Most of us live with one sentence continuously repeating in our head, “What will people think?”
Young girls are told not to laugh, not to wear jeans, not to roam around the streets, not to wear a skirt, not to talk to boys — all just for “what will people think?” Most people live with unhappiness throughout their lives for this. To be your own self is one of the biggest challenges of life. Whether in relationships, work or public life, to give yourself completely and intensely is all about going against the grain. Conformity is all about toeing the line of the world and walking on a path which is convenient. But the joy of holding on to your inner belief is beyond description. And this truth is not for ordinary people only, it’s true for writers, painters, film-makers and leaders (I am not talking about NamObama here). For nothing, Gandhiji is still being celebrated as one of the finest minds the human civilization has ever produced/created. You can read a narrative and you will know whether it’s truth or not. You can’t just fake it. Somehow it shows in a novel, in an autobiography, on a canvas and in a story unfolding on the silver screen.
At the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival, someone asked celebrated writer Hanif Kureishi, “Does it bother you that many think that the characters in your novel are autobiographical?” He said, “Your sentence is your authenticity. If you (as a writer) are worried what others will think, it’s better to work in a shop.”