In the maddening cacophony of conventional careers, we often ignore our passion. For most of us, passion is all about expressing ourselves which helps us to deal with the upheavals of life. We limit it to being a hobby and generally push away the idea of it being a profession to the back of our minds. Financial pressure and other societal expectations often burden and hinder our ability to foresee our dreams and aspirations. But isn’t life about living your dreams and doing what you love? Here are some real stories to nudge you towards a better future.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

1. Narain Karthikeyan, Formula Car Racer

I’m living the life of my dreams”

Narain Karthikeyan, the 1st Indian Formula Racer to represent India in the global scene fell in love with speed at the age of 15. Born in a humble family in Coimbatore, the young lad was inspired by his father who was a former Indian National Rally Champion. Driven by the passion and thrill for speed and adventure, Narain Karthikeyan decided to pursue racing as a profession. His teachers and relatives felt he was crazy but his father supported his decision to become a racer. With the limited resources they had, he made a go kart in his father’s backyard to practice there. To polish his skill further, he went to Elf Winfield Racing School in France and was selected by the school for showing his mettle by reaching the semi finals. In the year 2001, he drove for Jaguar which was a major milestone. The year 2005 marked his debut into formula racing when he was introduced by the Team of Jordan. Later on, he was a part of the A1 team which struggled, but with a lot of hard-work, they became a force to reckon with. In spite of facing issues in regards to his career and his conflict with the Indian government for canceling the Indian Contingent’s participation in the Grand Pix, he has come a long way and placed India on the Global map of F1 racing. His mantra of success? Hard-work and mental strength are essential for achieving success.

2. Rathika Ramasamy, Wildlife Photographer

“Wildlife is like a magnet, the closer you are to it, the strongest it attracts you, and the harder it is to get away.”

Rathika Ramasamy was born in Tamil Nadu. Being a very good student, she pursued her degree in software engineering and then went on to complete her MBA. Even in the midst of her professional pursuits, her camera remained her best pal. Her interest in photography was sparked by a camera, gifted to her by her father in the 10th grade. Since then on, she has captured moments whenever she has traveled. In 2001, she got a professional D70 camera. Her love for photography rekindled on her visit to the Bharatpur bird sanctuary. Different species and their behaviors intrigued her, and from then on she pursued photography as a profession. Her love for the subject was such that she self-taught all the technical aspects of photography to herself and examined every click of hers. By studying the behavior of animals in their habitat, she gauged the actions and behavior of different species which brings out the best in her photography. She believes that the key essence of being a wildlife photographer is to be able to foresee the action of the animal.  ‘There are no second shots’ the wildlife photographer exclaims. She has received many accolades for her photography and her contribution as the first woman wildlife photographer in India.

3. Aqeel, DJ

I followed my dream, which became a profession”

Born and brought up in a humble family, Aqeel’s rise to fame as a renowned DJ would definitely inspire you if you’re a budding DJ. Aqeel’s father owned a small factory and the young lad was motivated to go abroad to earn money for his family. While working in a gas station abroad, he realised his true potential and passion for music and returned to India. In the year 2000, Aqeel’s remix ‘shake it daddy’ became a party anthem. Apart from recreating the magic from old songs, the DJ also has released his single albums. DJ Aqeel has played for the likes of creme a la creme of the Indian Film Industry. He believes that passion, love, and innovation are prerequisites of succeeding in the industry.

4. Tripura Kashyap, Dance Therapist

The idea was always to explore the therapeutic potential of the Indian dance form”

Tripura Kashyap was always surrounded by the creative aura at home. Her father was a classical singer enthusiast and her mother, an artist.  Her training in dance began at a very young age and it began because of her squint eye. A few years later, she along with her parents moved to Africa, where she got a lot of exposure of Choreography. After training in classical dance forms she moved further to pursue dance in Bangalore. There she saw the art of dance therapy.She then went to Hancock Center for Dance/Movement Therapy in Wisconsin to understand the nuances of the art, dance, and therapy. Her uniqueness lies in incorporating Indian folk moves to the dance therapy. A successful Choreographer and therapist today, she set up the Creative Movement Association in India and brought all the different dance therapist of the world under one umbrella. If dance is your passion, you could always consider this profession.

5. Anuradha Roy, Author

“I write what affects me deeply”

Anuradha Roy’s is one of the most celebrated Indian authors across the globe. Her book Sleeping on Jupiter (Hachette India) has been long listed for the Man Booker Prize.  She began writing at the age of 14 and published some of her works in newspapers. Because of her father’s occupation, she has travelled across India and has often addressed the issues faced by the Indian woman in her books. She pursued her literature degree from Presidency College in Calcutta and then moved to Cambridge University for her education. Post her education, she worked as a journalist, but, she soon realised that she was not cut out for that kind of work. She became a freelance writer and consulting editor which she believes has polished her style of writing. Anuradha Roy along with her husband set up a publishing house, named Permanent Black which publishes books of the Indian historical and political genre. Some of  her most famous works include :

An Atlas of Impossible Longing (2008)

The Folded Earth (2011)

Sleeping on Jupiter (2015)

6. Aditi Mittal, Stand Up Comedian

“ I used to be paranoid about how I was perceived by people, but now I’m uninterested”

Making her place in the list of top ten stand up comedians in the country wasn’t a cakewalk for Aditi Mittal. She started off with her career by working in a production house in  America. After the 2009 recession, she lost her job and did all kinds of odd jobs like bartending and babysitting to earn a living. Once in a sort of accident, she injured her feet and was handed over a very expensive hospital bill. With no medical insurance and means to pay the bill, she returned to India from America. For a year she didn’t have a job but she visited the open mics happening around the city. With the experience of hardships and failures, Aditi Mittal started experimenting with her content and from then on has hit it off with the audience. She describes the importance of failure in a Tedx talk and today has created a name for herself in the global comedy scene.

7. Nikhil Agarwal, Wine sommelier

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”

― Paulo Coelho, Brida

Considering that India has just a niche audience for wine, Nikhil Agarwal has contributed to creating awareness about the essence of wine. He pursued his degree from London and bagged a scholarship at? Wine Australia in 2012. Wine Australia made him their A+ educator in India and from then on, Nikhil Agarwal has been the First Indian to launch the Consumer’s Choice Wine awards in India. He became successful by introducing his venture All things Nice. He is also a wine consultant for some of the most renowned vineyards such as Sula and Myra Vineyards. He has been a part of more than 2000 events and wine fests in these 16 years of his career. His love for wine has also translated in the form of articles which he has penned down for some of the most prestigious magazines in the country and around the globe. Nikhil’s job involves understanding the intricacies of winemaking, winery set up and creating a brand and its bottling. He believes that a sharp sense of taste and smell is crucial for growth in the wine tasting industry.

All of these personalities have achieved what they aspired to be. Sheer determination and persistence along with overcoming the fear of failure helped them inch closer to their dreams. It was challenging for all of them to create a mark for themselves, but they refused to succumb to “log kya kahenge”.

The uncommon path will always have obstacles. However, these personalities should make us believe that doing what you love is rewarding! Go, chase that dream!

Ready to start following your passion? Read this for the three steps you can take to get your dream job!

Yet on the fence? Thinking whether you should listen to your parents or follow your heart? You might want to check this article out. 


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