A couple of weeks back, I told someone in my office that he had lost my trust because he could have done better. I waited, willing myself not to visibly fidget, while he processed this statement. He asked me how could he make it better. I shrugged and replied, “Sometimes you just can’t”. Without the full context this might seem harsh on my part, but I remain convinced he deserved to hear this.

Since then, I have basked in this new found glory and pride of being true to my feelings and not giving into social conventions or cohesion. This did not and does not come easy to me. I would rather, like many of us, avoid conflict and side step hard conversations. But, it did feel liberating to voice my opinion and nicety be damned! Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t being mean. I was simply being me and for once, not trying to be a pleasing version of me.

My triumphant moment reminded me of a scene from 3 Idiots I have long since wanted to write about.

<The Setup> (Major spoilers ahead)

Raji Rastogi, played to perfection by Sharman Joshi, finally snaps under pressure and jumps from college Principal’s office window, intending to kill himself. He is saved and comes to value life, good or going badly, a lot more.

</End Setup>

<The Scene>

It is his job placement interview. Culmination of his years at the Engineering college. The hiring company officials ask him about his wheelchair and Raju candidly explains he tried to kill himself followed by a lot more details of why. One of the Hiring managers, with this killer half smile, gently rebukes him for making things awkward with “his frank behaviour”. If Raju could just control his oversharing impulse the company could still consider extending a job offer. I’ll spare you more details. Those aren’t important for the lesson.

Our valiant hero shakes his head. “No thank you”, he says politely but firmly. With minimum fuss, he goes on to explain, he has broken bones to get this attitude. So he is going to keep his attitude and they can keep their job.

In case you are wondering how things ended, this being a happy movie, he did get the job right after this speech.

</End Scene>

Click link to play the scene from within YouTube…

Job or no job, this lesson I treasure. It is an exceptionally hard, and often long, road to getting comfortable in your skin. Once you get there it is exceptionally hard to go back. Again, I do not want you to not care about others, care all you want. In fact, if you want to, give money to every person standing with a “help me” sign at every road intersection. And if you don’t want to, then don’t. Just be yourself.

This new year, along with wishes of happiness, I wish you courage – you be you and have a wonderful new year!

Do you give money to people standing on the road? Ruminate with me on To give or not to give.