When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
That’s so hopeful, so optimistic, seems like a perfect “Dream”!
Now imagine this: A 47 year old lady who’s unpolished, ugly, fat, unarticulated, not so smart, poor wants to be a professional singer and wants to be as successful as Ellen Paige (highly successful Hollywood actress). Not so perfect Dream! Sounds like an overly dreamy joke, isn’t it? Wait, the story’s not over yet. So what if she’s ugly, poor, not so smart old lady, what if she’s not plastic, fake and sugarcoated like others; she’s got TALENT, and more importantly, HOPE that encouraged her to showcase her talents despite all odds. And guess what? Her “dream” did actually come true; she enthralled everyone so much by her singing and she is now so popular that she actually CAN become a professional singer.
No, it’s not a fairytale; it’s a true story and the lady’s name is Susan Boyle. Susan is a British lady, is unattractive and raw, poor and unemployed, and lives in a “village” (as per her words). Susan participated in a high profile talent competition TV show Britain’s Got Talent (BGT). There, she sang the song “I dreamed a dream” (perfect song for the occasion!!) which I mentioned in the begining and completely floored judges and audiences by her talent. Her performance was widely reported, and tens of millions of people viewed a video of her singing on YouTube. (Check out her performance clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-KiGva9dV4)
But why were judges and audiences so mesmerized when BGT being a famous talent show boasts of number of talented singers like Susan? What was so different about Susan’s performance? The answer is: From her appearance, nobody “expected” her to perform well and when she did prove everyone wrong, people were “surprised” and that’s what differentiated Susan from all the other talented singers.
What is the similarity between Ms. J.K. Rowling, the movie Slumdog Millionaire and now Susan Boyle? They all were Underdogs, no one believed in them, no one anticipated them to succeed, they were expected to be losers and when they shocked everyone, proved themselves; world got completely captivated by them. Everyone loves underdog fairy tales; they are shocking, mysterious, optimistic and very very fascinating. Such Rags to riches stories gives out an inspiring message to all those who think they are not from “right” backgrounds.
People are so obsessed with the (so called) perfection, that a seemingly imperfect person succeeding makes a very appealing story. As Amanda Holden (a BGT judge) perfectly reflected that sentiment after Susan’s performance by stating, “We were all being so cynical and that’s the biggest wakeup call ever.”
Let’s hope that Susan’s dream continues and she can emerge as a successful singer in future. Meanwhile, after going through Susan’s story, a thought is crossing my mind. Why don’t we have any Underdog success stories in India? Why is it that such incidences happen only in West? Why in India you need to have a “strong family background” to succeed? Why a Rich Daddy and not talent, integrity is considered an indispensible ingredient for a good life here? Why are we considered just an extension of our families rather then being known for our individuality? Maybe that’s how the Indian culture goes.
If we talk about culture, let’s say, how would an unmarried, old, ugly lady will be received on a similar platform in India? People will probably think of her as an overambitious Aunty, will feel sorry about her for still not having “husband and kids”, will consider her miserable, lonely and unhappy, will ridicule her, will advise her to “stay at home and take rest” at this age. What about her dreams? Ambitions? Eternal optimism? Forget all that, After all, the cardinal calling of every Indian woman is to take care of husband and kids, to stay at home and be a “good wife”!! (Sick!!)
I dream a dream in time coming by, when women in India will be more than their ages and looks, when there will be more important tasks for them than kids and husband, when they will not be expected to be unrealistically perfect, when they will have freedom to be themselves, when they will be allowed to be imperfect and still happy and, (more importantly) when they will be able to fly high with the wings of their aspirations.