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The Greatest Column Ever!

Don’t plan to do something epic and make history. I believe that if you work hard, with honest intentions, the outcome will always be good. Maybe even great, says Imran Khan.

india Updated: May 25, 2009 18:48 IST
Imran Khan column

I’ve been planning this column all week. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t too happy with the last two columns I wrote. They felt pretty boring. So from last Monday, I started cooking up themes and ideas for this one. I wanted it to be really funny, and really quirky. It was going to be epic, like the one about Priyanka’s handbag, or the one about the Bombay Mining Corporation and their quest for aluminium!

And here I sit with writer’s block. Seriously, I can’t think of what to write about, and it’s very frustrating. The manifestations of writer’s block are unique. It feels somewhat like having a Hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas, of the family Cercopithecidae, or Old World monkey*) perched on your shoulders, jabbing you in the centre of your head every time you lay your fingers on the keyboard. But I have decided to (figuratively) throw the (metaphorical) monkey (sorry, baboon) off my shoulders, and barge ahead. It is the only way.

Because the truth of the matter is this: you can’t plan greatness. It just turns out that way. Sholay and The Godfather are considered to be among the greatest films ever made, in India and Hollywood, respectively. You know what they have in common? While they were being made, everyone thought they would be disasters. Sholay actually flopped the first week of its release. It picked up steam after that, and we all know how things turned out. Which is not to say that the makers of these films didn’t give it everything they had. They approached their work like anyone should, with all their hearts. But I don’t imagine that they ever leaned back in their chairs and thought to themselves “This movie is going to go down in history.” They were just trying to do the best that they could.

Anyone get the point I’m trying to make here? It’s real simple. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Don’t plan to do something epic and make history. Do what you want to do, but put everything you have into it. I believe that if you work hard, with honest intentions, the outcome will always be good. Maybe even great. I also believe that if your intentions are wrong, you will ultimately fail (yeah yeah, I know it’s the most clichéd thing in the world, but I believe it; sue me).

And that’s where I went wrong this week. I set out planning greatness without having the slightest clue how I would get there, and was taught a sharp lesson. I’ve sat up till the middle of the night writing, and missed the deadline for turning in my column. I’ve cut out the second paragraph I wrote about Hamadryas baboons while trying to fill space (they’re found largely in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for those of you who are interested). It’s been a tough day. But an enlightening one.

* source: wikipedia