Chasing Dreams

by Sudharsan Vasudevan

            Siddarth was so angry with his parents, as they never trusted his potential one bit, so he decided it's time to go, he packed his bags, left the house in wee hours of the morning, with a duffer bag full of his clothes, his guitar and some money and his 10 grade certificate. He had left a letter, explaining to the folks back home the reason for his absence, and how he will come back there as a winner after reaching his destiny.

           He boarded the first bus to the city, he was so excited and scared, had multiple second thoughts about the plan, but this seemed to him like the only way he could ever be a musician, his family was never pleased with his dream of being a guitarist, they explained to him again and again that very few made it big in music, and he was not that talented, studying was the only way for success for middle class families, he was not going to accept any of those excuses, they even went to the extent of stopping his guitar classes because they thought it was an hindrance to his studies, hence he had to leave, he couldn't take it anymore.

            After he made it to the city he had no idea what to do, never having gone anywhere alone before, he was naive, confused, he had to no answers to to the very basic questions for survival like, where to stay, who to contact, how to eat, how to reach his destiny, and the money he had was not going to help him for more than a few days, first day he slept on the bus stand bench, ate in the shops around the bus stand, the next few days, he asked passerby on how to become a musician, very few stopped and responded, the once who did seemed to give him "multiple choices", "cinema, movies, kollywood, music director, padam", all those advises pointed him to one direction kollywood, he went to AVM studios in Chennai, it was closed down to make way for a multiplex complex, he roamed around the city searching for movie shoots, he asked the crew men for music chances, he was always shooed off, laughed at, ridiculed, slowly his money started to dwindle Without any actual work, and he ate less and less until he had nothing to eat just scraps from temples, churches and odd marriage celebrations. He started feeling weak, Sleeping outdoors had taken a toll on his body, he repeatedly got sick, he searched around a few places for a job but they all declined him, he was so hungry so he needed some money, he had this big craving for poori in the road side.

            When he was roaming in the sunny afternoon, Siddarth abruptly sat on the pavement in t nagar, he spread his blanket, displayed his guitar and the few clean clothes he had with him, he was ready to sell anything he was so hungry, he sat there for hours all the while thinking if he should go back home, or call them, may be God was punishing him for leaving home?, he thought, he had been taught that is what happens to bad people like him who chase dreams against norms, kids who do not obey, when someone with a brown cap, beige shorts and khaki tshirts showed up and said how much for those shorts?, he didn't know what to say, he said 200 after thinking for a while, "RS 200, for these?, these look used, I will give you 70, what do say you?", he nodded, and snatched the money off the man's hand as he offered it.

           He was about to go get the pooris he craved for, when the guy came back, "hey kid, how much for the guitar?", RS 300, Siddarth said spontaneously without thinking, "300? do you even know what this is worth?", examining the guitar which would at least sell for RS 7000 if it was new "did you steal it from someone?", "no this is mine, I have been learning to play this for years" he replied, "if are you telling me the truth?, play it for me?", and Siddarth did, he played a couple of songs in succession, a small crowd gathered around as he did, he did not winch, it had been a few days since he played so it felt amazing, and when he stopped, all the people applauded, he felt proud, energized, accomplished.

         The man with the hat who waited patiently for all the applause to drown and people to move away, exclaimed "kid you are really good!, we have a small band which plays in functions, we are looking for a back up guitarist, we have decent pay and regular gigs do you want to join?". Siddarth looked towards the man, unable to comprehend what he was saying, he replied weekly, "do you give pooris? ".

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