Following your dream: Lessons from a chaiwallah who has travelled to 16 countries

If you have a passion, follow it mercilessly. The journey to the dreams will show you the way automatically.

 Ink A Spark   

It may sound rhetoric. A well-practiced speech. But it will not sound that way if you read the story of Vijayan, a 65-year-old wayside tea-seller owning a tiny tea shop in Kochi. He has travelled to almost all scenic destinations In India and to 16 countries abroad including France, UAE, Austria, Egypt etc. He has had a passion for travelling and he is living that passion. What touches my heart more is that he refuses to go anywhere without his wife. “What is the point of fulfilling your dreams if you have nobody to share it with’” says Vijayan. He saves money for three years (by saving Rs 300 everyday), travels cheap and continues the cycle.  Because that’s his passion. And nothing can keep him away from following his dreams.

His passion. His determination. His love. His grit. And moreover the courage to follow his dreams has moved me. It has forced me to come out of my comfort zone. It has made me feel small, useless. It has made me realize that whatever reasons we give to not go behind our dreams are nothing but excuses. Pure excuses.

There are tons of excuses. Always.

‘ But I cant quit my job’
‘How will the money come?’
‘It’s a risk you know. Chuck it’
‘Maybe my idea is not good enough’
‘ Not now. Next year probably’
‘Its not practical’
‘ My mom doesn’t approve’
‘ My dad is not happy with the decision’
‘ It was my grandfather’s dream to see me become an engineer. So I will become one’
‘After I turn 40. ‘

And so it goes. I wonder whether this Vijayan guy would have said all this to himself. He must have, without a doubt. After all, there was nothing working in his favour- Little money, little education, little support from people, and little reason in his plan. I am sure he would have had moments where he made the very same  excuses. Everybody does. But what makes him different is that he fought those excuses. His intuition, his gut won over reason. His love for his dreams was stronger than his fear of tomorrow. And THAT inspired me. That made me realize how we use the term ‘practicality’ to justify living smug, unfulfilled lives.

His story will be imprinted on my heart forever. Every time I try to make an excuse, I will remember him. And his story. And how easy he makes ‘following your dream’ seem.  Another thing I’d always remember is-

‘If you end up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, you teacher, your priest, the society, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.

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