“There’s Still Time To Switch Gears”: How My Life Has Been About Chasing Multiple Dreams

Posted on September 14, 2016

By Shivani Dhiman:

And here she is, dreaming another dream in the middle of the night. She is dreaming of an interview with Ellen DeGeneres where she has been asked about her new book that sold a million copies worldwide and has broken all the records. She is profoundly delighted about the heights of her achievement. But she skips a beat in the dream when is asked about her aspirations. Often her dreams turn to nightmares when her aspirations astride her. Her dream has taken a turn around and now she is dreaming about herself on the world stage, the most passionate ‘Indian songwriter’ who enlightened everyone’s heart by her way of writing. Her writings have the air of Hollywood anew. But she freezes when somebody asks about her ambitions in life. She is sweating badly on the bed, in the state of confusion and exasperation, thinking that she is living an aimless life.

“Shivani, wake up! It’s too late. Wake up dear. You are getting late” said my mother. Exhausted in the morning, as usual, I awake from my strange dream. These dreams have made my nights endless and my days passive. These are the things I cannot speak up but I live them all in my mind every night.

My name is Shivani. I was born in the small village of Himachal Pradesh on August 19, 1997. We are a family of four where my father is a government official, my mother is a home maker and my elder brother recently graduated from a renowned university. Although I was born in H.P., I was brought up in the capital city of the country. I was one when my father moved to Delhi with the family. We have been living in Delhi since 1998.

I have completed my schooling from Kamal Model Senior Secondary School, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi and I am moving forward to become a writer and a lyricist. I started writing songs when I was fourteen, after being inspired Taylor Swift. I like to sing too but I’m not that passionate about singing. I do things that I love and I love learning new things.

I am an ambivert. In my beliefs, it is good to keep yourself mysterious and I have always kept my aspirations hidden from everyone, even from my own family. My parents know that I write and they have never questioned me about that. I have always assured them that I will become a writer one day though they don’t know my real admiration for the profession and I will never tell anyone until I achieve it.

Sometimes my ambition of becoming a writer and a lyricist appears to be just an illusion. I always wonder how far I have come. I was in third grade when I said to my parents that I wanted to become a pilot. Of course, I didn’t know the meaning of the word itself but I had kept on repeating it: “I will become a pilot.” Two years passed and the pilot in me was resting in peace.

Then I moved to another dream, the dream of becoming a singer and I started listening to Hindi songs but I wasn’t good at singing Hindi songs. Then I tried to sing Punjabi songs but the words flew like an airplane above my head. One fine day, I heard an English song on the radio and was so influenced by it that I started listening to them and my soul began to blend with the music that my ship sailed to become a singer.

But as I stepped up to Class 9, I got inclined to a new aim with the introduction of sketching. I was so impressed by a friend’s sketches that I used to challenge him daily that I would be a great artist one day. And he made me hate that subject before loving it by saying, “You will become the jack of all but master of none because you are not focused.” And so my second thoughts about sketching arose.

I sidelined colors and tried to build interest in studies, still my mind was toppling like a stone. After giving up on sketching I used to go to the school’s music space to relax myself from all the dilemmas I was going through. My music teacher tried hard to wake the singer up in me but I was so depressed. I survived Class 9, passed all those distractions and placed my feet in Class 10 where I was dreaming to learn guitar to surpass the depression and do something with my writings. I cried, screamed and clawed my father for a guitar. He raised his hands and presented me with a guitar on my fifteenth birthday. As usual my story began ecstatically and ended with boredom.

Initially I showed my interest; I was learning it wholeheartedly but as my music teacher left the school, I started losing my grip in guitar and music. I felt unworthy. All the lights were falling down; all my shades were casting the vigor. My thinking was changing from night to day. It was like sailing on the hundred boats at the same time having breaches in them. I was lost, depressed and frightened all at once. I was caged in my own nest.

Then I made biology my best friend. I quit everything till the end of Class 10 though I studied Biology and explored things. I was determined to study Science with Biology. I gave birth to a new aspiration of becoming an entomologist. I studied Biology very seriously but I had no interest in Chemistry and Physics at all so ended my school with an average score.

Since I was sailing on uncountable boats I was unable to manage things and as a result I took a gap year after Class 12. I do not regret it, instead I looked hard for what field to choose. I have always wanted me to be a divergent so I chose to learn something different, something that no one had done it in my family. Hence my decision arrived to learn a foreign language. Meanwhile, I started practicing to write with my left hand, learned to mirror write, also to write in different fonts and sketching once again. The gap year has made me a better person and raised the level of maturity. I have learned how to keep myself optimistic. I rather like to keep my aspirations limited after all my childhood foolishness; I don’t want to live in depression again. I don’t want people to judge me. It is okay I didn’t get Zoology because of my average grades but life hasn’t stopped there.

I am happy that I am experiencing amazing things with anthropology. It is just a beginning of a new life. Who would’ve thought I will be studying anthropology in Hans Raj College? I haven’t thought of it. I am still spinning like a football from one kick to the other but I know my destiny this time. I am afraid of telling my aspirations to anyone. I have realised I was sailing on silty boats all these years and was too naïve that I couldn’t understand the people around me had made fun of me all the time when I told them my aspirations and maybe that’s why I was switching between my goals.

There are hidden treasures in every chapters of life. Let’s not dig it in a single reading. There is still time to switch the gears.