De-dictionarise 'Failure' and 'Success'

 De-dictionarise 'Failure' and 'Success'

                                            De-dictionarise 'Failure' and 'Success'

I am of the opinion that two words will have to be de-dictionarised. Is that a new word ‘de-dictionarised’ that I seem to have coined? Glad so.

‘Success’ and ‘failure’, I feel, are two lethal words capable of destroying the worlds of individuals that they so earnestly seek to build.

I hold myself too guilty of using the words - occasionally though - with much reluctance,  but it may be inevitable on some occasions.  I would, rather, not have those words in my lexicon, at least.

I, for sure, know a lot of people agree with me. And it is such like-minded who would be taking more interest in further reading this, perhaps to know how I am building an argument on which I am one with them.

Will I achieve success? Will I stare at failure? I had to face these questions, quite frequently, as a result of my own choice, during  2023. These two questions came up at regular intervals. I chose them. I faced them. I dared them. I refused to answer those questions for myself. Much as I acknowledged how strong the two words were, I took their essence but did not overestimate the domineering and overpowering presence that both words have.

Strictly speaking, both words are packed with explosive materials. These two words can be used as an arsenal to destroy and build.

Now about how I faced these two words.

Lest this sound boastful or be interpreted as something of the sort, I would like to declare at this very beginning itself (having come halfway through!) that the intention is not to take pride (in the negative sense of the term), or paint a larger than lifesize image of myself (I have always stood, after a certain age, at 5 ft 2 inches tall ONLY).

There were certain things I took up to do in 2023. It is about them. It is about ‘why’. It is about ‘how’. It is about ‘so what’ also.

Let me begin at the end.

I made a documentary titled “Oscar Challagariga”. This is about how a village called “Challagariga” in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district in Telangana celebrated when lyricist Kanukuntla Subhash Chandrabose who hails from the village, won the Oscar award for Best Original Song at the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences awards, at Hollywood in March 2023.

Trouble began when my documentary was selected for the Cannes World Film Festival, Cannes, France. You read it right. ‘Trouble’.

This festival, by the way, is not to be mistaken for the more popular Festival de Cannes. I’ll come to my dalliance with that later in this write-up.

The selection of my documentary “Oscar Challagariga” at the Cannes World Film Festival led me to look forward to how it would progress. It was not a ‘fire and forget’ missile as it would otherwise have been.

It reached the semi-final. It was then announced as a finalist. I held my breath. It then made it to the final nominees list. Two films from the US and one from Nepal were also among the nominees. All these three had, I noticed, made their mark already on the international circuit.

Would I have success?

I ignored the word ‘failure’. It simply did not fit in the context. If I had come this far, it meant I had left failure far behind to lick its wounds.

If my film did not win, would it mean that success had eluded me? I left it to success to decide if it would join me in my journey ahead. It would do itself some good if it sailed with me. If it did not, it would lose an opportunity to together explore the world ahead.

My film won.

If it did not, would it have meant that I was not successful?

In another previous edition of the festival, another documentary I made had gone up to the semi-finals. That was heart-warming.

In the next edition of the same festival, my film did not make it even to the official selection list. There was no heartburn. If it did not meet a certain grade and quality that the organisers expected and if there were better films than mine, certainly that deserved recognition.

I mentioned ‘Festival de Cannes’ earlier.

The first thing I was happy about was that I got an accreditation to enter the competition in the festival which had its beginnings in 1939. There was a certain criteria  and I made the grade. Elated, I submitted my entry. It was not accepted.

The ‘not accepted’ was not acceptable to me. I have sent another documentary for the 2024 edition. I am hoping the jury which will watch the movie for selections may find the subject interesting. If it does not get selected for whatever reason, I will not consider it a failure.

Only if you fail yourself, you fail. You can call yourself a success if you try and measure up to the achievable and not-so-achievable standards that you set for yourself. Only you have the authority to describe the outcome of some acts of yours as a success or not a success - as yet. Not others. Not the system. Not people. Not circumstances.

It is easy to say that but the reality is that there is a system that does evaluate. I put myself in the orbit of this system.

As I sat at an examination centre, the 55-year-old in me had a question to pose to the student that I chose to become.  “Do you have to take this examination?” No, I did not have to. But I chose to sit for the examination.

The question paper was tough. It did not come as a surprise. I had prepared myself to face something as tough as this. As I looked at the questions, I said to myself I wondered if I would at least get pass marks.

This was a course called “Indian Classical Dance - Kathak” offered by Savitribai Phule Pune University under the Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) under the Swayam programme initiative of the Government of India.

It was a 12-week online course with weekly tests. I did well in all the weekly tests. I spent several hours studying. It was not like I was trying to remember everything to get good marks in an examination.

It was a quest for knowledge. But then, your knowledge has to be tested. And here I was, at the examination centre.  As the invigilator walked around,I looked at the computer screen. I felt like I was literally staring at failure. Had I not left failure far behind and decided to study a course, as tough as it seemed? I realised, I did not have the company of the mythical creature called failure as I went about answering the questions.

As I began to write this today - December 31, 2023 - , I checked my final marks list. I secured 77 per cent out of 100. Well done, my boy!

“Moral Thinking: An Introduction to Values and Ethics” was another challenging course I studied this year.. I secured 77 per cent in the NPTEL course offered by IIT Kanpur. The certificate says “Top topper 5 per cent). (Now, that’s being a little boastful - but actually happy).

I did slightly better in the course “Indian Art: Materials, Techniques and Artistic Practices’ that was offered by IIT Kanpur under the NPTEL programme, securing 79 per cent marks.

What I felt could be easy turned out to be the toughest one. It was a course in “Discover acting” learnt through Coursera offered by the University of London.

It was here that I met Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavski. ‘Met’ not in the physical sense of the word but learnt his works. Satanislavsi died in 1938 but his book “An Actor Prepares” is a text-book for actors. The theatre practitioner and director laid down, what I would describe, as the most difficult cardinal principles, for acting.

What Stanislavski propounded impressed the rest of the world.

However, what he said in his book is not something entirely new. While studying for my Kathak course, I bought “The Natya Sastra of Bharatamuni”. Some scholars believe that Bharatamuni existed somewhere around 500 BC. The entire “Natya Sastra” is believed to have been written by more than one person.

The point to note, however, is that what Stanislavski propounded for theatre arts in the 20th century was something that Bharatamuni dealt with in detail in 500 BC itself.

Would it have been a failure for me if I had not passed all the tough courses that I chose to pursue to study this year?

I would describe myself as having been successful in deciding to study.

Was I successful? Was I a failure?

No one is a failure. You fail if you choose to fail yourself. As for success, leave it alone. It will try to catch up with you to share your glory somewhere.

This comes to my mind as I write. During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Hyderabad in November 2017,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump were the chief guests at the inaugural.

A robot ‘Mitra’ was the centre of attraction. After the guests arrived, ‘Mitra’ was to demonstrate his capabilities and went to wish Prime Minister Modi and Ivanka Trump. It was an eagerly awaited moment. There was a ‘mix-up’, thanks to a goof-up by the organisers who did not seem to have briefed the VVIPs as to who would press the button on the Robot first. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivank Trump press two buttons at the same time on the Robot and ‘Mitra’ got confused!

On a journey, it is best to give ‘failure’ or ‘success’ - two interchangeable words - the liberty to accompany you on your journey with whatever names they take. Your journey is your own.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.