In the Appletini, recently I had written about two women whose stories I felt were truly inspirational.

One was a young girl born to a single mother, so poor that she had to wear potato sacks for clothes. She was raped by her relatives at the age of 9, ran away from her home at 13, was pregnant at 14 and lost her infant at 15. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we would never have recovered from these many blows at so young an age. Well, not only did she recover but she scripted her own destiny going to become one not just a billionaire but more importantly, one of the most influential human beings of the 20th century.

The other woman was someone closer to home for us - a wannabe South Indian actress who was considered a jinx by a superstitious movie industry when the first movie she was due to appear in was shelved for production issues. She was immediately kicked out of 12 other movies and replaced in two more in the coming months. Rather than give up and head home, she had faith in her abilities and persevered till years later, she was finally chosen for a movie once more by Bollywood. She has never looked back, going on to win the National Award and wow audiences frequently with her bravura performances.

For those who haven't read the posts, do try to guess who these two women are before you head on over there.

I was personally very inspired by their stories when I heard it mainly because they refused to give up when the odds were so heavily stacked against them. They didn't take any easy route after being screwed over by prejudices, lust, loss or abject poverty but worked their way back to the top one step at a time.  They believed that all these setbacks were not the end but merely a roadblock on their journey to success.

In the days to come, I do hope to write a more detailed post on the personality who inspired me the most as a teenager. An actor very few among you would have ever seen, he's not as famous as our Bollywood superstars. If I was in awe of his onscreen persona, reading his book years later and realising his ideals as a human being made me respect him even more. 

For now, I want to share with you a quote I first read in a magazine as a child.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr   

Against all common-sense, in spite of being widely regarded as a non-confrontational type of guy, (a pansy, if you wish) my journey has often weaved innumerable ways to bring darkness (and even convicted criminals) into my life. There have been moments when it seemed only logical to strike back when you come face to face with the depth of betrayal and the burning desire for revenge but every time, I back down from taking that step into the gutter. It is not a field I will ever be a victor in, I know, fighting evil with evil. And rather than allowing the darkness within to consume me and be what defines my future, wouldn't I be better off just caring for those who are worse off than me and who actually need my help?

It's hard to maintain your ideals in today's world... today's India. I honestly don't have much faith in the country's future, to be frank, but I do have faith in individuals to light the path for others. And more than anything else, I honestly do believe that we are all capable of being that individual to somebody else. 

After all, helping people isn't always about donating to the poor, is it? It is also about the kind words that heal, the gentle smile that says I care and the ears that listen to what others don't seem to have time for. These are things everybody - 'everybody' - needs. And guess what? It's something that 'everybody' can give for free as well, if we choose to. 

If I were to ask you to write down/copy from Goodreads quotes page/Google just one quote which you feel inspires/defines your ideals, which one would it be? Do take a few moments off from work and share it in the comments section. 


“Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”
― Stieg Larsson
Shail Mohan said…
I love that Martin Luther king quote. I go with your sentiments. What seems a logical next step might land you in the gutter. Always better to be where you are needed and can be of use.
I picked this quote and it speaks for me:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Danny Simon said…
Never have to copy paste's always been on my mind...'A revolution was first just a thought in one man's mind.' ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anonymous said…
It is so easy to copy someone else. I guess being yourself is the toughest thing to do. :)

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde
laveee said…
right on the point sir. needed this post !! i m a silent follower of your blog. FEAR-Face Everything And Rise
maithili said…
I guess I m a complex personality :P I cant identify as one quote being me all the time :P
Arunima Prasad said…
"I thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done. That is what all parents should do." ~ Tina Fey
Priya K said…
My favourite quote is “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost.
Nice post Roshan.. ..yes I know it's difficult to survive these days Sticking to ones principles but ideally one should be kind.. and as you rightly said most of the things are free.. so why dont people practise it..? Somehow I believe Good things come to only good people and you are one of them.. So only good will come to you..!! Keep writing..!
How appropriate. When I think of you, the first image that comes to mind is of the old 'SRAN gang' of friends... a younger, more happier era of friendship where everyone cared for the other.
It is never easy to take a decision not to take revenge... that much I will admit.
And that RWE quote was my cover photo on Facebook for a long time :)
Another RWE :) And so true. Everything starts of a single "What if..." in one man's mind.
Such simple words and yet they convey a lot, don't they?
Thanks for writing in, Lavee. No more silence allowed. Now onwards, you reply so I know you're alive and well :-d

I dont think anyone can... but still, think of one which means a lot to you in your present frame of mind.
Glad to see a change from the usual suspects... Tina Fey. Have presently got her audiobook (Bossypants) on my laptop - still to start listening to it. But one of my all-time fav gals, especially after 30 Rock.
Trust me Priya. Life never works that way - that good things go to good people. I wish it were but it isn't. That's where your chosen quote comes in handy - ' goes on.'

It's all part of the game, as one of my best friends would say."
Anonymous said…
The two stories were very inspiring. I do not romantisize the idea of good and evil. I know that life is immensely unfair at times to good people and showers the bad ones with blessings.
I believe that the beauty of life lies in the way it unfolds. Thank God we haven't created a time machine yet. :)
True that the road to success is full of blocks. The two articles you wrote about Oprah and Vidya were inspirational. Like they say about survival of the fittest, it is. These ladies survived the odds and thus enjoy the fruit of their efforts. Now envied by women and men worldwide, it is their time now and they deserve it.
Sumana said…
Beautiful post..Loved both articles..
I love to be according to this quote : "Sometimes biting your tongue and staying humble can say much more than your mouth can. Silence is golden"

But end up being this : "Anger begins with folly, and ends with repentance" :D :P
Dr.Riyaz said…
Good one... " Take life as it comes" has been my policy.. just believe there is light at end of the tunnel
True.. life can be unfair. No point crying over it. Just learn the lesson and move on.
A time machine? Can you imagine the stampede!!
Oh, I totally agree. They deserve every bit of the praise they receive today. unlike many star kids, they struggled and LOST IN LIFE and then struggled all over again. That takes courage.
The first saying appeals to me more :>)
The second one is one which I have seen too often committed... people never learn the lesson, i guess :)
That last bit is what i keep telling myself and others now, Pada. Keep believing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. the day you stop believing that, you have lost and are just waiting to die.
Karanth S R said…
Had read both the articles on the Appletini and liked. They are inspirational (h) It is nice to see how differently u look into everything, and show us something good :) Thanks...

Quotes: all those quoted above are greatly motivating. there are many other that keep us moving ahead on the way of life, but this one inspires me a lot n makes me say, "so true" - "Life is not fair... but it's still GOOD :) whenever i feel low, ;(( i think of this n move on :>)
BluBluBling said…
" What is for you, will not pass you by. "

This quote appears in my signature in all my emails for as long as I remember. Sometimes you just have to believe in a force bigger than you, and once you do your problems are not your own anymore and everything always works out :)
This life is a hard fact; work your way through it boldly, though it may be adamantine no matter the soul is stronger........Swami Vivekananda
Anonymous said…
For me , its something my grandfather once told me - ' life is a circle, there will be ups and downs..but what goes around will always come around' :)

very cliched, but true :)
Richa Singh said…
"Everything happens for our own good" I for one can never quite get over this quote, its what keeps me going....

Rainbow Hues said…
(h) A very nice post indeed. I am here for the first time Roshan, and I can tell you for sure, that I am hooked now. Both the personalities mentioned here were guessed by me before I could click on the link, because both these personalities inspire me as well.

I have always lived with a philosophy that 'what goes round, comes round' and I believe love is the answer, always! Thanks for this post.
broca's area said…
"If u think you can and if you think you can't then you are right"-
Henry ford.

I believe and live by this code.
Swarnali said…
Amazing post. I read those two posts you had written for the Mia contest and I had absolutely no idea the two of them had such beginning...truly inspirational those women are. My favourite quote is one I had read as a toddler and never forgot ,
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You" ~ Dr. Seuss :)
Thanks Saniya. These are all people we all know yet we dont know their stories. That's what I always look for.. something different worth sharing.

Inspiring words. In many ways, I need to follow that myself, I guess.
True words, Vatsa. Reminds me of the song "Carry on my Wayward son" by Kansas.. one of my all-time favourites. Give it a listen. I think you would love it.
Have seen it on many an occasion. But I guess a certain amount of disillusionment too has crept in seeing today's world where sinners just dont seem to get their just desserts.
I guess its the waiting period before they get their dues that bugs me :)
I've said it to so many people... I often wonder whether I have as much faith in it myself. But it doesn't matter as long as I can motivate them to keep on going.
Thanks Rainboe Hues. Hope to see you here more often. Glad to see you guesses both personalities... not many did, you know. Few knew about Vidya, fewer still about Oprah.
Haha.. so true. So apt also.
I absolutely love Dr Suess... that quote and two others were the main lines in my blog headers last year. Only recently have I changed to the present saying.
Alka Gurha said…
I am thinking, there are so many. But I simply love the one you have mentioned, "hate is easy, love takes courage'. Sadly, not many appreciate its relevance. I jut love the idea of this post, doc.
Rachna said…
I love this one: "Conscience is what you do when you know no one is looking1"
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost

This is what I believe in...whatever hardships we still goes on..
Anonymous said…
The waiting period...I am kind of stuck on the same grounds
Just hang in there.. believe that there is a silver lining coming up around the corner. Thats the key.
Thanks Alka. Its no easy job choosing love over hate in todays India. But we have to keep trying.
Amen. Perhaps one of the tougher conflicts we face... being true to ourselves
true Vinita.. so true
jaish_vats said…
I dont know that many quotes Roshan but what comes immediately to ones mind is 'Be the change you want to see'.
Vinaya Naidu said…
Wow! what an idea doc!! Did read the first lady's story...
One quote to define me or rather a saying is "Forgive him for he knows not what he does"
This has kept me going in life..well, at least most of the times and also kept me sane in an increasingly criminal world mindset:)
The other quote (also quite defining me) is "God will always open one door for you"! cheers!
Its our own Father of the Nation's quote :) Strong words to live by...
Vinaya, I used to go by that quote for the greater part of my life. But always exercise that with caution - your kind nature does not mean that the other person need be kind with you. That was a lesson I learned the hard way... but I learned it.

As for the second quote... I truly believe in that now. Many a time, we are so stuck with what we want that we dont even see other doors which have opened up in our lives.
Sharni said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
$$ said…
I love this - ""It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed".

True. I advocate that policy to so many people now..