Ratna Pathak Shah, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar and more: A letter to their 18-year-old selves from the present

Published: December 31, 2017 12:01 am

The world is a dark place, but then there is light too, you just need to find the right switch, and you will. (Source: Thinkstock Images)
‘Live dangerously, once in a while at least’

Ratna Pathak Shah, actor

Dear R,

You are already wise — you are miserable at 18; you don’t buy any of that sweet 16 stuff can you? And rightly so. Things are hard, but you don’t have to be miserable; though I have to say that being miserable is good fun! I don’t want to warn you about the pitfalls ahead; don’t want to ruin the discoveries you will make. I don’t want to advise you — you won’t listen anyway. But I’d like to say that fear is a waste of time. And one can take forever to overcome various fears, so hurry up if possible.

You’re in for the long haul, you realise that, don’t you? You are going to be an actress forever. So get used to it and start learning ASAP. Nothing will be easy but it will be absorbing, so don’t belittle the art and craft of acting, as you are wont to at the moment. Develop respect for the art of creating, not just the creative product.

Travel — without being led, if possible. If you don’t look for safety and familiarity you may find unexpected delights.

A little secret — you can get more or less everything you ask for, so be careful what you want. Also you will get what you want but it won’t be in the way you want it; surprises are inevitable.

Bad news — you are a procrastinator by temperament — the fight will be endless and tiresome but totally worth it, so fight with all your might against it. You are also deeply lazy to make matters worse but you will surmount this, if goaded; allow yourself to be goaded.

Worse news — you will be astounded by how much of the gender nonsense you have internalised. And how much you will need to battle with yourself to overcome this early indoctrination. Get to work now.

Order and chaos are not necessarily independent of each other — don’t be anal about order; it’ll get in the way.

You’re wondering how one can work without being attached to the fruits of one’s labour. This is not the contradiction it appears to be now. It’s the only way to work constantly and remain sane.

Keep training your body and voice. An actor’s body has to be expressive in many ways and beauty is not the only aim.

Learn how to swim now. Please.

They say youth is wasted on the young but remember one can stay young-minded for as long as one wants.

So, I’m afraid I ended up with prophecy and advice after all! Sorry. Hindsight is always 20/20, but a hint — the ride is going to be fun.

I have a picture of you as you are now — those tweezed eyebrows and the almost painful look of anticipation and trepidation and I feel a great tenderness towards you. I’m deeply gratified to know that you will end up wiser than you are today.

PS: That good-looking guy on the bicycle is interested in you. Flirt confidently — your mom is not right about everything, you know. Live dangerously, once in a while at least!



Do not quit. First, fight back.

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

A letter to his 18-year-old self from the present. What does it mean to come of age? What is an average 18-year-old Indian like? Let’s explore the age of promise.

Dear Sunny,

You turn 18 today and this is my gift to you: a letter. In this letter, I am going to tell you things that you might find helpful, if not now, then maybe some years later.

1. Listen to Papa and Mummy in the matter of your job and career. They know you love to write, but they will always want you to be financially secure and have a regular job before you set out to write books. I do not want to scare you, but I can see that you will go through an uncertain phase in which you will find yourself without a job and salary despite having a job! How that will happen, you will know when it happens. But, in order to tide over such a phase, you will need some savings in your bank account, for which you will need a secure career, for which you need to listen to Papa and Mummy’s advice.

2. Do not get too attached to anything, any person, any place. It might hurt if that attachment doesn’t work. Start with Teens Today, your favourite magazine and one you are so attached to. Teens Today will shut shop in the next few months. Yes, raise your dropped jaw. Try to withdraw all — OK, most of — your attachment to it. Trust me, letting go of all attachments is the only way to avoid getting hurt.

3.Have patience. One day, you will be able to afford to buy Sony Music audio cassettes. And you will be able to do a lot of things and achieve many things. Wait for the right time. Till then, work towards your goals and have happy and hopeful thoughts.

4. This might surprise you again, so hold your jaw. About a decade from now, you will be able to see films and read books on your phone. And this will be very addictive. Especially a certain show about winter and dragons. It is coming, just wait. The phones won’t be the kind we have now. They will be mobile, smaller, and they will have neither buttons nor the rotary dial. Try not to get addicted to any of it. Amazon will come to India. No, not the river. You will know when it comes. And it will bring a lot of books. I really wish I can ask you to stay away, but I know I can’t and you won’t. Talking of books, there will also be something called Read More…

Via:: Health – Indian Express


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