Chit Chat

My own experiences have been my biggest motivators: Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan was recently diagnosed with a clot in his brain and underwent surgery. Seeing how strong Hrithik had been through the process, I was taken aback when I met a person who, realising that I worked for The Times of India, asked me innocently, ‘Mam, tell me honestly, did Hrithik genuinely have an operation or was it a publicity gimmick?’ I felt angry at his question, but, for some reason, he put a doubt in my head and I decided that I would go and verify it for myself. So when I met Hrithik, I asked him if I could touch his head to see for myself. He made me touch the left side of his skull and I could immediately feel a big, deep curve. His skull had obviously been drilled and dug. My heart ached with guilt, but I continued talking to him in awe, wondering where this man got so much strength from. Excerpts from our conversation.

As a child, were you as strong as you are today?
I was a very shy child. I never spoke to anyone and was a loner. I was afraid of everything, especially talking, and was often teased in school. I used to come back home crying many times and my tears would flow easily. I would cry by myself and a lot of times was caught by my mom, and got a lot of support from her. I also had a very strong father, who never allowed any weakness to be supported. We all go through struggles, but the only lesson to learn is that there is enough evidence in the world through your own life and the life of others that nothing is insurmountable as people have gone through worse things in their lives and come out joyful. And what has made it happen is that they have focused on getting results.

Priyanka Chopra recently said that you live in your head. Is that true?
Life is always going to surprise you. Things that you never imagined in your life will happen. It’s not prudent to live in fear of the unexpected, but, in fact, welcome it as opportunities to rise above. I have always tried to imbibe all the qualities and attributes from all the characters I have played on screen. By far Krrish’s impact on me has been the most. He is not just about the masks and the caves and the way he jumps as a superhero from building to building. It’s about the values and goals that he lives by. I have through that journey, started imbibing and living by those now. He is always in cause and never in effect and is always contributing to the world. He represents courage and he became a symbol of positive life in my head. He is more than an individual or a character or a movie. I started asking myself better questions instead of why is this happening to me? Talking about the brain surgery, I could have stacked that up and thought that I started with a speech impediment, have a knee problem and don’t have a cartilage, my back is bad, my shoulder is broken and now I have a hole in my head. That could have stacked up in a negative way. But because I was in such consistent practice of imbibing the right values of a strong man, I did not allow even one second of fear to enter me. I was on front foot. I was in cause. I said to myself this is it. And I need to deal with it now. I got into action. The only two things in my control were, one, information and I found out everything I could within the few hours of discovering I had a problem and two, finding the best doctors. After that I lay back and enjoyed myself even on the operating table. I saw blood come out three feet in the air once they drilled the hole in my head. I was on local anaesthesia as I wanted to be awake and wanted my mind to have that experience. I was even singing songs, negotiating with the doctor saying, ‘Don’t make another hole’. I will cough all the blood you want through one hole itself by applying more pressure. Because of my choice to stay awake, I feel I have only one hole, which actually could have been two if I was asleep.

I came out of that proud and, in a way, shocked myself too. But I have always relied on evidence. Out of 100 operations that the doctor has done, how many have gone wrong, may be two. That means I have 98% to focus on and that is positive and there is no reason to believe that something will go wrong, so why have any fear. I came out of that and felt supersonic and it empowered me more. It comes close to death in some ways as you are talking about a brain and it being intruded by a steel rod. But it was an experience that I enjoyed.

Where do you get your strength from?
I get it from my perspective as I realise that the only thing we have a control on is our attitude. If your attitude to a problem is right, you can surpass everything.

At what point in your life did you change your attitude?
I think it’s an organic process. When I look back at all my struggles and failures, I relabel and put my badge on them as strength. Every single time I went down, it made me stronger. So were they failures? No, they were my stepping stones to get stronger.

Who in your life has influenced your attitude?
My own experiences have been my biggest motivators as every time in my life when I feel too much pressure and feel I cannot go on more, I just look back and realise that I felt the same way earlier too and the evidence shows me that I came out stronger. So may be this is another opportunity. And once you have enough of those moments as evidence, you cannot help but believe that you are going to get through it.


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