I have surely been through a creative block! I stopped enjoying what I was doing, work just felt meh and I felt lost with what is really my creative vibe! Recently recovered from it all.
But what has all this got to do with my love for bollywood?! Let me tell you in here.
Firstly, let’s begin with accepting that creative ideas don’t happen to me all the time (for sure!) But one ‘zone’ where I feel my creative best is when I am sitting by myself on my desk, hopefully it is little quiet around me, I am not thinking about any worries of the world and….there’s loud music, my favourite one, just playing in my headphones – not rock, not pop, not jazz, but INDIAN BOLLYWOOD MUSIC, with all its jhatkas and matkas!
Goshh! I love it!
Now here’s my little story.
I have always been a bollywood fan – songs, movies, star spotting, gossips – I love it all. Trust me, in my childhood I think I saw more of bollywood songs rather than cartoons! Hahaa! Seriously! I would see my ‘favourite’ songs in loop and now my family tells me that some of them were really not the nice ones and still they had to bear with them in loop for me!! Well, thank you my family for that though!
And my fascination for bollywood did not just end with songs! Oh there’s so much more! I was a huge fan of so many Indian actors since childhood. In sequence, first it was Salman Khan then Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan and then finally Shah Rukh Khan!
And this whole thing about Shah Rukh Khan has been pretty insane in my life. So I was like a fan for sure – I would see his movies first day, collect his pictures etc etc. But, I had little bigger ambitions too! I wanted to work for him!! Well, coincidently I happened to study animation during my graduation at college and this actor owned one of the biggest Visual Effects studio in India, called Redchillies.VFX. Hence, I had the chance to turn my dream into reality and I really did it! I got my first job at his studio and worked there for 4 years.
I really really lived my dream during these years! All sorts of bollywood fanciness was all around, from working on movies, seeing stars and all the jazz! I loved every bit of it! Of course, I drooled over Shah Rukh Khan, whenever I got a chance, even though my immediate bosses hated me for it! 😋 But I was a hard-working soul you know, so they did not really take all my goofiness to heart!
So that’s me being pretty vocal (as always) about my love for bollywood. And honestly, as uncool as it may sound, I was never ever into rock songs or too many English numbers, no pop, no jazz – It was always bollywood music for me and that’s how it has always been. Period.
Anyway, so before I get too swayed away with all my bollywood talks, let me fast forward a litte.
Around 3 years back, I made a friend who was an American working in India. She is such a nice human being! And as you might have guessed, I obviously ended up chatting with her about bollywood too! Hahaaa!! Yaaa! I would tell her about Indian movies, share bollywood songs and I am grateful that she patiently heard it all and enjoyed it too!
Then something interesting happened!
One day, we were having a general conversation. This is the phase when I was little upset about my creative career. I felt little lost and had really stopped enjoying what I was doing.
It had been building up for long, but I would say this was the peak of my creative block! I wasn’t too aligned with my creativity and it affected my work.
So, in this conversation my friend happened to casually say to me that – “You know what Radhika, you are really comfortable being yourself and that is your strength!”. She told me, let’s take the example of your love for bollywood, you talk to me so freely about it, even though I come from a different culture. She continued that sometimes when she interacted with people from other cultures, they would try to talk about things that she would relate to rather than embracing their own selves. So, with an example of my bollywood chats, she reminded me that being authentic and straightforward is my strength!” (Ok, I confess that I do not remember her exact words, but you get the point!)
Wow! I never realised this before! I thought to myself! Yes, there have been moments when I would feel stupid about being so indifferent for other kinds of music, whenever my friends/colleagues spoke about it. But it never bothered me. I guess I was simply just happy being myself and loving my share of bollywood songs!
Damn!! I needed to hear this!! And you know why is this relevant to my creative block?
While I was so OK being myself in personal life, it struck me that this is what I had lost in my creative career. It made me think about – Am I really doing what I want to do or following the norms? Am I really trying to do just the right thing or really following my heart and allowing myself to listen to my gut feeling?! – And my answers were, NO, I was not! To put it simply, I lost my creative spark and reached a creative block because I refused to accept my weirdness, my personality, my strengths, my weakness when it came to creativity and work. Maybe due to fear of losing work, burnout or maybe due to just feeling lost, but it had happened!
It made me think again about what I really want to do or would rather love to do!
Of course, it took time but it was the trigger to set me on the right path of getting hold of what I really love to do and finding myself back in my creative ideas.
It left me with the learning that –
No matter what happens, never ever lose yourself. Don’t be embarrassed to embrace your weirdness, listen to your heart! The right kind of people, who will support you and your creative ideas will just follow. We are all humans in here so allow yourself to take the chance of believing in yourself. Suddenly the world will start believing in you too! And of course, you will not lose your creative spark!
And by the way, if this wasn’t a proof enough and you want to hear more about bollywood songs, then guess what happened when I decided to embrace it all and share a playlist (Called Bollywood Lalaland by Laughing Popcorn on Spotify) of my favourite songs on my Instagram! Someone following me from another part of the world, who did not even understand Hindi, reached out to me saying how much she loves bollywood songs and loves dancing on them! We became friends and I ended up making more connections thanks to a simple post, where I did nothing but just embraced myself and celebrated it.
I am sure many creatives go through this phase of feeling disconnected with their creativity and running into a creative block. For me, the solution was – I had to get free and embrace back just being myself.