After Sushant Singh Rajput died due to suicide, many felt that it was a time, we start an open conversation about mental health and suicide. It is important that people are aware of the ways to seek help and to fight this silent killer.
We live in a society that pushes us to achieve our dreams but forgets to teach us how to handle setbacks. It teaches us how to celebrate our achievements but forgets to teach us how to handle rejections. This is the reason why many choose to suffer in silence without seeking any help or support when they feel lost or rejected.
Also Read: Mom Dad I Couldn’t Become Your Good Son, Forgive Me: Student’s Suicide Sends Chilling Reminder To Every Parent
Recently, a brave soul came forward to speak about how rejections and setbacks can push even the strongest and the smartest to the verge of depression. And, that person is none other than Manoj Bajpayee. Being a well-renowned and established actor, Manoj Bajpayee recently spoke about his inspiring journey.
But, what caught the attention of many was his discussion about his deteriorating mental health after continuous rejection.
His story is an inspiration for many, who are struggling during these tough times that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. While speaking about his inspiring journey, Manoj told HoB about his initial days of Bollywood struggle:
“I’m a farmer’s son– I grew up in a small village in Bihar with 5 siblings, and we went to a hut school there. We led a simple life, but whenever we went to the city, we’d go to the theatre. I was a big Amitabh Bachchan fan– I wanted to be just like him. I was 9, but I knew that acting was my destiny.
But I couldn’t even afford to dream, so I continued my schooling. But my mind refused to focus on anything but acting, so at 17, I left my village to go to Delhi University.
There, I did theatre but my family had no idea. Finally, I wrote a letter to dad–he wasn’t angry & even sent me Rs.200 to cover my fees! People back home called me ‘good for nothing’ but I turned a blind eye. I was an outsider, trying to fit in. So, I taught myself English & Hindi–Bhojpuri was a big part of how I spoke.’’
How Rejection Made Him Consider Suicide:
Then he opened about his darkest phase in life. He spoke about how he came close to committing suicide after a series of rejections:
I then applied to NSD, but was rejected thrice– I’ve never come as close to committing suicide as I did then. My friends were scared– they would sleep next to me and not leave me alone. They encouraged me to keep going, until finally, I was accepted.
But there was light at the end of the tunnel when success finally came calling:
“That year, I was at a chai shop when Tigmanshu came looking for me on his khatara scooter–Shekhar Kapur wanted to cast me in Bandit Queen! So I felt I was ready & moved to Mumbai.
Initially, it was tough–I rented a chawl with 5 friends & looked for work, but got no roles. Once, an AD tore my photo & I’ve lost 3 projects in a day. I was even told to ‘get out’ after my 1st shot. I didn’t fit the ideal ‘hero’ face–so they thought I’d never make it to the big screen. All the while, I struggled to make rent & at times even a vada pav was costly. But the hunger in my stomach couldn’t dissuade my hunger to succeed.
After 4 years of struggle, I got a role in Mahesh Bhatt’s TV series. I got Rs.1500 per episode–my first steady income. My work was noticed & I was offered my first Bollywood film & soon, I got my big break with ‘Satya’. That’s when the awards rolled in. I bought my first house & knew…I was here to stay. 67 films later, here I am. That’s the thing about dreams–when it comes to turning them into reality, the hardships don’t matter. What matters is the belief of that 9-year-old Bihari boy & nothing else.”
Though Manoj sailed through a tough time with the support of his friends, there are many who couldn’t find the right support when they feel rejected.
During these tough moments of continuous rejection, one not only feels like a loser but also feels that there is nothing left much to fight for in life.
A Generation Raised To Achieve; Not Fail
Rejections could be really hard. Doesn’t matter if you are a 10-year-old kid who failed an exam or a 30-year-old man who lost his job. In society, where we attach the self-worth of a person to his or her achievements, it is no surprise how a series of rejection could make us feel worthless and a loser.
It is heartbreaking how our society puts medal of pride on the ones who achieve and while those who fail are stipped off their pride and self-respect. It is high time that we start telling our kids that it is ok to fail. Our only hope is a different breed of parents, who are not letting their kids be defined by society’s benchmark of success and failure; who are raising them to handle setbacks as gracefully as achievements; who are raising them without ripping them of self-esteem and pride when they fail.