Mithila Palkar: It is Okay Not to Have a Plan at TEDxNITSilchar (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Indian actress Mithila Palkar’s TEDx Talk: It is Okay Not to Have a Plan at TEDxNITSilchar conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the full bio here.


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Mithila Palkar – Indian actress

[Speaker singing]

Some of you must have seen the video of this song online, and I’ll tell you the story of how I made it. But before that, I have a question for all of you.

So how many of us over here have had celebrity crushes? Almost all of us, right? And I’m sure some of us must have done something crazy to reach out to these crushes.

This friend of mine, one day, decided to pack his bags and leave his home in Baroda and come to Mumbai to meet the love of his life. Ameesha Patel.

Well, OK, so he decided to do that. And he knew that he wanted to meet her in a different capacity, not as a fan, because of pride. And the easiest way to get in touch with her was to get into showbiz and he did.

Eventually, over the years he realized that this was actually something that he liked doing and he stuck to it. It’s been 10 years now since he started acting. And Ameesha Patel now is history in his life.

So, you know like this, life happens to you when you’re busy planning other things. This is a classic example of that. Things don’t always work according to plan. So let me tell you something: It’s OK to not have one.

I did not have a plan. I had a passion which I decided to pursue and eventually everything fell into place.

You know, when I was five, my family used to encourage me to sing and dance in front of guests at family gatherings. And I used to be shy at first, maybe even awkward. But I gave into their requests. I realized that I was enjoying being the entertainer. But this is the same family that conditioned me to believe that’s the mantra to live a successful ideal life is you grow up, you graduate, and you find a decent job.

This typical middle-class Marathi family of mine, as expected, was not very thrilled about my acting aspirations. And actually back then, maybe even I wasn’t very convinced about it, because I didn’t have a role model to point out to and say hey if she can do it I can too. Plus, I was comfortable with having a plan: you grow up; you graduate; and you find a decent job, remember.

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So while pursuing mass media in my graduate school, I happened to volunteer at a theatre company and got to be a part of a youth theatre festival which I helped organize. I was happy, because I got to be around the theatre world. And my family was happy, because I was doing event management which was real work.

When I started working on this festival, that festival turned out to be a turning point in my life, because when I witnessed actors perform on stage, I realized that, that’s where I want to be. I realized I wanted to be the storyteller. I wanted to be the story and I knew that if I did not pursue it, I was going to be extremely restless and unhappy.

So I gave into my gut and I decided to convince my family. But it took some courage and a lot of cajoling from my family to finally give in hesitantly so but they gave in. I thought it was not that bad a beginning.

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