February 7, 2017

Why I root for the underdog?


It's one of the rare times that I find myself plonked before the idiot box, eager to watch yet another episode of  The Indian Idol. Good music and movies have the power to keep me glued, though. As the episode progresses, I feel my cheeks moisten with salty droplets that have ambushed their way out. While soulful renditions more often than not get me teary-eyed, this time it was the personal stories of the contestants that triggered an emotional response; the show shenanigans of playing melancholic background scores and deliberate freezing of expressions notwithstanding.

It's touching to listen to stories about modest upbringing, financial struggles, and the courage to dream despite or perhaps due to adverse circumstances. The fact that talent can get its due even if one is not from a privileged background makes a perfect poster for inspiration, hope, and motivation. Such real stories serve as lessons for someone who is ready to give up on the brink of success just because the last mile is most arduous and one wishes for that godfather that can make the final journey easier.

There's something about the journey of underdogs that does not fail to touch a chord with me. When someone least expected to win makes unprecedented progress, challenges the crowd favourites, and sometimes even pulls off a stupendous upset to become numero uno, I cannot help but applaud and nod in awe. (The important caveat being that the win is purely based on merit). I'm sure it's not just me who feels so because this feel-good factor has been milked quite a bit by the film industry. Needless to add, films based on such a premise hold a special place in my heart.

As a person who has, at best, been an average achiever, it's easy to see why I identify with parts of an underdog's life. I like to imagine that I'm no different from that person on stage or that protagonist in the cinema who wins despite all odds. At such times I allow myself to dream big; dreams about experiencing the satisfaction of having reached my full potential, finding my true calling and being on the path I was always meant to be on.

A late bloomer in life, I've questioned my capabilities at every stage. I've looked at schoolmates and college mates glide past me with surety and confidence while I wondered about what I wanted to do in life. With every step forward, there were several taken backward. Yet, it's been a decent climb for me, as I realize today.

The struggle in my case has always been an internal one. I could never see myself win. Actually, I've been more afraid of success than of failure. I fear not being able to replicate a win. I prefer to remain an underdog because then I have no pressure of fulfilling expectations. If I win, it's a bonus but if I lose, it isn't really a surprise and I don't have to explain. And, so I root for underdogs in the outside world and for the self in my heart.

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23 comments :

  1. I get that "more afraid of success than failure", Uma. Very well written and could relate to it.

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    1. Vibha, thank you so much! How are you doing?

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  2. Hey, Uma, I'm rooting for you! Go get your dreams, you can!
    This was such a heartfelt post, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us *hugs*

    P:S: Watching Indian Idol is turning into a weekend tear-fest for me too! But i love the show and the immense talent there!

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    1. Thank you, Mayuri. That's indeed sweet of you. And, so much talent these days, no?

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  3. This was such a heartfelt post, Uma. Something so honest and warm as you opened up to us about how you related to the underdog. In my limited interaction with you l have found you confident, competent and so warm and genuine. About the stories, l've shed a few tears as well. It touches your heart to see how they triumph against all odds. I do dig these tales.

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    1. Rachna, thank you so much for those warm words for me. The feelings are mutual! As for these tales, they make my heart soar.

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  4. I go teary eyed too ... be it Indian Idol or America's Got Talent. The story of underdogs, their struggle and their genuine reaction to success warms my heart. I am sure you are no longer an underdog and are just as confident and amazing as your writing is. Heartfelt post!

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    1. I don't know, but I prefer to lie low, Raji. Maybe I'm scared to aim high. Thank you for the lovely words, dear <3

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  5. I am following Indian Idol closely too. I love the behind the scene story of all the characters, but I do think they are overdoing the emotional drama thing a bit too much. That said, I loved your beautiful post. I think there is a little bit of ourselves we see, everytime we support the underdog. I remember long ago, while watching tennis, I always supported Chris Evert over Martina Navratilova, though she stood no chance...now I know why!

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    1. Oh, the drama makes me cringe! For the same reasons, I've loved movies like jo jeeta wohi sikandar and The Duff. Thanks, Kala!

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  6. This was such a heartfelt post, Uma! I could relate with every word of it. Seeing movies and learning about how much people struggle and win against all the odds make me happy and give me hope of succeeding one day. But like you said, the problem is internal. It is inside me. May be there is so much potential I can unleash, if only I move a bit more forward!

    I simply loved it :)

    Cheers
    Geets

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    1. Yes, moving forward by breaking internal barriers is crucial to growth. Thank you, Geetika!

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  7. I enjoyed your thoughtful ruminative post - well written, empathetic - an enjoyable read.

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  8. I'm someone who tends to go for the underdog too...used to especially in sport. It seems like a fair result for someone doing it tough. I loved how you linked your past and you steady climb up to the underdogs on telly. Nicely written Uma!

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    1. It feels nice when the underdogs win, no? Thank you, Sanchie!

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  9. Ahhh, a post all underdogs can relate with. I get it because there is no pressure to perform then. Moving at my own pace and not driven by external factors is what I like. A well written piece Uma.

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    1. Glad you could relate, Upasna. Thank you :)

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  10. I know exactly what you mean about dreaming the big dreams have been realised. But that's visualisation - so it means you are one step closer. :)

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  11. Beautifully written, Uma and like you I am also rooting for underdogs. I think there is a certain charm in underdogs steeling the shows and standing tall on what they deliver.

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  12. I am sure many can relate with you, we all look upto those who win inspite of the difficulties they've gone through.

    I keep myself engrossed in some activities (primarily Toastmasters, Trading, Traveling - all T's) that keep me motivated. That way I am motivated often to chase my dreams 😊

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  13. Agree with your thoughts, Uma. We like to back the underdogs because we relate to them on many levels. They have their back against the wall and they beat the odds, just like us.

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  14. Very nice post. How can someone who writes so well have any self-doubt?

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