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Lessons from Dangal!

Across the world, as I’m sure you would all agree, India is well known for 3 things: •

Its multi-cultural, big fat colourful Indian weddings.

As a country obsessed with cricket.

It’s film industry - Bollywood, Collywood, Tollywood, we have all the woods here. Collectively called Indywood -The Indian film industry is the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced, with between 2000 to 2,500 films made every year in more than 20 languages.

Some of the movies are best forgotten, some of them are ok-ok kinds and a few each year are simply WoW. Like the one I recently saw – the Aamir Khan starrer Dangal. For all those who don’t understand Hindi, Dangal is the Hindi term for wrestling.

Each one of us here has our own personal struggles going on. It could be something trivial or something really really big. The factors could be internal or it could be something external and beyond our control.

My Dangal starts every morning at 6am— where I am literally wrestling between my cosy blanket and the alarm clock, then comes the fight to reach office on time, the fight against time to get things done, the fight against things that sometimes go wrong... I can go on and on...

If you have not seen it yet, I strongly recommend that you do. Simple story yet so gripping… It is the story of a father who is a national wrestling champion and he dreams of getting a gold for his country at the International level. However due to parental pressure he has to give up the game and so he hopes that someday his son will fulfill this dream of his. But, to his dismay he fathers 4 girls.

Dejected at first he realises that ‘Gold is Gold’, irrespective, if a boy wins it or a girl and so he trains his 2 elder daughters, against all odds, to be wrestlers, who eventually go on to win 20 International titles between them.

As I watched the movie, I realised there are lessons to be learnt here. This list has gone up at a place where I can see it every day, so that I am reminded of how I can make my life better. So what did I learn from the movie…


1. Dream a little dream for yourself And then, don’t stop chasing your dreams, because dreams do come true. Turn deaf if need be to the “log kya kahenge…” “What will people say” syndrome. Training two teenage girls for wrestling in a male-dominated society in a tier 4 city? Recipe for instant isolation. But that did not deter Aamir from doing what he was convinced was the right thing to do The faster we grow deaf to the “what will people say” syndrome, the faster we will achieve what we want. 2. Always aim high and turn defiant to difficult times In the movie, though the coach wants just a medal, either gold, silver or bronze at the games; but it is the father who encourages Geeta to set her eyes on the gold and prove herself, which she does with her dedication. I loved Aamir's calm composure and ability to drown out the rubbish through the most difficult times. The key here is to keep the end goal in mind and not let the journey take the steam away. 3. It’s all about ATTITUDE The girls did not have any fancy training equipment to learn or practice the sport. Lack of resources did not stop them from anything. Excuses will get you nowhere. On the other hand a national-level coach with a fancy designation and best resources could not help Geeta win an international championship and all because he just did not have the right attitude. 4. People we take for granted are the ones who have our back Geeta lost three international titles because she had refused the advice of her in-house coach and mentor – her dad. We sometimes take people for granted because we don’t value what we have and we go for what we assume to be better. 5. Last but not the least… Kuch paane ke liye kuch khona padta hai… There are sacrifices galore to be made on the road to success... it may have been the spicy pani puchkas for the budding wrestlers, and in my case it could be anything from sleep, food or abstinence from the mall depending on what my goal is. There IS NO secret sauce to success. Be dedicated, and then bit by bit and layer by layer you will get the final outcome… Sweet Success!!! All thanks to Aamir, for making the difficult journey of Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters so inspiring for people like us, who have it all and yet seem to be wasting it all away. Its Dangal time people… A wrestle to fight our inner demons and emerge a winner all the way, everyday!!

Lessons from dangal TM Shagufta  
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