"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat
sugar and crust over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load
Or does a dream explode?"
-Langston Hughes, "Dream Deferred"
Even if I hadn’t been able to relate to it, I think I would’ve still liked this poem just as much. Because it is something even I’ve frequently wondered about: What happens to an unrealised dream? Does it fizzle out and die? Or, does it fester inside, slowly eating away at you?
I’ve always admired people who have a dream, a passion, that they spend their entire lives chasing. And, yet, sometimes, I think it’s a curse to have a dream or to be passionate about something. Because having a dream means being completely consumed by it, plotting your moves all the time, planning how to get there and achieve what is so important to you. As long as you can keep at it, life moves on fine. However, when you’re forced to abandon this pursuit, for whatever reasons, the dream starts to look like a curse. Because I don’t know if there’s anything more frustrating than knowing what you really want to do but not being able to work towards it. It’s no good if you have a dream but don’t get the opportunity to pursue it. To fail is okay, in my book at least, as long as you’ve had your chance and have given it your best.
If you have a dream, I believe, you should also have the wherewithal to pursue it. I’m not trying to suggest that your dream should be served to you on a platter but that, at least, you should be allowed the opportunity to chase it. Those who share my dream will tell you that, even at the best of times, it’s like chasing that proverbial pot of gold. And, as luck would have it, my circumstances are far from ‘best’.
As I sit here, cribbing about how my dream, the one thing I most want to do in my life, is getting away from me, yet another dream, albeit a long forgotten one, is coming true.
As a child, long before I even knew what a dream or an ambition was, long before I knew that dreams and ambitions don’t always work out because there is more to this game than just ability, I wanted to write a book about cricket. I had no clue about what writing a book really entailed. I knew even less about this concept called copyright. As a result, in this great flush of childish enthusiasm, I would collect information from all the sources that were known, and available, to me – newspapers, books, magazines and radio commentary on the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It also helped that I was really good at cricket myself, having played for my state side at the junior level. My ‘book’ was meant to be, in my mind at least, the most comprehensive guide to EVERYTHING that ANYONE has EVER wanted to know about cricket. It was meant to be the last word on cricket information, even better than Wisden (for the uninitiated, that’s the Bible for cricket, or so the Brits claim!) And then, life happened. I grew up and my other childhood dream, that of making films, took over completely. Neither did I pursue cricket, as I had wanted to, nor did I ever think about writing the book again. While the former has always been a sore point with me, and shall continue being so, not being able to write the book was never such a big deal. Because, after growing up, I found out what it really means to write a book and, besides, I didn’t think it was either up my alley or even what I wanted to accomplish. But, absolutely out of the blue, this opportunity dropped itself into my lap. And, although I can scarcely believe it myself, my book on cricket will be out by the end of the month!
I’m sitting here right now, with the proofs of the book in front of me, staring in disbelief at this thing, which will soon be my book on cricket! And I feel thrilled about it, as do my friends for me. But, at the same time, I cannot help but wonder, and I’m not trying to act smart about this: Do we choose our dreams or do they choose us? Does this mean that if you stop chasing it, the dream works out for you? Or, does it simply mean that you don’t get what you truly want it in life? That, if you want something badly enough, the wretched universe conspires to take it away from you?