zameen main ugte hai. Woh zameen apke thoughts hai. The land where the dreams sprout is your making. Make it fertile. Then the goal is within reach.
Many people think that what they become later in life happens randomly. It's seldom random. Somewhere deep down, they have wanted it; they have probably desired some part of it. And so be very careful with what you dream because gradually, your energies are going to be channelized in that direction. And your subconscious is going to guide you to that place.
It's vital that we work on what we desire, dream, and seek. As I mentioned earlier, use the search engine of your mind well.
You may wonder, 'what about role models, whom should we follow?'
I think it's essential to choose your role models. Your role model doesn't have to be a celebrity.
For me, it was my grandmother. She was married off as a teenager and was not literate when she lost her husband. She was only 18 years old, unlettered, and a widow.
She didn't give in to fate... She started studying and learning, worked her way up, and finally retired as a school principal. Her life is what inspired me. What I saw in her was the burning desire to be self-reliant. Woh kisi par bojh nahi banna chahti thi. Woh simple ek gaav ki mahila thi. Unki soch bhi bahut simple thi. But there was a specific anchor. And that anchor of self-reliance became a guiding principle a force in her life.
The second thing I saw in her was that she always wanted to be useful to someone else. “How can I do something to help?’’, so all these things shaped her character. And she became a role model. So for role models, if you have an eye, if you're seeking your role models, they are perhaps around you. It's not essential to have famous people as your role models.
You must select your role models carefully because they tip-toe into your subconscious and impact and make you act.
Another significant thing I want to share with you is about confusion. When you step out into the world, after your degrees and your education, you may still be confused. "Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? Some of you might want to start your own business, some want to become artists, and some want to join prominent organizations. And those dilemmas, those, you know, jise "dwand" kehte hai, you will encounter.
Now, this confusion is very discomforting. But you have to learn to respect this state of confusion. I call it a liminal space. And I often talk about being 'Confused by choice'. It's the space that is most fertile. This confused state is when you explore options, experiment, and try to understand what you are.
Never underestimate the time of confusion and never be frustrated by that. That happens to everyone. Without that, you will become robotic, almost predestined.
It is important to examine yourself for what you want and examine what is there for you in the world. Don't settle easily. Explore. When your vibrations match what you're doing, the moment you find synchronization, work will never look like work to you.
People often say have fun whilst you work. We very casually say this, but it does matter.
If your work and vibrations are in sync, it doesn't feel like work. Instead, it regenerates.
Apki jo minutest vibrations hai uske saath sync mein aa jaata hai. Aap subah uthte hai to aap ko mann karta hai ke mai karu, yeh kaam karu. Tab karm main aap 'Karta' nahi reh jaate, you become one with work. The distance is no more there. Because there is no other, it's your manifestation of yourself.
So, it’s fine to be confused, explore, and then find what you are in sync with, in tune with.
So this state of confusion might be discomforting, but you have to learn to be comfortable with discomfort. You might feel tensed. But this tension is essential.
Think about a musical instrument, think of a Sitar.
To produce music, you have to create tension in the strings- the right amount of tension.
If there is no tension, if the strings are loose they will be incapable of producing music. But if there is too much tension, they break.
So that balance of tension is important. It’s that right amount, that ‘musical tension, which creates melody, the melody of life. So it is essential to be able to value that tension.
When I was writing the song of Ma - Tujhe sab hai pata hai na ma, the obvious choice was to, see it as a separation moment and create a separation song in the film. But I kept on thinking. I was very tense that it would sound cliched because it was all about ‘bichadna -milna'.
And this tension sparked something in me. I, sort of, stepped into my past. And I recalled when my mother had gone on a training program. I was a little child, left alone in the house without having the comforting presence of my mother. And I suddenly felt my fears come alive. And I wrote these lines: "Mai andhere se darta hoon maa". And then I started writing about my fears. And the song unfolded; a song that resonated with so many people.
So you mustn't underestimate the state of confusion and tension and see something positive in that.
BE A WORTHY MEDIUM
Another point I want to share with you is - humility. I think some of you might be exceptionally good, but sometimes success is taken too seriously.
I neither take my talent nor my success seriously as my doing.
You see, electricity and the wire are two different things. I feel like a wire.
I'm simply a medium through which electricity passes. I never confuse myself with electricity because electricity is coming from somewhere else. I chanced upon that electricity which comes and passes through me - it chooses me. But I must be a worthy medium.
The ones who have been students of science know what good conductors are. So when you are a good conductor of energy, you are least resistant to the flow.
So don't take your success for granted. It's collective.
Your teachers, friends, family, circumstances have contributed to it. We are the sum total of all their contributions. So, be humble and have space.
In today's world, we are becoming too obsessed with individualistic success. Earlier, there was time for others. Now I see some delicate values being lost.
I was reading somewhere that earlier if someone didn't do well or didn't make it, we used to call that person unfortunate. Today we call the person a 'Loser' as though it's entirely the person's fault and circumstance had no role to play.
There is a difference in society in the way success and failure are individualized.
It's important to have compassion and space for others because the meaning of success should not be so narrowly defined that it converts you into the machine. Human values have to stay intact, and we have to try hard not to lose them.
When we first go out in the world as qualified professionals, we all want to do something unique. Soon, a feeling of "It's just nine to five job", or "why should I do this", or "This has been done before", "I am being repetitive" creeps in.
Please understand! You are unique. You are unparalleled. There is no one like you. The way you are, the way you think, will always be different. So even in a job that sounds mundane and repetitive to you, you can make a difference to it because you are unique. And you have your way of perceiving.
When I was writing for the film Rang De Basanti, at that time, many films were being done on Bhagat Singh, and other revolutionaries,
Bhagat Singh's life was, you know, portrayed in many movies.
We also did the film on the young revolutionaries. But it was a very different take. We could have been discouraged, as it was the same subject. But we went on to make the film because the energies which came in together were different.
That's the reason I wrote 'Roobaroo'
Abhi abhi hua yakeen,
Ke aag hai mujh mein kahin.
Hui subah, mai jal gaya,
Suraj ko main nigal gaya,
Whenever you whole-heartedly do and complete something, you will feel "yes, it carries my stamp". Because it will, if you've genuinely done it, it will be authentic.
You have to be authentic at what you do. If you are conscious of it, you will never get bored. And you will always see your work in your unique way.
Kyonki sabse sunder geet abhi tak likha nahi gaya hai aur sabse sunder udaan abhi tak lee nahi gayi hai, that's waiting to happen. You can do it in your way.
When we talk about authenticity, where does it come from? It comes from your first-hand experiences. The more you experience life, the finer you will become.
It's a constant process of chiseling yourself. And that's what I call "anubhoot satya", first-hand truth, the experienced truth.
The bone-deep truth, the reality your subconsciousness gathers, the fact your every cell knows. And that's what makes you authentic. The way you experience a certain reality, nobody else does. You have your vantage point. You have your way of looking at things. And that's what makes you authentic.
Jo mai phele zameen tyaar karne ki baat kar raha tha usme woh authenticity aa jaati hai. Usme jo sapne aate hai woh aapke unique sapne hote hain.
So Seek well, embrace confusion, welcome tension, be a worthy medium, and experience life in your authentic way.
In Bhag Milkha Bhaag, I had written,
'Daant se kaat le bijli taar,
Chaba le taambe ki chhankaar
Phoonk de khud ko jwala jwala,
Bin khud jale na hoye ujala.'
So with these words, I would once again congratulate all of you and thank all at FLAME for inviting me to be a part of such a momentous occasion in your life.
My best wishes.
Download the transcript here.